‘DHAMAKA’ WILL BLOW YOUR MIND WITH HOW IT IS MADE, NOT SO MUCH WITH CONTENT

Rating: 3/5
Director Ram Madhvani’s film is experimental in true sense; you will either love it or despise it- no midway

Films like Dhamaka have always been a risky affair. There have been experimental films in Bollywood in the past and not all have gone down well with the audiences. Similar will be the fate for this one. You will truly appreciate how it has been made- shot only in the matter of 10days, with around 10 cameras running simultaneously at different locations, and action taking place live with actor coordinating as the shot is on. But will you appreciate the content in equal measure? Not so much

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

A bomber calls star journalist Arjun Pathak (Kartik Aaryan) in his live radio show and informs him that he will blow Mumbai’s Bandra-Worli Sea Link if his demands are not met. His demand being- a particular minister should apologise for a mishap. This brings Arjun Pathak and his news network on toes as he has to buy time and negotiate with the bomber, while also making sure to gain back his prime time slot on TV news.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

The film is based on the South Korean film Terror Live, with the screenplay and dialogues penned by Puneet Sharma and Ram Madhvani. It’s an interesting idea. Infact a refreshing idea to see such action in such a manner on screen. Two ideas are presented in the film running parallel. The conscience of journalists, especially the ones on TV news, what they speak, how they speak and how they are a part of the ratings managing to be on top, no matter what. With this, the ever present issue of poor being exploited in the name of false promises or incapable machinery runs at the core. Since it is a different film, you are invested.

As you move on, you definitely question the plausibility, which any way will not be adhered to. If at all you happen to watch this film, you will have surrender to its filmmaking and subject. If you do, you will make some sense of it or else you will remain alienated right from the first till the last scene. Behind everything that you see on screen, there is something to learn and gain that is running as the subplot. The messaging forms the backdrop of the film, making this an intelligent piece of narrative.

dhamaka, netflix, film, review, hindi, 2021
Kartik Aaryan on the sets of the film (image source: instagram)

But despite the intelligence and the effort and sharpness in filmmaking, you are left disappointed at what you eventually witness. The messaging is clear. The aspects about journalism and the business of news and why the bomber is adamant on seeking an apology from the minister are very much in your face and served to you satisfactorily. But even after all the mayhem, the essence doesn’t seem to have been conveyed rightly. When the film ends, you would ask- what was all this uproar within the narrative for? Was there no other way to put it? The filmmaker would ofcourse say- No, as then it would become a preachy statement, which is then again an absolute No-No for films.

The notions about how news is business, how truth and news are different, how somebody is ready to go to any extremes to be on top and secure that worthy position, how people within the same organisation are ready to pull you down, and how friendship is at your mercy when you are in power- are all showcased in a powerful way giving you many chances to think about it. But no change will eventually come for sure. On the other hand, the track involving the bomber gradually becomes weaker and weaker and it is here that you are reminded of A Wednesday and you think how that film kept the graph of the bomber growing.

PERFORMANCES

It was indeed refreshing to see Kartik Aaryan in something different for the first time ever. He does go overboard in some scenes, especially where he has to mouth dialogues in anxiety. Thankfully such moments are too few and he brilliantly compensates in all the other ones. He deliver a power packed performance making sure you enjoy the film through him.

Amruta Subhash comes across as a boss lady, a fiery woman. She is right up on the mark and gives a fantastic act, remaining within the strict boundaries of her role. She is a powerhouse of talent and she gives her best shot proving to her team that she was the perfect choice for the role. No wonder if she gets similar roles in the future.

dhamaka, netflix, hindi, review, film, 2021
Kartik Aryan and Director Ram Madhvani during an interview (image source: filmcompanion)

Vikas Kumar is also endearing, in a guest appearance.

Mrunal Thakur has a small and poorly written role, with not much to contribute in the plot. She does fine though.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

The score by Vishal Khurana is minimalistic in nature and rightly so. Mostly the film is made beautifully sound through sound design by Manas Choudhary, which does the work for the drama. The real sounds and the sound of ambience contributes much to the soundscape giving you an immersive experience.

Cinematography by Manu Anand must be credited for shooting at one location primarily and managing the shoots at other locations simultaneously. The shots are sharp and neat. The production design by Nidhi Rungta too must be credited for building a real yet stylised setup of a radio station cum newsroom.

Much of the essence of the film comes from how the film is edited. Kudos to Monisha Baldawa and co-editor Amit Karia for bringing that thrill and pace in the drama that you are keen to know on what will happen now or how will the protagonist react to situations. There are tiny shots for perspectives, especially when Ankita (Amruta Subhash) is communicating with Arjun Pathak and they have been placed just rightly.

It’s a film for a different cinematic perspective. To each his/her own. Watch the film and decide if this is for you.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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