Planet Bollywood
Producer: Nitin Manmohan
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Abhishek Bachchan, Suniel Shetty, Zayed Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Esha Deol, Diya Mirza
Music: Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics: Pancchi Jalonvi
Genre: Action
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Approximate Running Time: 2.5 hours
Film Released on: 08 July 2005
Reviewed by: Surjyakiran Das  - Rating: 5.5 / 10
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Music Review
Public Rating Average: 5.09 / 10 (rated by 413 viewers)
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Given the financial success of Anubhav Sinha´s first few small films, it was only a matter of time before he attempted a larger scale motion picture such as "Dus." Here, the former music video director works for the first time on a truly grand canvas, with A-listers filling his film´s cast, and production values rivaling those of many Hollywood films. Unfortunately, however, the film´s larger than life look and feel is its only real asset; Sinha´s new film, as the saying goes, is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The investigation of a plot to assassinate the Indian Prime Minister sends two Indian anti-terrorist experts (Abhishek Bachchan, Zayed Khan) to Calgary, Canada (God knows why they chose Calgary of all places; perhaps to cut production costs?) Along with a veteran agent on the case (Esha Deol) and a disturbed police officer (Suneil Shetty), they set out to track down one of the world´s most dangerous terrorists (Gulshan Grover). Eventually, they also enlist the help of one of the terrorists´ defected associates (Pankaj Kapur).

Meanwhile, other agents operating in India (Sanjay Dutt, Shilpa Shetty) work to uncover a conspiracy within the Indian government to conceal the identity of the terrorists. In the process, the agents discover that members of their own elite team may be working for the terrorists.

Nearly every sequence in Sinha’s film can be classified as inane, illogical, or typical; either the plot devices are entirely unnecessary, they don´t make sense, or they have been done to death before. Would government agents really shack up in the private home of a seemingly psychotic police officer with an important witness in an international terrorist case? Would professional agents take time out to flirt and develop a romance, as Abhishek and Esha´s characters do, during a major terrorist crisis? Would they just let a key witness in the case (Pankaj Kapur) go without taking an official statement or giving any sort of debriefing? The situations in the film are so often absurd, that the characters seem more like they´re playing an elaborate game of “dress-up” and “cops-and-robbers” than they are actually trying to avert a legitimate crisis.

Sinha and his technicians attempt to cover up the plot´s deficiencies with a lot of smoke and mirrors, but are only somewhat successful. While the film´s cinematography, stunts, and score do a pretty good job of distracting audiences from its storyline, the editing leaves a lot to be desired. Sequences building up the central conflict in the story are sped through, while irritating, unnecessary subplots (Suneil Shetty, Raima Sen track and Zayed, Diya Mirza track) seem to wear on for an eternity. And while it is generally accepted in the filmmaking fraternity that great editing should be so seamless that it goes unnoticed, “Dus´s” editing makes a point to constantly draw attention to itself with awkwardly placed digital zooms, overdone slow motion shots, and jarring insert shots (such as the strange "character statistics" shots at the beginning of the film, that appear to have been lifted from a PlayStation game).

Despite the presence of so many stars in the films´ roster, only a select few of the performers manage to leave a lasting impression. Shilpa Shetty is the show stealer, easily contributing the most exciting, inspired, and stylish performance in the film. Such a bold role for a female character is seldom seen in Indian films, and Shetty strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and strength. Given her stellar work here, one sure wishes to see more of this exceptionally talented actress as her profile improves within the industry. Sanjay Dutt stands out as well, bringing a sort of world-weary realism to his character and uplifting many otherwise uninteresting sequences in the film. The film also benefits from an excellent turn by Abhishek Bachchan. “Dus” features Abhishek the star; his character suffers from horrible writing, but Bachchan Jr. exudes such an effortless style and grace that audiences can´t resist rooting for him.

The others in the cast range from average to poor. Zayed Khan´s cocky routine works, but his longing lover boy falls flat. He shares zero chemistry with Diya Mirza, who is completely wooden.

Esha Deol hams in typical fashion, as does Raima Sen. Even Pankaj Kapur, well known for a number of outstanding performances, is quite awful in this film. His overacting is often unbearable and also renders the "twist" concerning his character quite predictable. The worst performance, however, is easily Suneil Shetty’s. Despite his tenure in the industry, Shetty still seems to think that there is little more to acting than loud screaming, exaggerated physical gestures, and affected facial contortions.

Special mention should be made of the outstanding music videos in the film. The soundtrack to the film is wildly popular, and rightfully so. The title track, “Dus Bahane,” is one of the best tracks of the year and its picturisation at the beginning of the film lives up to the expectations set by the song. Likewise, the shaadi song, “Chaam Se,” is well-done and the item number “Deedar De” (with Latin model Mayte Garcia) is the absolute best in recent times.

Far from a perfect ten, “Dus” has its moments, but they don’t quite add up to a satisfying experience. Shilpa Shetty’s done a fantastic job, Sanjay Dutt and Abhishek Bachchan contribute spades to the style of the film, and some of the songs and stunts manage to excite, but Sinha’s first big film has little else to offer. Hopefully, the young director has paid greater attention to the storyline of his next film, “Tathastu;” “Dus” is the greatest proof that without a solid script, all the stars and stunts in the world can’t save a film from mediocrity.

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