15 years ago Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai sizzled on-screen, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra rekindled their bromance, and Bipasha Basu served epic comic timing, in what has got to be one of Bollywood's finest heist dramas, Dhoom 2.
The film that, at the time, broke Bollywood's curse of disappointing sequels, Dhoom 2 was thrilling, slick, and the kind of masala entertainer that kept alive my faith in Bollywood. And even today, when it's been over a decade since the film released, it continues to be a favourite:
1. A logical sequel that worked just as well as a stand-alone film.
Not all sequels need to relate to the original but it does serve the audience well if there is something that takes us back to the original story we fell in love with. Dhoom 2 did it perfectly by bringing back the much-loved cop duo of Jai and Ali, and yet weaving a story that would make just as much sense, even if you missed the first film.
2. Heists that were well-planned, with just the right hint of fantasy to make it entertaining but not entirely unbelievable.
The many disguises that Aryan dons were extremely believable (with the exception of Queen Elizabeth, that still, is one of Bollywood's better renditions) - especially when he transformed into a freaking statue!
The heists also involved just the right mix of daredevilry and logic that made it entertaining but not unbelievable.
Simply put, of course, people are escaping through manholes without getting caught - but Dhoom 2 made it almost believable that it could happen, even if you were left wondering, what the hell happened to this disguise. That's the kind of suspension of disbelief that I will always root for.
And can we please take a minute to appreciate the stunning visuals and action sequences, that was especially commendable considering the time in which the film released? And then, to see that bullfight in Kalank in 2019. SMH!
3. The chemistry between the actors.
The power struggle that Hrithik and Abhishek's characters exude almost rivaled John and Abhishek's chemistry from the original. And lest you forget, there was this clever introduction when the two met for the first time leaving the Bollywood fan in me, thrilled to no end.
Though of course, the highlight remained Hrithik and Aishwarya's amazing on-screen chemistry - that perhaps, had a role to play when the two were cast together again in Jodhaa Akbar in 2008, and later, in Guzaarish, in 2010.
And while Jai Dixit could do with being a little more courteous, I still loved his banter with Ali. It was the kind of comic relief that was enjoyable without being problematic - a feat that Bollywood rarely manages.
4. A formidable antagonist.
Everyone knows a heist drama is only as good as the thief carrying out the heist. And Hrithik Roshan's A aka Aryan was certainly one hell of a thief - ably supported by Aishwarya's Sunehri, who played the femme fatale (with a side serving of annoyance that we'd let slide, because, let's face it, she looked amazing and acted well).
But from charisma to style, Hrithik's Aryan had everything going for him and he was a 'bad boy' we all fell for. And truth be told, I am glad Aryan has no sobbing origin story because I am far too happy believing he is a devil in disguise - despite the noble ending served in the film.
5. Just the right kind, and number, of twists.
Dhoom 2 had just enough twists and turns to keep us shocked, but not leave us baffled. It also sprung these twists at just the right moment. Admit it, we were just as shocked as Ali when we discovered Sunehri was playing a double agent.
And it may have been a tad bit dramatic and over-the-top, but our hearts did break a little when Aryan jumped for 'love' (what a climax!)... only to re-emerge as a chef. And then, get caught and be forgiven by Jai, all over again.
6. THE SONGS.
Hrithik and Aishwarya's version of the Dhoom title track is, by far, one of the finest promotional songs ever shot and it could easily give any of the new remixes a run for their money - even today!
And while My Name Is Ali didn't make my heart sing, I did go crazy for Aishwarya's looks, and the beats, in Crazy Kiya Re. And, Dil Laga Na was the perfect top-up to Salaame from Dhoom. All in all, one of Pritam's better albums.
Of course, like with any other movie that became part of our childhood, a major reason why it remains a favourite is nostalgia.
But, Dhoom 2 certainly got more than just nostalgia right - after all, there is a reason why it's a film I'll still pay money to watch in theatres, even if I already know how the story ends!
All images are screenshots from the film streaming on Amazon Prime Video, unless specified otherwise.