Every Bollywood movie that wins many hearts releases with a Dhamaka. So is true in the case of Ram Madhvani’s recent Dhamaka, a film that indeed blew our minds! Given its laudable execution, there is no wonder that the film has secured its throne at number one on Netflix’s top 10. Following the sloppiness of the pandemic era, this is one of the few Bollywood films that finally brought a thrilling cinematic experience the audience was deprived of.
Dhamaka is an Indian remake of a 2013 Korean film named “The Terror Live.” Some viewers might have thought this movie to be a biopic of an Indian news anchor (who shall remain nameless) that had recently been ambushed with controversies. While that is not true, the film does give us insights into the contemporary reality of Indian news media.
‘Dhamaka’ Plot Summary: The Explosion
Arjun Pathak is a sardonic journalist who hosts a radio show called “Aaj ka topic” for TRTV News Network. He is embittered and reluctant, having been demoted from a TV news anchor to an RJ (for undisclosed reasons), followed by a divorced case filed by his beloved wife. While Arjun believes that he has seen the worst, little does he know what the future holds!
While hosting his morning radio show, he receives a threat from a suspicious caller who blackmails him about blasting the Bandra-Worli sea link. When Arjun scoffs at this distasteful prank, he hears a massive heart-wrenching explosion and finds out that there has been a blast at the sea link.
Going on Air
Arjun now has a massive opportunity that can not only revive his career but possibly save his marriage. He does not report the blast to the police but makes a deal with the terrorist to broadcast his voice countrywide on PrimeTime TV. However, the stakes are high, and time is running out. Once a responsible journalist, Arjun is set on a path where he must either let go of his conscience or lose everything he has.
Cinematography, Direction, and Sound
The film begins with the soothing soundtrack of Prateek Kuhad’s “Kasoor,” perhaps preparing the viewers for the forthcoming adrenaline rush that will roll a chill down their spine. Because from the moment of the blast, the film ensures that the audience stays on thin ice.
Apart from the two beautiful songs of the film, the ambient soundtrack does an incredible job arousing the viewers. The filmmaking process evidently included intense post-production and heavy VFX, which came off with flying colors. It is unreal how “realistic” the special effects in the film are. Despite being streamed on Netflix, the fantastic audio-visual experience makes the movie perfect for the big screen.
The actors have played their characters brilliantly well, from Karthik Aaryan’s cynical yet conscientious persona to Mrunal Thakur’s noble-minded compassion and Amruta Subhash’s slyness, keeping the viewers agitated.
The direction has been commendable in maintaining a realistic element to the film. By striking the right balance between the “polished” and the “unrefined” features, the film makes the audience experience a cinematic “bliss point.”
There is something magical about the “Mumbai” genre of Bollywood films that make them heart-wrenching yet deeply heartfelt at the same time. Dhamaka triggers the exact same emotion among the audience. Unlike most sensational content out there that “glorifies” the media industry, this film does not shy away from exposing its brazen truth.
Despite having many innocent people’s lives at stake, the remorseless media industry only values its lust for TRPs. The film includes several impactful dialogues like “an anchor is an actor, an actor wants an audience, and the audience wants drama.” What’s funny is that the film does not feature the audience at all, highlighting the bias of this view. It accurately portrays how the gatekeepers of the media shun the public’s perspective, living by a self-created barbaric rule.
The movie also highlights the false hopes given by the cowardly politicians that they will never live up to. Nevertheless, it is these false hopes that people try to find strength in, and also the only thing that keeps the film going.
Regardless of the commendable storyline and execution, Dhamaka had to be a remake of an existing film. Korean filmmakers are renowned for beautifully portraying a “haves and have nots” narrative. They have made this evident with popular shows like Squid Game and movies like Parasite. However, it is fantastic how perfectly the Korean plot blends in the Indian context. Though I haven’t watched “The Terror Live,” I must say that every element of the film is very much Indian, unlike most remakes. The makers of Dhamaka definitely deserve a Hats Off to realize the potential in the plot and implement it with justice.
Dhamaka is a 2021 Drama Thriller film directed by Ram Madhvani.