Dunki Movie Review: Hirani fans are in for a rude shock

The bright spot in the movie is the cameo from Vicky Kaushal. He stands alone and sane


Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, Boman Irani

Direction: Rajkumar Hirani

At the fag end of this Rajkumar Hirani film, a character states that Dunki is really easy. It is not. In fact, the film is tedious and the journey is as challenging in the watch as is the life of illegal immigrants. Surprisingly, and true to his repute, Hirani seeks to balance the amount spent on the cast with sensitivity in telling the story. While hitherto he succeeded with aplomb, this time there is just too much compromise, theatrics and an overall lack of quality.

Hirani fans are in for a rude shock. The quality of work has taken a huge beating. It is a product that is laboured and largely purposeless.

The film is so strongly with a Punjabi flavour, you miss Sunny Deol. Loud more than boisterous, laughable more than humorous, it is an effort that weighs heavily and becomes contrived. In short, the Hirani signature looks forged.

The film starts on a wrong note with a made-up old Manu (Tapsee Panu) on the death bed, escaping from a British hospital and meeting her equally old colleagues Balli (Anil Grover) and Baggu (Vikram Kochai) who join her on a hurried (read loud) trip to Dubai. They are to meet Hardy (Shah Rukh Khan). A good time to throw away the grey wogs and get to business, and the past. Each of them has baggage and a dream. All impoverished and with commitments, they dream of Big Ben as the final stop to convert their pounds dreams to reality.

The first stop is a local training centre for IELTS. The usual digs at the English language and the challenges to the team are stretched to an extent that you begin to believe you are watching ‘Mind Your Language’ or ‘Zabaan Sambhalke’. As you tread past the trite humour tediously, the film gets kickstarted. It is here that Manu and her friends meet with Sukhi (Vicky Kaushal), who is jilted in love. His lover has moved to London and is the victim of a bad marriage and domestic violence. He vows to go to London and bring her back. It is this that brings him to the training centre.

A visa agent assigns different profiles to Manu, Baggu and Balli. Their English professor is a small-town teacher, Geetu Gulati (Boman Irani), who is as bad a teacher as his students are. The results are predictably disastrous. Only Balli makes it. Their spirit if anything gets stronger with circumstances. Left with no legal choice, the team decides on a Dunki – a donkey ride, the canal route for illegal immigrants.

Let’s move on with the script, says the director, and the narrative marches through predictable challenges reflecting both the human spirit and the capacity to accept suffering. Oh yeah! The team is led by Hardy who needless to mention falls in love with Manu. The script is also assembled with family members of Manu, Balli and Buggu adding to the Punjabi fervour – loud and frivolous.

The cast is a mixed bag. While the likes of Anil Grover and Vikram Kocchar are consistently threatic, Boman Irani is intolerably loud. He is more a ham master than an English teacher. It is unfortunate that the regular member from the Hirani camp is so loud and artificial. Giving him distinguished company is Shah Rukh Khan. While most stars are script-controlled in the Hirani camp, this time Shah Rukh Khan has a vice-like control and is in fact the undoing of the film. He hams his way every minute of the 160-minute-long tale. Looking haggard and trying to look young, this is reminiscent of the Joy Mukherjee-Biswajit era. Tapsee is credible but only.

The bright spot in the movie is the cameo from Vicky Kaushal. He stands alone and sane. There is a song in the film that sums up the spirit of the audience: ‘Hum to loot phoot gaye.’

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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