Movie Review: ‘Dhamaka’ (Netflix)

Amrita Tanna

Senior Editor


Kartik Aaryan is starring in a Ram Madhvani film for the first time in ‘Dhamaka’, which has started streaming on 19th November on Netflix. The film promised a thriller which would bring Aaryan into an interesting space in relation to the films he’s done previously. However, does it deliver what the audiences expected from the trailers and songs which have released so far?

Prime time TV anchor Arjun Pathak (Aaryan) gets a demotion to radio jockey when his personal life takes a down-turn. However, when he receives a call from a man who says he is going to blow up Mumbai’s Sea-Link, he doesn’t take it seriously. Sea-Link is then indeed bombed a few minutes later, prompting Pathak to think he can get an exclusive with the caller before he does more damage. Does he end up saving the day?

Madhvani is known for his sensitive execution of rather complicated stories. With ‘Dhamaka’, it’s no different. There is a sensitivity to the subject but it’s a thriller which keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through. The film’s screenplay and dialogues are also co-written by Madhvani, alongside Puneet Sharma and together the story is gripping and effective all the way through. The suspense remains, it’s unpredictable and there is no need for an extensive ensemble cast to do the needful. What it also achieves is a decent emotional quotient which films of a similar genre often lose sight of.

Aaryan is simply brilliant as Pathak, giving a performance that many will never forget. He gets into the skin of his character in such a way that you see him move from being someone hungry to bring the audiences an exclusive and regain his position as a respected and popular news anchor to being an emotional wreck, knowing that he could be killed at any minute, to then trying to negotiate to save others. There’s no two ways about it – he plays this role with pure excellence, showing someone who is torn between following orders, sympathising with a so-called terrorist and protecting his own morales and safety. Mrunal Thakur plays a news correspondent and Pathak’s ex-wife. The initial scenes set the scene of how their relationship once was and it really sets the scene quite straight-forwardly about the kind of characters both Aaryan and Thakur play, as well as the bond they once shared. Their chemistry in those opening shots is great and very fresh. Amruta Subhash plays the role of Pathak’s boss, Ankita. She is also a fantastic performer no matter the role and with this, she is a little ruthless and strong, playing the character to perfection. The other members of the cast also give applauseworthy performances.

Ultimately, what ‘Dhamaka’ does is show the extent to which something is deemed newsworthy, showing a portrayal of the way Indian journalism and news portals may work in the sub-continent. Sometimes it’s the human cost that isn’t discovered until much later and this story shows that very cleverly. It gives way to a debate about what’s more important for the audiences and general public and this is the most interesting part of the film and the way the story is delivered. With such sterling performances and a story which is so difficult to switch away from, ‘Dhamaka’ brings to the audiences something fresh and worth watching. In a day and age of quick digital films which are here today and forgotten tomorrow, ‘Dhamaka’ stands out as one film which should not be missed. And the credit for this goes to the entire unit of the film, the whole cast and crew, but most importantly the writers and the direction.