WBRi Movie Review: DAM 999 (English, 2011) The First Indian-Hollywood Movie in 3D

Trailer - DAM 999 3D

A still from DAM 999 MovieCalcutta, Nov 28, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Imperceptibility is the strength of fate. It steers the course of life to unknown directions and finally culminates in what can be termed as epiphany.  Something similar has happened with the latest release DAM 999, it has helped us realize that an international cast, the jazz of 3-D and an overdose of Indian spirituality are not enough to make a outstanding movie.

Pre-release, it all seemed quite green…with the never-before-seen story that was said to capture 9 lives playing pawns to fate at a time of crisis and the hype about it being the first-ever take on maritime and marine life from the perspective of a mariner.

Distributed by the Hollywood biggie Warner Bros, DAM 999 is an Indo-Arab venture that has been directed by first-timer Sohan Roy, a marine engineer. The movie is produced by the Marine BizTV, the first global Maritime TV channel.

Based on the acclaimed short documentary, also directed by Soham Ray, called DAMS - The Lethal Water Bombs, DAM 999 promised to be an honest reminder to the 1975 Banqiao Dam disaster in China that killed 250,000 people. As such, it also claimed to shift our attention to the impending dangers in the form of many in-shamble dams across the world.

The film plays around with the essentially Hindu concepts of “navagrahas” - the groundwork of Indian astrology and “navarasas”- the 9 human emotions wherein the 9 main characters represent the “navarasas”.  Their nature and actions are all guided by the rasa that they represent, this is the basic structure of the storyline for DAM 999. The movie has an international cast that includes veteran actor Rajit Kapur representing the Shantha rasa or the rasa of tranquility, Joshua Fredric Smith for Hasya rasa or the rasa of laughter, Megha Burman, standing for  Shringara rasa, Linda Arsenio representing the Veera rasa or the rasa of courage, Jaala Pickering for Bhayanaka rasa, rasa of terror, Ashish Vidyarthi  embodying Beebhatsa rasa or the rasa of disgust, Vimala Raman for Karuna rasa, the rasa of compassion, Vinay Rai personifying Roudra rasa, the rasa of fury and Jineet Rath for Adbhuta rasa. That completes the “navarasas”. Apart from this novel concept, there is little else that might interest the movie-goers. A corrupt mayor builds a dam that develops cracks and fissures, a lovelorn couple separated because their union spells doom, they make love and the dam crumbles!...yes, it’s that illogical! The presence of award-winning professionals such as the ace cinematographer Ajayan Vincent and the leading editor in Indian film industry Suresh Pai could not stop the dam from crumbling.

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