Priyadarshan used to be one of my favourite filmmakers... until he decided to turn into a funny man and churn out comedies at the speed of a roadside golgappa wallah serving up golgappas.
Over-spiced, utterly impure in intent and thoroughly suspect in execution, Priyadarshan's comedies have gone from worse in 'Malamaal Weekly' to worst in Bhagam Bhaag'. And his latest 'all boys-no brains' comedy is unpalatable.
Losers are a barrel full of laughs in Priyan's cinematic vision. Yeah, Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty were a laugh riot in 'Hera Pheri'. But the boys who followed the farce have gone to seed in rapid succession.
Priyan's comedies have a distinctly accentuated ambience... junior artistes hover pretending to be casual in crowded street scenes. The bustle is as real as contestants in a reality show pretending to be camera-oblivious. The ambience here exudes a phoney functionalism derived from the desire to manufacture a farcical facsimile of life's most uninspiring moments.
In making the ludicrous lucrative, Priyan has somewhere lost the plot. The narrative in 'Dhol' is carpeted with corny one-liners and gags picked up from stand-up comedies.
The loud louts of 'Dhol' are played by four of our talented young actors. But almost every frame has the quartet out-talking one another, spraying water and spitting in this ode to noise pollution.
The idle chatter of a small town is created with some care for the conventions of a narrative pattern, and full marks to Priyan's steady art director Sabu Cyril for getting it right. The rest of the ambience seems manufactured - jars of unopened bottles of jam and pickle, and DVDs 'casually' thrown around to express that touch of authenticity.
The film opens with a Terina Patel music video as Arbaaz Khan tries to act mysterious and macho... and then cut to the four slothful heroes and their shrill landlady.
Elegance and understatement in words and wardrobe are a primary casualty in 'Dhol' and its clamorous ilk of comedies. Somewhere towards the end, the film's title is recalled. Villain Murli Sharma starts stalking Tanushree and Payal Rohatgi to retrieve a dhol (drum) filled with money.
No wonder Pritam's music comes out sounding so stilted!
Borrowing a mean streak from cartoons, the villains slap and pound the heroes to a pulp. Nobody comes to any grievous injury ... except the audience! And poor Om Puri and his screen-wife Farida Dadi also get slapped around. But that's the least of their worries in a film that demands even the most talented of actors to get seriously brain-dead.