Film Review: Double Dhamaal

The sequel to 2007 comedy <i>Dhamaal</i>, loosely inspired by 1963&#8217;s <i>It&#8217;s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World</i>, follows the further adventures of a bunch of hopeless slackers and their embittered nemesis, a good cop gone bad, as they keep their

In Dhamaal (“fun” in Hindi), four friends—disinherited rich boy Boman (former model Ashish Chowdhry); brothers Aditya (Arshad Warsi) and Manav (Jaaved Jaaferi), the former a hothead and the latter an idiot; and Roy (Riteish Deshmukh), who’s clever without being the least bit smart—go to the aid of a car-crash victim whose dying words send them on a mad scramble to recover the small fortune he buried somewhere in Goa’s St. Sebastian Park. Once there, they cross paths with disillusioned police officer Kabir Naik (troubled Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt), who’s also after the money; after much wackiness, the cash winds up being donated to a televised children’s charity.

Double Dhamaal, which reunites the first movie's principal cast, opens two years later: Roy, Boman, Aditya and Manav are broke and it’s finally dawning on them that waiting for another billionaire to have a car accident and make them rich isn’t panning out. Kabir, on the other hand, appears to have done well for himself: No longer a lowly cop, he heads up a successful company housed in a sleek downtown office building, drives a Mercedes, has a sexy secretary named Kiya (Kangna Ranaut) and lives in a luxurious villa with his sizzling wife, Kamini (former model Mallika Sherawat).

The four idiots don’t see why they shouldn’t be able to move onto easy street with their old pal/nemesis, but things aren’t as they seem: Kabir isn’t rich at all—it’s his wife who has money and she expects him to make it work for them, legally or otherwise—and hotsy-totsy Kiya is actually Kabir’s sister and partner in crime. Various ridiculous complications later, the four fools have double-crossed a rapacious fake guru named Bata Bhai (Satish Kaushik); Kabir has double-crossed them; they’ve persuaded a cynical boat captain to take them to Macau by threatening mass suicide; and they discovered that Kabir, Kiya and Kamini are now also in Macau raking in the big bucks from a casino cruelly named “The Four Jokers.”

The real-life jokers in turn employ a series of ludicrous masquerades to get back at Kabir: Adi weasels his way into his confidence by playing a sharp Sikh named Ghantra Singh; Boman tries to seduce him in drag as celebutante Barbara Hori and endures the advances of an amorous gorilla; Manav pretends to be Barbara’s wealthy, cuckolded husband, a potential investor in the casino; and Roy plays a Chinese cardsharp and later wins Kiya’s heart in the guise of afroed cool cat Tukya Kale, whose heart of gold is revealed when Kiya learns that he’s caring for two mentally challenged siblings.

Double Dhamaal is the Indian equivalent of an Adam Sandler comedy: coarse, sentimental, broad, generally good-natured and pretty accessible to an international audience. Sure, there are culturally specific puns and jokes that will fly right by U.S. viewers, but drag gags and close encounters with horny apes who are clearly men in mangy gorilla suits are part of the international language of low comedy. It's pretty damn dumb, but if you're looking to convince someone that "subtitled foreign-language movie" does not equal "art film," Double Dhamaal is Exhibit A.