Dhamaka Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Amruta Subhash, Vikas Kumar, Mrunal Thakur (extended cameo), Vishwajeet Pradhan (special appearance)
Dhamaka Director: Ram Madhvani
Where to Watch: Netflix
Review by: Russel D'Silva
While Bollywood isn't known for many closed-room thrillers or thrillers that unfold within a confined space, there have been a few gems in this space like Director Ram Gopal Varma's 1999 masterpiece, Kaun, starring Urmila Matondkar (one of the greatest performances in the history of Indian cinema), Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh, and another masterpiece, 1969's Ittefaq, starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda. Now, after ages, another thriller arrives in this mould courtesy Kartik Aaryan starrer, Dhamaka, directed by Ram Madhvani, adapted from the 2013 Korean film, The Terror Live. Does it, too, manage to carve a niche for itself? Yes, it does, though not quite like Kaun.
So, are you excited about what to watch this weekend or what to watch this week and wondering whether Dhamaka is worth your time? Scroll down for my full Dhamaka review...
What's it about
Arjun Pathan (Kartik Aaryan)'s career and life is spiralling downward after he's demoted from news anchor to radio jockey of a prestigious channel and his wife, field journalist, Soumya Pathak (Mrunal Thakur) has filed for divorce. One morning, he sees an opportunity (or so he imagines) to snatch it all back after what initially seems to be a prank caller turns out to be an alleged terrorist who bombs the Bandra-Worli Sea-Link bridge in Mumbai.
Watch the Dhamaka trailer below:
Kartik Aaryan is the highlight, front and centre, in Dhamaka. In fact, he's better than Ha Jung-Woo in the Korean original, The Terror Live, especially with emotional range and depth he displays and vulnerability he brings to the table. Nobody can every say after this that he can only do rom-coms (something we knew from his Akaash Vani days. Kartik is supported brilliantly by Amruta Subhash and Vikas Kumar – the former underplaying the devious editor-in-chief of a big news channel to perfection and the latter lending serious gravitas as a counter-terrorism expert, while Mrunal Thakur and Vishwajeet Pradhan also excel in their cameos.
Another welcome distinction of Dhamaka from The Terror Live is how it dives deep into the much that media ratings have become and holds no punches in exposing the unscrupulous business of “selling news”. The claustrophobic setting is also used to good effect, heightened by clever injection of sound effects and an effective background score. Thankfully, Director Ram Madhvani and his editors, Monisha Baldawa and Amit Karia, keep things down to almost the same run time, understanding full well the importance of making such a film snappy. Moreover, the film also benefits from some stupendous, moral ambiguity and complexity.
When I mentioned faithful adaptation, I literally meant it, as writer-Director Ram Madhvani and co-writer Puneet Sharma hardly tinker with the narrative and flow, barring a moment here or there or in how they represent the media. While this ensures a tight, well-made thriller, it also raises questions over their creative inputs and offers zilch to those viewers as myself who've seen the original. So much so, as with the original, Dhamaka lacks that something extra, that final push, which transcends a good, taut thriller into the realm of a great one. Plus, the planning and execution of the bomber is depicted as easily as child's play – a fault in the original, too – which robs the film of its conviction to an extent.
Dhamaka flies high on Kartik Aaryan completely reinvented in dynamic form, with stupendous support from Amruta Subhash and Vikas Kumar. It's a well-made, taut thriller, with a superb, morally ambiguous undercurrent, and pin-point digs at the business of selling news, which could've benefited more from changing the Hindi adaptation a bit from its Korean original, especially in portions where the film lacks conviction for the conflict and motivations of its antagonist. I'm going with 3 out of 5 stars.
Rating : 3 out of 5
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