The story of four Dhamaal boys Roy, Adi, Manav and Boman who still want easy money in life. They bump into Kabir and try to con him, only to find that he has conned them by framing them into a multimillion rupee scam.

Bollywood sequel doubles down on dubious comedy.

Indra Kumar’s Double Dhamaal posits itself somewhere between the crude slapstick of a Police Academy sequel, the shameless mugging of a Three Stooges vehicle and the obvious misogyny of a particularly bad Two and a Half Men episode.

Doubling the frantic, bug-eyed pantomiming from the stupid-but-likable hit Dhamaal (2007) makes for an excruciating 131 minutes. Arriving four years after the original, Double Dhamaal obviously exists for no other reason than to milk the twenty-something 'money-maketh-the-man’ premise; the production’s painfully inept attempt to recapture the oh-so-elusive (ahem) 'charm’ of the first film results in a great big number two. Few films this year will match the sheer, gaudy obnoxiousness of Kumar’s kitsch staging and no collection of central characters will prove so demanding of the audience’s patience.

Opening with a bedroom-set, song-and-dance dream sequence that embraces crass sexism but slyly suggests an underlying bi/homosexual bond, we suddenly find our four imbecilic leads – Roy (Riteish Deshmukh), Manav (Jaaved Jaafery), Adi (Arshad Warsi) and Boman (Ashish Chowdhry) – by the side of the road, investing far too much faith in a dying man’s prophecy. (The sequel picks up exactly where the original ends.) Focussed on petty criminality, the four friends ineptly con their way into the world of big business, only to be entangled in murder, convoluted police procedures and doe-eyed romanticism.

The original drew (albeit loosely) its plotting and occasional laughs from Stanley Kramer’s treasure-hunt caper It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), but there is little sign of any inspiration whatsoever in the sequel. I’m sure there are precedent-setting plots that milk rape gags, mental health stereotypes and Asian caricatures but, thankfully, they’ve flown under my radar.

Of most concern is the film’s utter ambivalence towards women. From its opening shot of a bedroom overflowing with white-skinned, barely-clad conquests to the portrayal of the plot-centric 'strong woman’ archetypes (Kangna Ranaut, Mallika Sherawat) as ball-breaking, manipulative bitches, the film shamelessly plays to the dubious definition of women as either sluts who want to f*** you or suited frigid-types who want to spoil your fun.

A particularly unworthy addition to the already lowbrow catalogue of Mumbai-based Reliance Pictures, Double Dhamaal plays out like a full frontal assault on its audience. So energetically amped-up are its efforts to seem humourous, Indra Kumar’s film might be passable as disposable, cartoonish filler were it not so egregiously offensive. Determinedly colourful, ADD-edited and over-staged in every way, Double Dhamaal leaves one feeling grimy, thoroughly demoralised and viscerally exhausted.


2 hours 18 min
In Cinemas 24 June 2011,