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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Dam 999

At the heart of this film is an idea that is worthy of being explored...

Written by Shubhra Gupta |
December 2, 2011 1:21:13 pm

A washout

Producer: Abhini Sohan

Cast: Rajit Kapoor,Ashish Vidyarthi,Linda Arsenio,Joshua Fredric Smith,Vinay Rai,

Rating:*

At the heart of this film is an idea that is worthy of being explored: of how damaged dams are ticking time- bombs,especially if there is trouble brewing between the greedy land-grabbers and the locals. Dam 999 claims that it is based on a real-life incident,and provides garbled documentary footage on how an accident in China,in which hundreds of people were killed,was hidden from the world.

To that end,we get a nasty mayor (Vidyarthi) somewhere in Kerala,who has a pet snake. This snake,which the mayor likes to hold by the neck and tail,is used to get rid of all kinds of inconvenient people. Snake bites victim,mouth foams,end of story. This mayor’s wheel-chair ridden Anglo-Indian wife has a mariner brother who comes visiting,but the said bhai is not allowed to meet

behen,because their family is the true inheritor of the land. If the milan happens,the local people will want the brother to run for elections,and supplant the greedy mayor. Huh?

There’s also a doomed romance in here. Another mariner (Rai) comes back home,with his little son who has juvenile diabetes,minus a career-minded wife (Arsenio) who’d rather go shoot movies than take care of her family. A childhood sweetheart (Raman) awaits the man,smiling sadly. She also befriends the sick little fellow,and with the help of the father who is a healer (Kapoor) cures the boy.

To this end,we are given gyaan on the benefits of Ayurveda,and how a little shirodhara (oil dripping on the forehead while you lie supine on a wooden trestle bed: seen all those Kairali ads?) can fix everything. Including women in wheelchairs. These are the good guys,and can be seen,variously,on a ship,off a ship,in a tharavaad,off in little boats,busily scurrying around,bashing the baddies,and trying to save lives.

Who makes these movies? Who are they made for? Why couldn’t the filmmakers have got themselves a genuine Malayali actor who wouldn’t have been such a caricature as Kapoor is? Apparently Kapoor had to step in because of union problems. But for the rest,there’s no answer.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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