“Respectful but average” is how we would describe this official remake of the South Korean movie “Midnight Runners.” It was rightfully said a while back that there is an ongoing pandemic of remakes. Let us suppose for a minute that we are genuinely out of original ideas. Does that also mean that we do not possess the art of a good adaptation? Recent successes like “Vikram Vedha” would beg to differ, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. The reason for the movie’s success was that it adapted the source material to the actors and the demographic, something that “Saakini Daakini” struggles with. It had everything to make it a genuinely funny piece of content but failed for a singular reason—that of men not knowing how to write female characters. Our criticism has nothing to do with a comparison to the original movie. Permit us to elaborate more on it by taking you through the storyline.
Shalini And Damini’s Foes To Friends Storyline
Ask any man why two women may not like each other, and he is most likely to think it has something to do with another man. If not, for this reason, they know next to nothing about female relationships, and it shows in the script.
“Saakini Daakini” starts with Shalini, and Damini being dropped off at the police academy by their parents. Shalini is an impulsive woman who does not have any clear ambitions or goals. She has come to the academy to see where it could take her in life. Damini, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She is a more disciplined person but has come to the academy because she was unable to tell her parents that she wanted to do something else. She has gotten an internship in the UK and plans on spending her days at the academy till the time comes for her to leave. Both of them get off on the wrong foot immediately, mainly because Damini is a major germaphobe and is somewhat cold to the mischievous Shalini. The two of them engage in harmless pranks with each other. It could be not waking up the other person on time or tricking them into giving up their bowl of chicken, or maybe just alerting the supervisors about the hidden storage of snacks. But things come to a boiling point when Shalini breaks Damini’s laptop in a fit of pure rage. Both of them end up fighting in the canteen. They are called in and reprimanded strongly for their behavior. Following that, they decide to leave each other alone. And they do that successfully, to an extent. But things take a turn during one of their tests.
Damini has an accident, and she sprains her ankle. Everybody refuses to help her as they must finish the task at hand. But when Shalini sees her, she decides to help and piggybacks her back to the base. That is the turning point in their relationship, and soon enough, they become good friends who accept each other’s eccentricities. We can admit that the friendship part of their relationship was more or less accurate, but the depiction of their fights and animosity was too frivolous. Even if we agreed to let that slide, at the very least, it needed to be funny, which it just wasn’t. It was tiresome and made the characters, especially that of Damini, rather unlikeable. But it is all salvaged with what is to come next. Both of them head to a bar on their night off and have fun. When they are returning, they witness a girl being kidnapped, and that sets them both on a rather dangerous path.
Shalini And Damini’s Attempts To Rescue The Girl
When the two of them try chasing the car with the kidnapped girl, they are unable to follow it very far. As their next course of action, they report the incident and go to the nearby police station to follow it up. But they are disheartened upon seeing the lukewarm response of the police personnel. They call up Mr. Pratap and tell him about the events of the night, and he advises them to stay where they are. But the girls have taken their training lessons seriously and note that the first five hours are the most critical in finding the kidnapped victim. They ignore their orders and set out to do a little investigation of their own. Shalini and Damini go back to the scene of the crime and find the place where the girl had ordered her food. Following that, they track down her place of employment. It turns out to be a massage parlor. While Damini goes in to investigate, Shalini keeps watching. Unfortunately, the police arrive at that place, and it is up to Shalini to distract them, which she does by taking them on a chase across the alleys. Meanwhile, Damini has found the address of the girl, and that is where they go next.
At her house, they find a man who acts suspiciously, and when they follow him, he tries to attack them. They subdue him successfully and find that he had sold off the girl to a racket and was planning on doing the same with the other two in the house. It is the modus operandi of the ring to kidnap girls with untraceable backgrounds and use them for their nefarious activities. The girls understand that there is a huge racket involved here. They come to know that the guy they have captured is called Nandu, and he has sold the girls to someone called Rafiq. They make their way to a restaurant where, as luck would have it, they run into Rafiq. A fight ensues, and they overpower and capture him. They trace the girls to a place and find that there are many of them kidnapped. But before they can rescue them, they find themselves outnumbered and are captured. However, Damini and Shalini are not ordinary women. They are training to join the police force. Using their wits and agility, they escape from the house and make their way to the nearest police station. We have established that these two do not have the best luck on the block, and the police officers turn out to be the ones Shalini had met earlier that night. Both of them are kept in custody till the next day when Mr. Pratap comes and takes them back. It is not conclusively communicated how seriously he takes them, but the result is that the two of them are told that this case will not be followed.
That night, upon doing a little research, the women found that they had discovered an egg harvesting ring where the girls are injected with medicines to make their rate of ovulation higher so that they can sell those eggs to fertility clinics. The two of them do not give up and decide to follow the lead they have at hand. They pull a few strings and find out the path taken by the unregistered car they encountered. They also narrowed down the hospital that bought the drugs in question and zeroed upon Rajaji Hospital. Shalini and Damini understand that they are alone in their mission and are ready to fight it together. With a do-or-die mindset, they set out to rescue the girls.
‘Saakini Daakini’ Ending Explained: Do Shalini And Daminni Rescue The Girls?
Shalini and Damini make their way to the hospital, where they have tracked down the egg-harvesting ring. Unlike before, they are much more prepared now. Their combat skills are better, they are mentally prepared for what’s in front of them, and they have their own equipment for battle. They fight the goons on the ground and make their way upstairs, where the girls are being prepared for surgery to harvest their eggs. Both of them reach in the nick of time and, following another intense fight, are able to rescue the girls. Following that, they are congratulated, and their efforts are acknowledged by the other police officers. There is, however, a disciplinary committee established to decide what to do about the fact that they have flouted multiple rules. While some are in favor of taking strict action, Mr. Pratap notes that what they have done is a service to their country. It is concluded that they would have to retake their training from the beginning as punishment while they continue to stay at the academy. This is an acceptable outcome. Following everything that has happened, it looks like Shalini has found a goal in life, and Damini has decided to stay back in India to pursue a career as a police officer, but this time, by her own choice.
Final Thoughts: What Works For The ‘Saakini Daakini’ Film?
To reiterate what we said earlier, there isn’t much to “Saakini Daakini.” The jokes are not that funny, the script moves fast and loose with plot holes, and the audience will find themselves reaching out to check their phones more than once, because the movie is just not as engaging as it should be. We will maintain that the script had potential; it just needed a better writer. The actors were committed to their roles, but there wasn’t enough for them to work with. Nivetha Thomas stole the show with her “Shalini,” and we want to see her work with better scripts. Maybe the next remake will be executed better to let us have some faith in this trend of adapting stories from a foreign land. We won’t hold our breath for it though.
“Saakini Daakini” is a 2022 Drama Comedy film directed by Sudheer Varma.