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Mumbai's mainstream industry struts its stuff bigtime in "Dhoom:2," a flashy, dumb masala crimer that's an entertaining follow-up to the equally dumb surprise hit of 2004.

With: Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Uday Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Rimi Sen. (Hindi dialogue)

Mumbai’s mainstream industry struts its stuff bigtime in “Dhoom:2,” a flashy, dumb masala crimer that’s an entertaining follow-up to the equally dumb surprise hit of 2004. Loaded with enough attitude, Bollywood starpower and buff bodies to stop a speeding train, pic has been doing humongous biz since its Nov. 24 worldwide opening, and provides adequate proof that Yash Raj Films is good for more than just family-oriented comedy-dramas.

In the U.K., pic pulled a hefty $890,000 on its opening weekend on 51 screens; in the U.S., it hauled in an eye-popping $1.4 million over the extended Thanksgiving frame.

Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra reprise their roles as sloe-eyed supercop Jai Dixit and fumbling sidekick Ali Akbar, here on the trail of master of disguise Aryan (Hrithik Roshan), who specializes in impossible thefts of rare artifacts. After Aryan’s daring heist of a crown jewel on a train in the Namibian desert, Jai, joined by sexy cop Shonali Bose (Bipasha Basu), works out that Aryan’s next job will be in Mumbai. However, the superthief slips through the cops’ noose.

Enter, at the hour mark, lissome cat burglar Sunehri (Aishwarya Rai), who convinces Aryan the two of them would make an unbeatable pair. Scene shifts to Rio de Janeiro, where all the leads play an elaborate game of bluff and double-cross as Aryan attempts a heist during Carnival.

Pretitle Namibian sequence is poorly staged, but pic quickly finds its footing with a powerhouse opening number (choreographed by Shiamak Davar) that pounds out the title track. (“Dhoom” literally means “Bang.”) Roshan’s muscular dancing quickly establishes him as the movie’s main attraction, more than equal to the experienced Rai, who’s rather miscast here as the wisecracking thief with a secret to hide.

Pair do, however, generate some heat in their romantic byplay, balancing the comedic romance between Ali and Shonali’s twin sister, Monali (also Basu), which slows things in the middle going. As Jai, Bachchan is all super-cool in the first half and more textured in the second, especially in his faceoffs with Roshan.

Aggressive disco-style musical numbers are staged OK by Vaibhavi Merchant, and other production credits (apart from some iffy color processing that has a diffused look) are fine. Plot has more holes than a shower nozzle, but believability is hardly what “Dhoom:2” is really about.



Production: A Yash Raj Films release of a Yash Chopra presentation of a Yash Raj Films production. Produced by Aditya Chopra. Executive producer, Aashish Singh. Directed by Sanjay Gadhvi. Screenplay, Vijay Krishna Acharya; story, Aditya Chopra.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Vikas Shivraman, Nirav Shah; editor, Rameshwar S. Bhagat; background music, Salim-Sulaiman; song music, Pritam; lyrics, Sameer; art directors, Guruji Brothers, Rachna Rastogi, K.K. Muralidharan; costume designer, Anaita Shroff Adajania; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS Digital), Ajay Kumar; sound designer, Dwarak Warrier; visual effects, Pankaj Khandpur (Tata Elxsi); choreographers, Vaibhavi Merchant, Shiamak Davar; action director, Allan Amin; assistant director, Anuragh Singh. Reviewed at Vue West End 3, London, Nov. 30, 2006. Running time: 151 MIN. (I: 77 MIN.; II: 74 MIN.)

With: With: Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Uday Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Rimi Sen. (Hindi dialogue)

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