The name Vincent Vega, one of the several names of a character used as the narrative device in Dum Maaro Dum, may remind you of Pulp Fiction but then you later realize that there is nothing to it. There is no correlation within those several names. They are just that – names. Rohan Sippy prefers to play it straight like that and he does so throughout the film. It’s not only the direction or the presentation but even the actors are mostly cold throughout, except for maybe Prateik Babbar’s Lorry. And it’s not a bad thing.
The coldness allows Rohan Sippy to follow a narrative that is dispassionate and gives him (and us) a choice to sit on the fence without getting involved and observe the proceedings as an outsider. This is especially true of the second half where the story proceeds linearly, with the first half giving us the three main arcs/characters of the story and their backgrounds. These characters are inherently good people, victimized by their judgements but not portrayed as people who turned evil because of that, like you’d usually see in a film involving drugs and crimes perpetrated by drugs. So Rohan Sippy doesn’t feel the need to explicitly show their grief and say,”please care for these people” and just shows us snatches of their life and its changing ways through a period. The common thread running through them is their failed love stories and this bit he overdoes with Abhishek’s Vishnu Kamath.
The colour palette used to present Goa is rather refreshing. I missed the first half of the opening credits but from what I saw, it was snazzily done. There is Goa and only Goa but you don’t see the sea at all. Even the little bits shown is painted with a hue of yellow in the background mingling with land almost saying the real action is happening beyond the shore. In the narcotics trade, mobs, sex and murders in the name of drugs. There isn’t much of drug taking shown but what little is shown is done conventionally but very very colorfully. The huge set piece of introducing each of the three main leads that forms three quarters of the first half is interestingly done and Rohan Sippy deserves much credit for it. The whole lead up of Bipasha’s story and the way postcards get appended on her wall showing not only the passage of time but her meteoric rise was tastefully done. If this was neat, the closure for her story was entirely unnecessary and stupid in an otherwise cleverly made film.
The problem with Rohan Sippy is that he does not know when to stop. He overdoes ACP Kamath’s backstory so much to the extent that the film gets painful to sit through in the final portions. There is no visible payoff with most threads tied up so it really boggles the mind as to why the reel is still running. There is an attractive shot towards the end, from the angle of a dead body before cremation with shards of fire flying around about to erupt into a sea of flame (though technically, I think, there is something wrong here!) and that’s where things should have ended.