Despite having the formula in remaking a film, Ram Madhvani’s Dhamaka is not getting up to par with the present-day context.
This review of the Netflix film Dhamaka (2021) does not contain spoilers.
In every democratic country, the media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy. India is considered the largest democracy in the world. So, it is quite evident that alongside the pillars of the legislature, executive, and judiciary, the media has a fair share of responsibility to hold the roof of democracy. But in the past few years, this pillar loses its strength as it becomes more a representative of the authority than an independent self.
Amidst this concerning issue of the downfall of media, Netflix brings us the film, Dhamaka. Directed by Ram Madhvani, this film is the official remake of the 2013 Korean film The Terror Live. Because I am not familiar with the Korean version, I watched Dhamaka with total ignorance of the original. Thus I have high hopes for it, expecting some important issues to be talked about the sensationalized journalism of Indian media within it. But despite having some half-witted sequences of ranting for 104 minutes, Dhamaka has nothing more to offer. As well as in terms of a genre piece (action-thriller), it is not at all convincing.
Revolving around the story of a cynical TV anchor’s attempt to capitalize an alarming call of blasting the Mumbai ‘Sea-Link’ bridge from a caller, the film stars actors like Kartik Aaryan, Mrunal Thakur, Soham Majumdar, Vikas Kumar, and Amruta Subhash. Kartik Aaryan, after all his comic and romantic leads, get his first break to play a serious character as the TV anchor, Arjun Pathak. I haven’t seen much of his work previously, but after watching this film, I have some serious doubts about his acting skills. An actor must have the charisma of taking forward the story with the believability of his acting. In Kartik’s acting, believability is missing in most of the scenes. Though the character is designed in an over-the-top manner, which is rightfully understandable in the context of the subject matter, Kartik is not quite convincing in it for me.
Amruta Subhash as the boss of Arjun is also a waste due to the heavy-handed writing of the character. The character is too one-dimensional with the typical ‘daayan’ (witch in Hindi) kind of aura, who doesn’t care much except her gain of TRPs as a high executive of a renowned news network. But with this wasteful representation of the character, Subhash manages to cover up some of the loopholes. Without her performance, the characterization will be a total disaster.
With Soham Majumdar and Mrunal Thakur, there is nothing much to talk about as they get limited screen time. Soham Majumdar as the caller, Raghubir Mehta, is absent from most of the film’s length. He is mostly playing a role of an invincible man talking on the phone. But the conviction he gives to his work profoundly can be felt after hearing his voice over the phone throughout the movie.
Completed in just about 10 days of shooting and four months of post-production, the hurriedness of the production profoundly can be seen in the whole movie. The sequences are hurriedly designed often too conveniently leads to a lack of believability, the buildup of the suspense is too flat to feel the thrill and excitement. Also, in a platform like Netflix, you will expect a high production value in all aspects, but in reality, that is far from it. The level of VFX is too low to be called the production of an international platform like Netflix. With all these, it shows the lack of care towards it from the creators of this project.
To be honest, I expect a lot from Ram Madhvani in Dhamaka after his successful web debut with Aarya. But with a lack of effort in creativity, it becomes a waste despite having a good potential story about the present-day context with the formula of remaking.
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