Terror by Numbers

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2161dc5ed4a82370ab1314b34e36f358-3DUS. Director: Anubhav Sinha. Players: Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Abhishek Bachchan, Zayed Khan. Music: Vishal & Shekhar. 2005. DVD (Spark).

In the refined hi-tech thriller tradition of Kaante (2003), Dus gets many things right. In the post-9/11 world, terrorists don’t always have easy-to-find physical addresses and the bad guys don’t limit their mayhem to any one country. Spinning an international Indian-Canadian conspiracy as well as some nifty edge-of-the-popcorn-bag thrills, Dus proves there is still room for intelligent race-against-time crime capers.

Staged mostly in Canada, the action starts with the arrival in Canada of two Indian commandos (Bachchan, Khan) from a SWAT-type anti-terrorist squad to question a jailed terror suspect. The suspect may, or may not, hold the key to a massive terrorist attack scheduled within the titular 10-day window. The task of solving the riddle before disaster strikes falls to the commandos and their leader (Dutt) in a charged battle of wit and force.

Look for The Usual Suspects-like unexpected turns, Dhoom–style high-speed chases (the quantum speed motorbikes here are replaced by slightly slower Ford Tauruses!), Zayed Khan pulling off arrogant one-lines with the same audacity as John Abraham in muscle Ts would.

What Panchhi Jalonvi’s lyrics lack in depth is more than overcome by some catchy tunes devised by Vishal & Shekhar. The guitar riff on the KK-Shaan fire-breathing title track will surely be to 2005 what the opening note on the Dhoom soundtrack was to 2004—ubiquitous and sharp-clawed.

After being blinded by desert sand in my eyes and nearly traumatized while enduring the colossal implosion of Amol Palekar-Shah Rukh Khan’s Paheli (what the dickens were they thinking?), I was ready to give up Hindi movies for a whole month. Dus proved to be the antidote that brought me back with proof that Paheli happens but life goes on.

—Aniruddh Chawda

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