Film Review: ‘Dhoom: 3’

Dhoom 3 has record opening week

High-flying acrobatics and a standout Aamir Khan performance dominate the third entry in Bollywood's biggest action franchise.

The films in the “Dhoom” series, Bollywood’s most successful action-adventure franchise, have always been more about the swashbuckling glamour of the daredevil villains than about the stiff, humorless, honor-bound cops who chase them. Staunch Abhishek Bachchan’s assistant police commissioner Jai Dixit, a grimly purposeful law-and-order crusader, was doomed to be overshadowed by guest bad guys like “Krrish” heartthrob Hrithek Roshan, who did the honors in “Dhoom: 2” (2006). This is more the case than ever in the latest installment, “Dhoom: 3,” which is dominated completely by charismatic superstar Aamir Khan, who digs into the bruised psyche of his character, Sahir Iqbal, a revenge-seeking master circus artist who uses stage tricks to pull off a series of seemingly impossible bank robberies. Khan makes the character so compelling that we wait impatiently through the obligatory chase sequences and macho showdowns in order to get back to Sahir in his gaudy backstage lair.

In this almost three-hour blockbuster, the repetitive motorcycle chases had this reviewer checking his watch. Lavishly produced and at times gorgeously gaudy, directed with real flair by the writer of the first two “Dhoom” films, Vijay Krishna Acharya, “Dhoom: 3” is already well on its way to making box office history in India, where it’s playing on 4,000 screens. Advance ticket sales have reportedly set new records, and analysts are predicting a first-week gross upwards of $30 million. The film is on 700 additional screens outside India, 236 of them in North America, a record for a Bollywood release. A version dubbed in the South Indian Tamil language is on 10 screens, another first.

The top Bollywood production company Yash Raj Films launched the “Dhoom” series in 2004, as a clear attempt to produce a global (i.e. Hollywood-style) blockbuster. The project has been remarkably successful, perhaps in part because the long Indian tradition of a “cinema of attractions,” favoring a grab-bag of elements from several genres, fits the anything-goes international action format like a glove. Originality was never part of the plan. The first “Dhoom” was a “Fast and the Furious”-meets-“Point Break” romp in which a crew of motorcycle racers, led by dashing hunk John Abraham, made their getaways on jazzy bikes through bumper-to-bumper Mumbai traffic. In “Dhoom: 2,” hot-dancing Roshan was a daredevil cat burglar who teamed up with slinky Aishwarya Rai for a series of high-wire “Mission: Impossible”-style heists.

The obvious titan looming over “Dhoom: 3” is Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” both for its Chicago locations (many of the same ones) and for its repeated references to clown makeup and to Sahir as a “jester.” This film doesn’t come anywhere close to Nolan’s in terms of diabolical grandeur, although the pain of Sahir’s motivation is surprisingly vivid, thanks to Khan’s performance. It should also be noted that the acrobatic magic act Sahir produces and stars in at a Windy City theater, the Great Indian Circus, clearly owes something to another Nolan film, “The Prestige” (2006), in which Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman played 19th-century stage magicians locked in a fierce rivalry. Here, the source of conflict is internal, and it remains carefully hidden until the intermission.

In spite of “Dhoom: 2’s” explosive action fireworks, the scene that people remember most vividly from that film is a dazzling introductory production number, “Dhoom Again,” stomp-danced on a steam-wreathed factory floor by the rubber-limbed Roshan, in a style that could be described as “power tap.” A similar triumph of upstaging occurs this time, as the almost 50-year-old, considerably beefed-up Khan (“Lagaan,” “3 Idiots”), along with his leggy Amazon of a co-star, Katrina Kaif, shows off impressive athleticism and obvious glamour in a series of high-flying acrobatic performance pieces, as spangly in glistening digital images as Cirque du Soleil.

At their best, the lush yet punchy musical numbers that Acharya stages for “Dhoom: 3” reach giddy heights of pop romanticism. The composer, the shameless pop button-pusher Pritam, swoops through the emotional turmoil of a song like “Malang,” and Acharya’s camera seems to be dancing — and swooning — along with the performers. Cynics need not apply.

Film Review: 'Dhoom: 3'

Reviewed at Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino, Calif., Dec. 20, 2013. Running time: 171 MIN.


