Cineyug's DUM, directed by E. Niwas, meanders on the same track that has been explored time and again by makers of Hindi films.
One man with courage makes a majority. One such man is Uday (Vivek Oberoi). His dream of becoming a police officer and serve his country, is accompanied by fierce determination and drive.
Even as he courageously treads on his chosen path, he is confronted by the face of evil in the form of a police officer, Shankar (Atul Kulkarni).
Shankar's deviously selfish intentions are almost as strong as Uday's selfless, noble ones. Indeed, just as each coin has two sides, society has two faces ï¿½ that of the good and evil. Such as that of Uday and Shankar!
A narrative of the grit and will power of a common man Uday, DUM reveals his travails as he overcomes all the barriers that come in the way of achieving his goals of fighting the injustice and evil that blacken society.
DUM tells the tale of a common man's fight with those who hold power ï¿½ a storyline that has been witnessed umpteen times in the past. A genre that has been explored time and again. So does DUM have the power to mesmerise the viewer for the next two hours? Partly!
Remake of the Tamil hit DHILL, DUM has an uneven narrative. Uneven because while it leaves a hammer-strong impact in the first half, the second half of this flick is akin to soda; it opens with a fizz but loses grip subsequently.
DUM has several poignant moments, several clapworthy situations. All in the first half of the enterprise.
The very first sequence between Vivek Oberoi and Atul Kulkarni, which sows the seeds of hatred, is spellbinding. The fight that ensues has the required punch, leaving an indelible impression.
Ditto for Mukesh Rishi's flashback ï¿½ the sequence has the raw appeal to give you goose bumps. Soon thereafter, the two-wheeler sequence, when Atul Kulkarni takes a lift, without knowing the face behind the helmet, is deftly executed. The two-wheeler is stopped at a police barricade, since the cops are on the lookout for some terrorist. Vivek is asked to remove his helmet and how he manages to do so, without Atul Kulkarni getting a look at him, is fascinating.
Ditto for the interval point when Atul Kulkarni spots Vivek and Diya and a chase ensues. Right till the interval point ï¿½ when Vivek is thrown on the railway tracks ï¿½ the turn of events is captivating.
But the film falters in the post-interval portions!
After an absorbing first half, the expectations from the second half rise manifold, but the narrative falls prey to mediocrity. That's mainly because the second half doesn't have any notable sequence that remains etched in your memory.
The script leaves a lot to be desired. Ideally, one would've expected the protagonist to join the police force and then settle scores with Atul Kulkarni. But till the very end, Vivek remains a civilian, who's forced to take the law in his hands. Also, the game of one-upmanship gets cumbersome after a point.
Two, the screenplay relies on set formulas that has been witnessed with amazing regularity ï¿½ the killing of Vivek's friend [Sushant Singh], the politician-underworld nexus [Govind Namdev-Yashpal Sharma], the good versus evil fight in the end and how the former eliminates the evilï¿½ Clearly, originality is missing!
Moreover, the pace of the film drops alarmingly in this half, partly because the screenplay has nothing novel to offer. Even the placement of the item song, a raunchy number picturised on model Yana Gupta, is improper. It has been added either to offset/counterbalance the heavy/violent goings-on or because it is mandatory to have a song after every 20 minutes in a Hindi flick.
Director E. Niwas has tackled a different genre this time [SHOOL did tackle a cop's life story, but the cop there was an honest guy] and the young director takes two steps forward as far as the shot execution is concerned. The making is stylish and the sequences, mentioned above, have depth.
But the screenplay [E. Niwas, Mehran] is patchy. The excitement is simply missing in the second half, courtesy a mishmash script and a long-drawn climax. Also, the film is too violent in content. The film does have its share of well-crafted action sequences, but being violent by nature, it will keep the ladies and family audiences at bay.
Surendra Rao's cinematography gives the film the right texture. Abbas Ali Moghal's action is superb. The chase in the very beginning, right till the climax fight, has that rawness, so important for a film that tackles this genre.
Sandeep Chowta's music is functional. Barring the title track, the remaining numbers are comsi comsa. However, the picturisation of at least two songs ï¿½ the title track and 'Babuji' [both choreographed by Ganesh Hegde] ï¿½ is exemplary. Actually, Hegde deserves distinction marks for executing the two songs with aplomb, specially the title track where the camera movement is mindboggling.
Vivek Oberoi is sure to multiply his fan-following, winning the hearts of even those who feel that roles like these are best handled by Sunny Deol. Cast in a role that suits his personality, Vivek gives his all to this character and delivers an electrifying performance.
Atul Kulkarni is superb. So effective is he that you hate his mere presence whenever he appears on screen. Diya Mirza has no role to talk of. Mukesh Rishi is alright. Sushant is wasted in an insignificant role. Govind Namdeo is as usual. Yashpal Sharma is effective. Vivek Shauq, Sheeba and Neena Kulkarni are so-so.
On the whole, DUM has an excellent first half, but a weak second. Although the film has several clapworthy sequences, it falls prey to mediocrity in the second half. Relying too heavily on the tried and tested stuff, DUM should face rough weather at the box-office.