Mirror Shots: In Dhamaka, director Ram Madhvani has tried to ride the entire film on the young shoulders of a good-looking actor Kartik Aaryan. As a result, Kartik Aaryan looks over-used and over-exposed in the film relegating everything else into the background, even the storyline. The other actors in the film namely Mrunal Thakur, Amruta Subhash, Vikas Kumar, Vishwajeet Pradhan and Soham Majumdar fail to offer any counter balancing act in this visually single-track studio centric story. Partly, I think, it is due to the undernourished script, which has not fleshed out the other characters adequately and partly because of the director’s belief that Kartik Aaryan alone can carry the entire film on his shoulders.The result is that a high-voltage drama, which could have driven the audience to a nail biting finish, leaves them high and dry hanging by the edges of a collapsing bridge, created graphically.The raison d ‘etre of the entire film (which is an adaptation of a Korean film The Terror Live) is the reason behind the angst of Anand/Ragubir Mhata, the aggrieved construction worker. But in the last phase of the film when the so-called terrorist comes on screen and spells out the reasons for his terror plan, it fails to create any ‘Dhamaka’. To my mind, the story of the so-called terrorist could have been supplemented with a more credible backstory to make the audience empathize with him and his cause. The narrative of the film also seems to be studio-centric asking for some visual relief aka breathing space in terms of visuals of non-studio locations. Other visuals of the collapsing bridge look computer generated and fall inadequately short of creating the required impact about the enormity of the tragedy the film has set out to communicate to the viewers. Overall, it seems budget constraints have played a role in rather compressing the production parameters of the film, taking away the ‘shock and awe’ factors from the film. In short, the film struggles to live up to the reputation of the director built on the track record of films like Neerja and the web series Aarya etc.

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O P Srivastava

A banker-turned filmmaker based in Mumbai. India.

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