(India) A Yash Raj Films release and presentation. Produced by Aditya Chopra. Executive producers, Aashish Singh, Sanjay Shivalkar.


Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya. Screenplay, Acharya, Prakash Bharadwaj; story, Acharya, Aditya Chopra. Camera (color), Sudeep Chatterjee;  editor, Ritesh Soni; music, Pritam Chakraborty; background score, Julius Packiam; lyrics, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Kausar Munir, Sameer Anjaan; production designer, Sumit Basu; art director, Adri Siriwatt; costume designers, Manoshi Nath, Rushi Sharma, Anaita Shroff; makeup designer, Zsofia Otvos; sound, Debasish Mishra; sound designer, Ganesh Gangadharan; re-recording mixer, Anuj Mathur; visual effects supervisor, Joel Hynek; special effects coordinator, Joe Digaetano; choreographer, Vaibhavi Merchant; tap choreographer, Dein Perry; action directors, Conrad E. Palmisano, Sham Kaushal; stunt coordinator, Oliver Keller; casting, Shanoo Sharma.


Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Uday Chopra, Jackie Shroff, Tabrett Bethell, Andrew Bicknell, Siddarth Nigam. 

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  1. Kiran says:

    Overall, the movie was good, and the only reason I went to see the movie in the first, was because of Aamir Khan. I usually don’t watch hindi movies in theatres, because nowadays there aren’t very good movies out there, but Aamir Khan is one actor, that if he is in the movie, I will trust it will be time and money well spent. However, I find it extremely funny, that Abhishek Bachan can ever consider himself that he was the hero of the movie. Even in Dhoom 2, he was looking like an irritating joker, that you just want to slap off the screen. Abhishek, seems to be under the perception, that just because he is the only actor,along with that super irritating Uday Chopra, the he is the hero, and the main guy in the film. The way Dhoom 3 was scripted, beginning with showing a young Aamir Khan and his father trying to save their Circus from being shutdown; immediately, the audience is given good reason to feel sympathy and relate to the antagonist (Aamir), and thus create compassion on the part of the audience towards Aamir. So on that level, I would say Aamir was the main guy, although he was in the antagonist role. As an audience you are made to feel like you want Aamir to win and get away, so therefore, that would put Aamir in the main lead role, and Abhishek in the secondary role. Abhishek is so stupid, because he doesn’t seem to understand,that the only reason why there are successive Dhoom movies after the original one, is because every time, they bring in a new antagonist to play the role, like Hrithik and now Aamir. Unless there was a so called “bad guy” to catch, there would be NO role for Abhishek, and the stories revolve around the antagonist, NOT the protagonist. So, therefore, the antagonist is the lead actor. Abhishek,seems to think that Protagonist=good guy=MAIN GUY! In the Dhoom movies,that doesn’t seem to be the case. Protagonist might equal good guy, but NOT necessarily the main guy. Its kind of like the movie Fanaa, Aamir was an antagonist there as well, but still the main guy,and the same thing goes for Dhoom 3. In both Dhoom 2 and 3, Abhishek looks like he’s struggling next to Hrithik and Aamir, looking extremely stupid. The way both the last movies have been scripted, there’s no doubt the antagonists are the main lead actors. Sorry Abhishek, Dhoom is NOT your movie, no matter what you think. You have a job because there are criminals out there, otherwise, you’d be outta of a job. Also, I found the scene where Abhishek and his sidekick show up in US, and the lady cop comes looking like a model on a motorcycle to greet them. Here in US, ladies cops don’t come like that. That was just something thrown in for the typical perverted Indian males to jack off of something. So Stupid!

  2. Vimal Reddy says:

    What a joke! Did not live up to the hype. First half was really very boring. Got a bit better in the second half but overall a big thumbs down.

  3. balu says:

    Bakawas west of time

  4. Fazan says:

    Dhoom3 has cross rupees 50 crore in 2 days. Its very nice movie you can watch and download/watch movie screen shot and wallpapers, before its removed best of luck, and dnt forget to share this nice info with yours friends this is very nice gift for free, enjoy

  5. jas says:

    Faaltu, bakwaas worst fuddu movie hai, Aamir Khan ki acting superb but mov bakwaas hai,

  6. muffaddal says:

    enough yaar,
    how much u critisize amir for this movie… every actor even amitab bacchan has done films like boom, god tussi great ho buthnat etc so many even..he is a legend …. actor never knows how director will make.the movie ..its director fault not actor…. atleast aamir justify the role he plays in movie…though talash was nt blockbuster but he played hischaractor brilliantly.. he never wear goggles to look smart .. he always show his act completely wid his face and body lanaguage….so please respect him for.doing something new atleast everytime…. i m sure next movie wid raj kumar hirani pk will make u eat your own words….

