Dhamaka REVIEW: Kartik Aaryan successfully sheds off chocolate boy avatar for an explosive yet cynical story
Director: Ram Madhvani
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Mrunal Thakur, Amruta Subhash
Bollywood Bubble rating: 3 stars
Newsroom politics, love and lots of drama with a Dhamaka (literal meaning: Explosion) at centre is what sums up the Ram Madhvani film starring Kartik Aaryan (Arjun Pathak) in the lead role along with Mrunal Thakur (Saumya) and Amruta Subhash (Ankita). Ram Madhvani sure knows how to pull off an explosive storyline but we wished he was more bold to address the poignant issues instead of playing down the subject for the sake of keeping it ‘human subject.’ The film Dhamaka explores various threads of human emotions, from fear to angst to greed, but somewhere loses the plot in between. I was confused if it was about corruption, journalism or like a song in the movie asserts ‘life’ (Kya Khoya Kya Paya (absolute favourite track, btw).
With a subject so powerful and title so powerful, there is so much that could have been done. The film even starts on a very engaging note where we are introduced to Arjun Pathak (Kartik Aaryan) a prime-time anchor who gets demoted to being a radio jockey. Evidently upset about the demotion, Arjun finds an opportunity in crisis when a caller informs him about a possible blast at the Sea- Link in Mumbai. He negotiates with his ‘company’ and ‘Boss lady’ to get his prime-time slot in exchange for this ‘exclusive’ bombing story which has put the entire city in danger. He, however, faces a dilemma when his wife Saumya (Mrunal Thakur) is the field reporter sent to cover the story.
The plot is set perfectly giving space for various sub plots to work together simultaneously. The caller, as told, carries out the blast in an attempt to show ‘never underestimate the power of a common man’, a stark reminder of The Wednesday by Neeraj Pandey, only in that film the protagonist was the common man. But soon the narrative shifts from the very grave subject to Arjun and Saumya’s complicated love story, and newsroom politics. There are so many nuances of newsroom which was depicted brilliantly in the film. As a journalist, I am sure many of us will relate to aspects of it which we have perhaps experienced in our respective journeys.
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There are scenes are dialogues by Amruta Subhash which particularly stand out for me. For example, in one of the scenes, she says ‘Audience only cares for drama, they are not interested in truth.’ which is again an unfortunate reality of the world. Her constant obsession to manipulate the audience with sad music and fabricated or exaggerated story to get the ratings up are very smartly executed. The dialogues and tone of the movie has been kept simplistic devoid of jargons for the audience to connect with ease. The background score used blends well with the tonality of the movie.
Director Ram Madhvani uses a lot of moving camera shots and wide angle shots to give us a overview of the world we are seldom privy to. He uses extreme close ups for Arjun and Soumya in particular, in scenes which keep you hooked on to their love story, and leave you invested in this Pathakji ki love story.
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Kartik Aaryan sheds off his chocolate boy avatar for this explosive ‘not-so-vanilla’ Arjun Pathak and it seems to paid off well for him. The last scene with just his close up in frame, the actor manages to leave you hooked with the intensity in his eyes laced with self-awareness and reality. Kartik’s honest attempt to pull off this snarky, manipulative anchor who finds it difficult to say ‘sorry’ is note-worthy. Like he has mentioned a number of times in interviews, it is not a vanilla character, it is definitely layered and more of a explosive chocolate cake which you would like a piece of.
Mrunal Thakur, on the other hand, has something special about her every time she graces the screen. In a limited screen space, the actress engages you with her sometimes deserted eyes. Amruta Subhash is brilliant as a ambitious producer in the newsroom. She pulls off the act with sheer grace and honestly. She is definitely a character whose spin off I won’t might watching.
Ram Madhvani really does leave you with a ‘dhamakedar’ afterthought by the end of the movie. Watch it to experience a less than two hours of engaging news telling.