Dunki Movie Review: This movie highlights the cinematic magic of Rajkumar Hirani

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The movie ‘Dunki’, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Rajkumar Hirani, gives a peek of the side of life

The story of Dunki revolves around four young men attempting to move abroad for a better life The year is 1995, and Army officer Hardayal Singh Dhillon, aka Hardy (Shah Rukh Khan), travels to Punjab to meet his life-saving friend Mahendra. Upon reaching Mahendra’s home, Hardy discovers that Mahendra is no more. In an attempt to save Hardy, Mahendra lost a golden opportunity in sports and tragically lost his life in an accident. Hardy, driven by the desire to help Mahendra’s family, takes up the challenge.

Mahendra’s sister, Manpreet (Taapsee Pannu), urges Hardy to help her in wrestling. She wants to earn a living in Britain and reclaim her family home lost due to her father’s unpaid debts. An agent assures her that she can get a sports visa, so she decides to learn the basics of wrestling. Hardy becomes her coach, but facing financial difficulties, he resorts to taking money from Balli Kakkar (Anil Grover), Buggu Lakhnapal (Vikram Kochhar), and others and then disappears.

Left with no other options, Manu, Balli, and Buggu seek help from Gurtej Gulati (Boman Irani). He runs an English language institute and promises to help those wishing to pass the IELTS exam. In an effort to save Hardy, all three enroll in his classes. Here, they meet Sukhi (Vicky Kaushal), and they become close friends. Their goal is to reach Britain by any means. The rest of the film reveals what happens next.

The narrative by Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani, and Kanika Dhillon is engaging and highly relevant, especially for South Asian immigrants who have faced migration issues. Dunki is a mix of drama and humor, with some emotionally charged moments. While some dialogues by Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani, and Kanika Dhillon are witty and humorous, the overall script could have been better, especially considering the caliber of their previous works.

Rajkumar Hirani’s direction is straightforward, employing his successful formula of blending comedy and drama seamlessly. The film never feels slow or dull. The beginning, set in the present day, offers a glimpse of the characters’ dynamism, reminiscent of a scene from 3 Idiots 2009. The scenes where Hardy and his team attempt to learn English and the visa interview sequences are noteworthy. The climax is inspiring, and the highlighted statistics are impactful, though harsh and disheartening. Thankfully, the final scene is enjoyable, and the film concludes in a light-hearted manner.

On the downside, the writing lacks depth. The producers did not focus on the families and their struggles, making it crucial for the audience to feel a strong reason for the characters to go to the UK. Unfortunately, this aspect was not explored adequately. The humor scenes in the first part do not adversely affect the overall mood, similar to Manu’s fake marriage subplot. It was necessary, given Rajkumar Hirani’s track record of mesmerizing the audience. Consequently, without the fantastic impact of films like Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots, PK, etc., viewers might feel a bit disappointed.

In terms of performances, Shah Rukh Khan delivers a good performance, bringing humor and emotions to life effectively. However, as an elderly character, he is not entirely convincing. Nevertheless, it’s refreshing to see him step out of his superstar image after roles like Pathan and Dunki. Taapsee Pannu is impressive, portraying a character going through a transformation. Vicky Kaushal shines in his cameo, while Anil Grover and Vikram Kochhar provide solid support. Boman Irani and Deven Bhojani (Puru Patel) are endearing in their roles.

Pritam’s music may not be chart-topping, but the songs are well woven into the narrative. ‘Lutt Putt Gaya’ is catchy and enjoyable, while ‘Main Tera Rasta Dekhunga’ has a meaningful impact. ‘Nikle The Kabhi Hum Ghar Se’, ‘O Maahi’ and ‘Banda’ complement the film’s theme. Aman Pant’s background score is appropriate.

Murlidharan C.K., Manush Nandan, and Amit Roy’s cinematography is appealing, making the film visually engaging. Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray’s production design is authentic. Sham Kaushal’s action is limited, with Eka Lakhani’s costumes being realistic and non-glamorous. Rajkumar Hirani’s editing is effective.

In conclusion, Dunki leaves a mark with its relevant message and emotions, bearing Rajkumar Hirani’s signature filmmaking. However, it falls short of excellence seen in his previous works due to the subpar writing. It may prove to be a mixed bag at the box office.


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