  7. Mohsi Maqsood says:

    Dhoom 3 was a fantastic film. Where Dhoom 1 and 2 were all about the ways in which the robbed, Dhoom 3 was more about sending a message. Do not read on if you have not seen the film.

    The action set-pieces of the film are outstanding. I absolutely understand why some people might question the bike turning into a speedboat, etc… But there was no problem when Bond’s car turned into a submarine in the 1940s so I don’t see why, in this day and age, should be questioned. It is important to realise that the film’s tech is ahead of its time and can be seen with the computer tech the police and the thief use. In short, the action sequences are bigger and better and we should appreciate it for what they are worth.

    The music is fine but complemented really well with lush choreography and lavish sceneries. Suffice to say, the dance sequences belong to Katrina for her hard work and dedication, especially in Kamli.

    The background score really brings up the ante of the action as Hans Zimmer has composed a series of epic sounds. They help in making the scenes all the more nail-bitingly tense.

    The acting is quite good overall. Abishek is ok in his role, albeit a bit stiff. Uday’s Ali is equivalent of Tushar’s Lucky from Golmaal. Basically it’s the only role that he suits and he is good with it. Katrina Kaif has finally decided to actually try to act and decides to change her expressions up a bit. Jackie Shroff, in his short role, is fantastic with exceptional dialogue delivery and expression. Finally, the man who owns the film: Aamir Khan. We truly get a taste of his phenomenal acting as he essays the dual role, making both characters presence feel as if they are being played by two totally different people. That is an incredible feat on its own.

    The story is where the film really shines. People might say that the film lacks in explaining the elements of the robberies and therefore it fails to do what a crime caper is supposed to do. They are right. But that’s not what the film sets out to do at all. The point of the film was to convey a message of sibling rivalry and, ultimately, solving love. No matter how hard he may try, ACP Dixit fails to do apart their bond. Katrina Kaif, who is arguably there only to fill the glamour quotient, has a deeper meaning too. She acts as medium to show that not even true love can do them apart.That’s what the story set out to do and, in my eyes, with exceptional acting by Aamir Khan, succeeds admirably.

    After watching this film and subsequently reading the reviews, I have realised that the film reflects on our character in a way. We are all so disappointed by the fact that the film does not delve into the semantics of the crimes that we are failing to see what the film was really about. It’s understandable for even I like the Crime Caper genre and the intellectuality that revolves around them. But here the meaning is deeper. Have we stooped so low as a society that we find glee in the evils that these characters portray? Is it so bad that we fail to see the good that is so cleverly hidden in the bad? I urge you to see that the film had more to it than meet the eye and that we should see it for what it sets out to do, rather than what it doesn’t really want to be: not a film striving to show you how smart criminals are, but a film that shows us that sibling love cannot and should not be broken…

    • reena says:

      Thank you for a beautiful narration . Totally agree with every bit that you have written.

      • Mohsi Maqsood says:

        The film has not got the recognition that it deserves. It forced me to write what I have written. At least someone is on the same boat as me…

  8. anand rai says:

    I loved the movie as well as thisnd review by Variety. Aamir Khan gave a ass-wooping performance le othother cast members provide tremendous support . The movie is already breaking records . Go have. A. DHOOM ;D

  9. anand says:

    guys its a gud movie better than krish 3… amir acting is superb.EXCEPT FOR THE 1st 20 MINS THE FILM IS EXCELLENT….The auto fighting scent was one of the worst in history and it was in the 1st 20 Mints….guys go watch dis movie it has suspence and twist….

  10. Sunny Harrry says:

    Incredible…recently all the worst movies (Chennai Express, Dabbang, Dhoom3, Krrish 3) in indian history are becoming big hits. Is it because of a drift in the indian audience taste?

