Language : Hindi
Director : Ram Madhvani.
Writers : Ram Madhvani, Puneet Sharma
Cast : Kartik Aaryan, Mrunal Thakur, Amruta Subhash, Vikas Kumar.
Genre : Thriller
Streaming on Netflix.
Dhamaka, the latest Netflix release, is a middling thriller that’s made watchable by a sincere Karthik Aryan.
Dhamaka, the official remake of the 2013 Korean film Terror Live, is a one-day thriller that focuses on a news anchor Arjun Pathak, played by Karthik Aryan, and his desperate attempts at preventing an act of terrorism.
The tension building during the initial 30 minutes is on point and manages to keep the audience guessing about the path the film could take. The realizations of Arjun happen in an organic way that you end up empathizing with the character, without the aid of too many emotional sequences.
While I’m yet to watch Terror Live, the film shares striking similarities with the 2008 George Clooney starrer Money Monster. Both the films despite its thriller nature tries to expose the current state of media and how anything and everything is manipulated for the sake of TRP. Both the films have protagonists, caught in a hostage like situation, only to realise their unethical ways in reporting and its impact on the public.
While the former keeps the messaging subtle and sensitive, focusing more on the characters and their emotions, Dhamaka ends up being loud and on your face with its media bashing. The craze around TRPs, media war and lack of empathy within the professionals are topics that have been pertinent in the recent past. Hence, it’s a no brainer as to why the team chose to remake a script like Terror Live. However, director Ram Madhvani falters in blending these issues effectively into a thriller.
Right from the beginning, we are shown the apathetic nature of Arjun and his seniors and their ‘all we need is TRP’ attitude to attain their goals at any cost. We are hardly shown the other side of the spectrum that consists of righteous media houses and reporters. The only time it does, it’s for the sake of rooting for the protagonist. Dhamaka doesn’t find it necessary to acknowledge the presence of media personas who still fight it out to bring forth the truth, eventually making the overall proceedings one dimensional and predictable. The way the entire security forces and media personnel are shown to react to a code red situation is childish, to say the least.
Despite these critical shortcomings, the film is deemed watchable due to the sincere and genuine performance of Karthik Aryan. From being an opportunistic anchor, caring husband and finally realizing his fate, he convincingly embodies the many emotions of Arjun and carries the film on his shoulders. This is a welcome change for the actor from the stereotypical rom-com hero roles. The rest of the star cast including Mrunal Thakur, Amruta Subash and Vikas Kumar put up a decent show. The tension building is on point and the first 30 minutes and manages to keep the audience guessing
At a runtime of 100 odd minutes, Ram Madhvani makes sure Dhamaka doesn’t bore you, but the convenient sequence of events and unidimensional nature of the script makes it a mixed bag, given the potential of the source script.
Verdict – 3/7 stars.
Kartik Aaryan’s first thriller after appearing in only romantic roles.