Dhamaka - Show time with Mitrajit Bhattacharya

There is a huge goodwill Ram Madhvani enjoys, both as an advertising and a feature film maker. At least, with the matured cinema lovers on OTT. Neerja was from pre-OTT days, we had seen the spark of Madhvani as a director. It was his first big movie, his earlier Let’s Talk was an experimental film digitally shot made on a shoe-string budget. Then came the blockbuster Aarya on a streaming platform, now readying for the second season riding on the success of the first. Needless to say, the expectation from Dhamaka was huge. Also, because the original Korean movie The Terror Live was a bumper hit, earning more than 10X at the box office. However, there was a spoiler, the pandemic and the ensuing difficulties in shooting under strict protocols. 

What works?

Reasonable ensemble cast with a popular lead pair of Kartik Aaryan and Mrunal Thakur (though in a very small role) and a powerful support by Amruta Shubhash and Vikas Kumar. Though the narrative doesn’t have much scope for music, the song ‘Kasoor’ by Prateek Kuhad sets the tone for the relationship between a loving couple in the opening flashback montage.

What doesn’t work?

Overplays the madness the goes in a typical newsroom of a TV channel. Even the most hyperactive news anchors and their bosses will squirm in their seats watching Kartik and Amruta (as the boss) play their games while a show is live, that too amidst a (supposed) terrorist attack. Getting instant ratings while the show is on air is one such exaggeration. Overall, the cause for action by the antagonist wasn’t shown compelling enough. If you observe Naseersaab’s common man character in A Wednesday, you will clearly see a reason behind his lofty plans to bring the system on its knees. Here, that was missing. Also, the computer graphics and outdoor scenes could have been executed better. 

The sum up:

While I completely buy that shooting was difficult during the peak of pandemic restrictions and hence some shots couldn’t be executed properly, the wanting will remain for not fleshing out the characters well and not making a compelling case for the cause. Ram Madhvani as a director may have left the audience asking some probing questions, but he has definitely triumphed as a super smart producer. Shooting the film in 10-11 days in two rooms in Mumbai, that too with a saleable A-lister was a real coup. 

 

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