Where can you watch Dhoomam in the UAE?

Dhoomam is currently showing in cinemas across the UAE, such as VOX Cinema and Novo Cinemas. It will probably be a while before the film hits streaming services in the UAE.

Malayalam movie Dhoomam review

The 2017 Tamil film Velaikaran has a storyline about a conscientious sales and marketing person who finds the company he is employed with resorting to dubious methods to hoodwink the public. His smooth-talking marketing head is the sly villain.  When the worker tries to call out the company for its chicanery, he faces enormous hurdles and is almost killed by the pin-striped top executives, including the vile marketing guy who runs the company. The well-meaning worker was played by the Tamil actor Siva Karthikeyan. And the suave but cunning marketing maven was played by Fahadh Faasil, making his debut in Tamil.

Nearly six years later, Fahadh Faasil is in a similar movie with Dhoomam. Except for the crucial fact, here he is the whistleblower of sorts in a tobacco company. He is the one who wants to expose the top managerial guys of the company. But they want to finish him off.

As it happens, the problem for both Velaikkaran and Dhoomam is: Its heart is in the right place. But its mind is fully occupied by the message it wants to send. In one case, it was that corporates are evil. In another, tobacco kills, and tobacco companies have no heart.

Oh yes, Dhoomam takes the suspense route to hammer its idea, while Velaikkaran takes the more social way.

The story of Dhoomam, in a gist, is about Avinash (Fahadh Faasil) and his wife Dia (Aparna Balamurali), who is kidnapped, and they don’t know why they have been targeted.  They also have no idea who is behind the abduction. They are told to follow the instructions given to them. It is only later it is known that Avinash had quit his job as a marketing person in a big tobacco corporation because he can no longer put up with the lies and spiel he has to peddle in his role.  Now Avinash has to outsmart his former bosses (Roshan Mathews and Vineeth).

The film, told in flash cuts, lays bare the murky inner workings of the tobacco industry, which always puts profits ahead of anything else. But such heavy messaging does not easily fit into a movie masquerading as a thriller. And this is where the director Pawan Kumar, who had given smooth thrillers like Lucia and U-Turn in Kannada, has to cop flak. His creative choices are to blame. Also, his being a novice to the Malayalam industry shows. One, Malayalam films prefer subtlety to loud messaging. Two, his lack of grip on the local language also comes across in the trite dialogue. 

Fahadh Faasil is earnest. But most heroes are. The sincerity of actors can hardly make up for a draggy screenplay. The film, at nearly two-and-a-half hours in length, is hardly the kind to sustain a movie that pivots on suspense and action. Aparna Balamurali has no real role in talking about. Roshan Mathews, Vineeth, and Achyuth Kumar go through their motions.

A burning issue of tobacco needed a more water-tight approach. 

Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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