Dishoom rejigs the buddy cop movie, with John Abraham and Varun Dhawan being assigned to the “Case Of A Vanishing Indian Cricketer”.
The film is fashioned as a fast-paced caper. It’s got flash but the plot keeps stuttering and stops the film from really zip-zap-zooming. And in the second half, it nose dives, meandering off in some Arabian Nights style fantasy space before remembering what it had set out to do.
It begins with promise. Match-winning boy-in-blue Viraj Sharma (Saleem) disappears just a couple of days before a crucial match with Pakistan. Indian Special Task Force cop Kabir Shergill (Abraham) is parachuted into a Middle Eastern country, which is the site of the crime. Local boy Junaid Ansari (Dhawan) partners with the visitor, and off they go, sleuthing.
The slit-eyed stony-faced experienced cop and the bumbling rookie is an old Hollywood cliché but can turn into fun in the hands of good actors and directors: here, Dhawan and Abraham display limited wares, the former in his young wide-eyed joe avatar, and the latter swathed in tight tees and a permanent frown, swaggering down sandy desert outposts and shadowy villains’ dens. Both also get to shuck their shorts and show off their stuff in colourful briefs.
The boys have comely female company in the shape of the two gals, Jacqueline Fernandez and Nargis Fakhri, the former with a few speaking scenes and an item number where she cavorts in the midst of leering men, and the latter who’s around for purely decorative purposes.
Dishoom’s villains are a letdown, not even properly evil in a matching comic-book way. Neither Rahul Dev nor Akshaye Khanna have any menace: for fellows who keep threatening to off their victims, they are curiously minus impact. (Dishoom social review: This John Abraham, Varun Dhawan buddy comedy gets a thumbs up)
And that’s what ails the film as a whole. It comes alive only in bits and pieces: Akshay Kumar’s cameo, for instance, as a pouting-selfie-clicking man bun is a hoot. Some of the Abraham-Dhawan bro-time is okay too, but borrows from the ‘Men In Black’ duo Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in the way they, Kabir and Junaid, go about addressing each other, yes, K and J. (Dishoom audience movie review: John Abraham and Varun Dhawan entertain)
The rest is a stretch.