Business rating: 0.5 / 5 stars
Star Cast: Vinay Rai, Rajit Kapur, Master Jineet Rath, Vimala Raman, Linda Arsenio, Joshua Fredric Smith, Ashish Vidyarthi, Jaala Pickering, Megha Burman.
What’s Good: Nothing.
What’s Bad: The hackneyed and confusing script; below average performances; the lack of any entertaining moments at all.
Verdict: Dam 999 will prove to be a disaster.
Loo break: Several!
Watch or Not?: Watch Dam 999 at your own risk!
Biztv Network’s Dam 999 is the story of a set of people who are faced with their own personal tragedies till disaster strikes in the form of a new dam breaking apart, taking many lives in the aftermath.
Vinay (Vinay Rai), a mariner, goes to his native place in Kerala with his diabetic son, Sam (Jineet Rath). Because Vinay hasn’t been home in many years, his father, Shankaran (Rajit Kapur), an ayurvedic practitioner and astrologer, is very happy to see his son and grandson. Meera (Vimala Raman), Vinay’s childhood friend, who helps Shankaran in treating patients, is confused but happy to see her love of yesteryear come back home. As Vinay’s estranged wife, Sandra (Linda Arsenio), is a very busy reporter, he starts thinking of making a new beginning with Meera.
Vinay has an Anglo-Indian friend, Captain Fredrick Brown (Joshua Fredric Smith), who is also a mariner. Freddy’s late father was the mayor of the town. After Freddy’s father was murdered, Durai (Ashish Vidyarthi), his confidante and son-in-law, became the mayor riding on a sympathy wave. In reality, however, Durai is a tyrant, interested in making money through corrupt practices. He tortures his handicapped wife, Maria (Jaala Pickering), at home and murders people at will in order to make his pet project, a new dam on the local river, come alive. Freddy and his wife, Raziya (Megha Burman), know this but do little about it.
Things come to an inflection point when Sandra comes to meet Vinay and expresses interest in staying with him. Meera and Vinay and Shankaran’s relationships become strained. On the other hand, Vinay, Sandra and Freddy rescue Maria from Durai’s house, leaving the latter fuming. The new dam, which is to be inaugurated one day later, develops a few fatal cracks, a news story that Sandra covers. She spreads the news that if the dam breaks because of faulty construction, due to the corrupt moves of Durai, almost 2.5 million people in the vicinity might perish in a catastrophe. What happens then?
Dam 999 Review: Script Analysis
The story of Dam 999, written by Rob Tobin and Sohan Roy, tries to talk about too many things at once. A complicated love story, a mariner’s life, a local conflict, a broken home, corruption, etc. However, it just confuses the audience, especially since the screenplay, also penned by Tobin and Roy, makes such a hodgepodge of the whole story that the audience is left bored and supremely disinterested.
Even if you forget for a moment that all the characters in the movie are stereotypical; that the script actually seems to justify superstition, that the writers have cared little about logic or the audience’s intelligence, the fact that narrative is so scattered and literal is sure to get one’s goat. The dialogues are literal and border on the inane. The sense of time or continuity is given a miss as several scenes are randomly interspersed with beautiful but irrelevant visuals from the Kerala countryside. The audience cannot relate to any of the characters at all; it does not even feel for the handicapped woman, or the diabetic boy, because the drama comes across as farcical.
Of course, the viewer is bound to laugh at moments when the film ends up being unintentionally funny – like in the scene where Vinay, Sandra and Freddy go to rescue Freddy’s sisters, dressed like the a SWAT team, complete with sophisticated equipment, etc., only to enter into another room! In another scene, reeking of a 70s’ Bollywood hangover, Durai tries to intimidate his handicapped wife by holding a cobra in his hand – and all of this in 3D! All in all, the script can be best described as amateurish and poor.
Dam 999 Review: Star Performances
The performances are nothing to talk about. Vinay Rai is expressionless most of the time; he’s supposed to look depressed but just ends up looking plain bad. Jineet Rath, as the young boy, is natural but irritating. Rajit Kapur, as the old superstitious man, tries hard but he is pulled down by the other aspects of the film. Vimala Raman is genuine in her attempt but cannot do much. She is not heroine material. Linda Arsenio performs average at best. Joshua Fredric Smith’s acting looks forced. Ashish Vidyarthi is the only saving grace as far as performances are concerned. He is villainous as is required of him. Jaala Pickering, Megha Burman, Gary Richardson and others offer poor support.
Dam 999 Review: Direction & Technical Aspects
Sohan Roy’s direction is horrifyingly pathetic. He mounts the film of an above average scale and makes sure he has got the right locations, but pays no heed to the demands of his botched script or narration. There are at least half a dozen songs in the film which pop up at the most unworldly of times. Ousephachan’s music is alright but Tamil and Hindi songs in an otherwise English movie make no sense at all. The action sequences in the climax are poorly conceived and executed. The 3D adds no value. Ajayan Vincent’s cinematography is good. Editing, by Suresh Pai, could have been much better.
Dam 999 Review: The Last Word
On the whole, Dam 999 will prove to be a damning disaster, for the audience as well as the producers.