STORY: Star Indian cricketer Viraj is kidnapped. Can top cop Kabir and aide Junaid find Viraj – and his kidnapper?

CAST: John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Akshaye Khanna, Saqib Saleem, Nargis Fakhri, Akshay Kumar DIRECTION: Rohit Dhawan GENRE: Action DURATION: 2 hours 4 minutes
CAST: John Abraham, Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline
Fernandez, Akshaye Khanna, Saqib Saleem, Nargis Fakhri, Akshay Kumar
DIRECTION: Rohit Dhawan
GENRE: Action
DURATION: 2 hours 4 minutes

Just before an India-Pakistan cricket face-off in the Middle East, top Indian batsman Viraj (Saqib) is kidnapped. India’s external affairs minister, sporting a big bindi, receives a video with a Pakistani kidnapper threatening to kill Viraj. Muttering ‘Is news se dange ho sakte hain’, Ms. MEA sends in India’s secret weapon -surly, chain-smoking top-cop Kabir (John), assisted by Junaid (Varun). Kabir and Junaid find Ishika (Jacqueline), a hot chor, and several suspicious characters including cricket aficionado Wagah (Akshaye) and rock-faced Rahul Dev, playing Altaf from ‘Abudhin’, a nation of tigers and terrorists.

Just before an India-Pakistan cricket face-off in the Middle East, top Indian batsman Viraj (Saqib) is kidnapped. India’s external affairs minister, sporting a big bindi, receives a video with a Pakistani kidnapper threatening to kill Viraj. Muttering ‘Is news se dange ho sakte hain’, Ms. MEA sends in India’s secret weapon -surly, chain-smoking top-cop Kabir (John), assisted by Junaid (Varun). Kabir and Junaid find Ishika (Jacqueline), a hot chor, and several suspicious characters including cricket aficionado Wagah (Akshaye) and rock-faced Rahul Dev, playing Altaf from ‘Abudhin’, a nation of tigers and terrorists.

Not that there are too many nail-biters – with its careening plot, Dishoom doesn’t fulfil the promise of a taut thriller but its mad, zany moments make up with entertainment. The film evokes 1990s hits, from Main Khiladi Tu Anari to Govinda’s many friendly leers -presenting a new-age masala movie, full of choppers, chummas, cheetas, cheese-bhara lines and spicy dishooms.

Plus crazy cameos, including Nargis Fakhri sizzling in a bikini and Vijay Raaz as a dusty khabri who got the Americans ‘Osama ka address, doodhwale se’. The cameo that really smashes it is Akshay Kumar as ‘party animal Sameer’, who murmurs silkily to the cops,
“Kyun kiya bang bang? Humein hinsa se sakt nafrat hai,”, demanding they strip to their “shots” (hilariously matching peach numbers), sporting a pout, man-bun and wicked winks with sweet-sour swagger. Saqib’s competent while Akshaye has fun but for an actor of his ability, could’ve been sharper.

As could the entire film. If Dishoom had less fantasy -Abudhin lies somewhere between Game of Thrones and Prince of Persia – and more focus, it would be a leaner, meaner movie. Instead, it fleetingly evokes ISIS, Yazidi slaves, hooded hostages, but then rushes back to the domestic comforts of item numbers, pet dogs and ministers who say, “Call a press conference – the world needs to know.”

But as an entertainer, Dishoom delivers. If you’re good with laughter, not logic, Dishoom is actually two much fun.