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MOVIE REVIEW: Dum Maaro Dum

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The first 30 minutes of Dum Maaro Dum were fascinating. Indian director Rohan Sippy was making a movie that was part Jackie Brown, Goodfellas, Trainspotting, Usual Suspects -- with a techno Bollywood vibe pulsating throughout.

Lorry, a good looking naïve soccer player that doesn’t get a scholarship he hoped for, decides to have his tuition paid by the local drug dealers. Of course, he’ll have to carry their stash in his suitcase. Bad timing that a former corrupt cop, who loses his family and decides to go straight and end the drug problems in the beautiful Indian state of Goa, runs into this kid.

We get lots of flashbacks about the various characters and those are all interesting.

Sippy seems to make the movie like they’re one long music video or rave. When there’s an actual scene at a rave – that works. All the other times, the songs felt forced and took away from a fun (but clichéd) story. One scene with a cop rapping during various drug busts, was very well done but really didn’t fit in the middle of this film.

There were a few other bizarre things. One was the intermission the movie has. The film was only two hours and 10 minutes, hardly long enough to warrant a break. And when the intermission started, a few people went to bathroom. It was unfortunate for them, as the movie started three minutes later, before they had gotten back.

This movie also had the weirdest use of subtitles I’ve ever seen. Early on, some characters would speak a mix of Konkani, Hindi, and English (Goa is a multilingual state and often characters speak those two languages, as well as Portuguese). We’d be reading the same words we were hearing. >Sometimes when they spoke English, they would use slightly different words than we were reading, which was confusing. Add to that some of the curse words were censored in subtitles, which is something I’ve never seen.

A drug kingpin called somebody a “ stupid m***** f***** !” my prowess at Scrabble (and cursing) made it easy to figure out what he said. Although, late in the movie somebody is told they will be “shitting bricks.” It was the only curse word not edited.

The movie was stylishly done and you’re never bored watching it. The lights at the raves, Carnaval and street scenes – all visually stunning. There were some well shot scenes – like a drug dealer being cremated, along with drugs hidden in the casket (and a camera shot from inside).

The movie’s only playing at the Reading Gaslamp downtown, and probably won’t be there long.

I’m giving it a D+.