  11. Keshav singh says:

    Pure bakbass.

  12. vijay says:

    awesome movie acting of aamir was to good I just loved it aamir proves that he is the best actor in the bollywood industry AAMIR ROCKS!Katrina was hot in the movie

  13. Ravi says:

    nice story for movie and very nice acting amir

  14. mukesh raj says:

    Maya avay satudant hu.dhoom.3 amir bhai bhumika is film me niave hai uska leya thinku me chaprs jila bihar ka rahna wala hu..gud morning

  15. shreyas says:

    different story and intrusting bt no robing sceen has show….
    no dhoom without robery

  16. Beena Thakur says:

    Hmmm.. ticket Rs.900 Christmas Holidays wow no any other big releases.. Chennai Express Tickets Rs. 500 only Eid holiday then comes weekend.. Movies Releases : 1) Madras Cafe : John Abraham, 2} Once Upon a time in mumbai Dobara : Akshay kumar, 3 : Satya Grah : Ajay Devgan.. and Chennai Express broke all the records between all these gr8 Actors.. So for me SRK is the real Bazeegar.. u r the real king Khan of Bollywood Mr. Sharukh Khan..

  17. rex says:

    good movie overrated, nice try. Aamir, Abishek, Uday and Katrina gave their best.

  18. AB says:

    Had really high hopes when i went to see the movie. move is very sub standard. lot of turn off when the double role was showed. somewhere in right after the beginning, director has lost control over the movie. poor editing as well. 1 & 2 were really good. Aamir khan is not projected well. Abhishek is portrayed as a dumb policeman.

  19. Tausif jhon says:

    The most over hyped and over acting film this year.. Critics are slating the film.. Another flop from Amir khan..dobi ghat, talaash. And now this.. The false image he Created as an actor of methodology has surely been unmasked.. Coping roles from Christian bale and the joker it’s embarrassing to say the least.. A pathetic egoistic condescending actor has come down to earth.

  20. LOL says:

    This looks crap.

  21. Malik says:

    Dhoom3 has cross rupees 100 crore in 3 days. Its very nice movie you can watch and download/watch movie screen shot and wallpapers, before its removed best of luck, and dnt forget to share this nice info with yours friends this is very nice gift for free, enjoy

  22. Sail Ali says:

    its an awesome MUST WATCH!
    Aamir’s work is really appreciating
    especially the -double role part-

  23. Glenn C. says:

    I’ll pass. This article read like a commercial for the film. Wonder if the writer has a stake in it. Yawn…..

  24. nischal kumar says:

    super nice movi .but one think is problem……………..

  25. Mike S says:

    Too much of Amir. Worst plot. Lost direction. Very disappointment

  26. mentioning name of prestige movie is like revealing the secret of dhoom3 for those who have watched prestige before, why do you do that ?

  27. Wow! Finally I got a weblog from where I be capable of in fact get valuable data regarding my study and

  28. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about romance.

  29. simran says:

    rampal bald head looks were awesome……vivek has put on the weight in dhoom 3……waste movie…..aamir looks very old,,,,,,,

  30. ashish says:

    special appearance of arjun rampal and vivek oberoi made a gr8 difference in the middle ..dhoom 3 rocks……good year end movie…….

  31. Mohd Izarat says:

    Its Ultimate Time & Money Waste Movie.Aamir Looking Like A Joker In This Movie.He Has tried To Be A Macho Man,But He Is So Short 5 Feet man.Aamir Sucks.

  32. jatin says:

    Saw this today, and loved every minute of it. Hats off to powerful performance by Aamir Khan, great photography and techincal production values. This is a true blockbuster.

  33. King Raj says:

    The people posting here obviously did not see the same movie that a lo of north Americans saw. Aamir was brilliant. Katrina was sultry and sexy. Movie was great. 4 out 5. Excellent special affects.

  34. anmol says:

    average film!!!
    could have been made on a budget of $80-90 million without any musical numbers.
    I will give this movie 2.5 out of 5.

  35. youdontneedtoknowmw says:

    this is the worst movie ever, very very disapointed with amir khan, and i do not agree that this movie was great.

  36. The spoiler says:

    Amir Khan has a twin in the movie…

  37. EG says:

    Should I watch Dhoom 3????? To get the answer to this ….click on the link

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