About the story: The Indian counterterrorist police unit ATC (Anti Terrorist Cell), led by Siddhant Dheer (Sanjay Dutt), has learned that infamous terrorist Jambwal wants to kill more than 20,000 people in a terrorist attack after only seven days, on May 10. This is their only information – place, time and mode of the intended attack are unknown. When Siddhant gets to know that Jambwal’s henchman Himmat Mehendi (Pankaj Kapur) has been seen in Canada, he sends two of his best men there: His brother Shashant (Abhishek Bachchan) and bomb specialist Aditya (Zayed Khan). Along with ATC agent Neha (Esha Deol) and Indo-Canadian policeman Danish (Suniel Shetty) they nab Himmat, and use him to find and eliminate Jambwal. But they are unaware of a spy in their own unit, whom Siddhant and co-officer Aditi Kumar (Shilpa Shetty) just exposed back home in Delhi. Interrogated by Siddhant, that spy reveals the involvement of the prime minister’s own security department – and the fact that Jambwal is still very much alive...
Dus (= ten) is a movie which holds the audience in suspense by means of a permanent countdown – first the seven days before the known date of the attack are counted down, later the minutes and seconds before the climax – and lets it participate in the ATC investigations and their counterterrorist operations. The tension does not put your fingernails in grave danger, but it still keeps you on edge. It does not harm the story that everything happens in a very stylish ambiance, since all the protagonists, despite their cool (or supposedly cool) appearance are still people – with their strong points, but weaknesses, too, and above all, with emotions.
First of all, Sanjay Dutt impresses in this regard with an uncompromising interpretation of his role. Once again he incorporates his character totally, playing the authoritarian boss only when necessary, and otherwise keeping the balance in his squad. He is hit hardest by the discovery of a traitor in their midst, and his big scene with that person touches emotional limits. It gets even worse when he has to make a downright inhuman decision near the end, where he virtually collapses under the weight. Here, at the latest, the coolness is broken by all the involved, but particularly by Sanjay, who plays a character almost broken by personal pain.
All in all, his partners are good: Abhishek Bachchan, who regards Sanjay as his big brother in real life, too (and calls him respectfully and lovingly "Sanju Sir"), plays Siddhant's younger brother very convincingly, a young guy who likes to smoke a forbidden cigarette while on duty, but who is absolutely dependable when needed. Zayed Khan obviously feels comfortable in the role of a super-cool youngster, who can be found talking to a bomb with the words "yeah, baby, I love you too", while Suniel Shetty on the other hand does not seem to be happy with his role, and perhaps would have liked to play every other character rather than his own. Luckily his routine lets him prevent too much harm from particularly the private scenes with Dan’s wife Priya (very blandly played by Raima Sen), but in the action scenes he is in his element again.
The terrorists' side is well cast with Gulshan Grover as Irfan Khan, and above all Pankaj Kapur as Himmat Mehendi, while the female cast was less fortunately chosen: Diya Mirza as Siddhant's and Shashant's sister Amu hardly appears, and Esha Deol, sorry, is a total loss. Thankfully, Shilpa Shetty does very well; besides Sanjay she is the highlight of the film. She acts credibly in every moment both as the tough ATC-agent and as the woman who feels true affection for Siddhant, even if she gives no other reason for it, than "He has style" – but, with all due respect: She's absolutely right!
I have rarely been moved by two commemorations in the opening credits of a movie as much as with these: "In fond remembrance", director Mukul Anand is mentioned, who passed away eight years earlier during the shooting of another movie titled 'Dus' (also with Sanjay Dutt) - and the words "Dedicated to late Dutt sb. from the Team of Dus" in the memory of Sanju's deceased father Sunil Dutt. I can not know if Sunil would have liked the film - I like it a lot, even if I would not consider it as a must-see: Its two-and-a-half hours are certainly no waste of time.
Produced by Nitin Manmohan; Directed by Anubhav Sinha
145 Min.; DVD: Shemaroo, English Subtitles (including songs). The DVD has some extras: A Making Of, the bonus song "Jaaniya Ve", trailers, promos and a photo gallery.
© Diwali; Translated by Anamika
Additional info: During the shooting of Dus in Canada (2004), Canadian media started a downright hate campaign against Sanjay Dutt. They demanded the government to forbid a 'terrorist like Sanjay Dutt' to step onto Canadian soil. Every day, Sanjay was confronted with new headlines and attacks by the press. His arguments, that he was not guilty and the presumption of innocence should apply until someone has been judged by the court, were ignored by the Canadian media. Their smear campaign continued. When he could not stand it any longer, Sanjay prematurely stopped shooting. At his departure, the Indian community of Calgary assembled at the airport to apologize to Sanjay for the behaviour of the media in their new home country. But, understandably, Sanjay was deeply hurt and swore never to return to Canada as he, so his words, never in his whole life had been humiliated and hurt so much. He accused the Canadian media, who talked about his "islamic links" and called him a terrorist, of having blindly taken the charges against him as already proven, and wondered about with which right these people damned him and branded him a terrorist without having a clue of the facts and the circumstances of the case. As a guest of the Canadian gouvernment he had expected to be treated as a guest but definitely not in a way that no one in his unit understood – all his colleagues sympathized with Sanju’s decision to return to India ahead of schedule.