Dunki Movie Review: Rajkumar Hirani’s style of filmmaking is evident in DUNKI, which has the appropriate message and feelings.

DUNKI movie review: Navigating Dreams and Realities in the Pursuit of a Better Life {3.5/5}

“DUNKI,” a cinematic narrative set in 1995, unfurls the captivating journey of four young individuals striving to carve a path towards a promising future abroad. Led by the charismatic Shah Rukh Khan in the role of Army officer Hardayal Singh Dhillon, the film dives into the challenges and aspirations of these characters as they embark on a quest for a better life. However, as the film unfolds, it becomes evident that while it carries the unmistakable stamp of Rajkumar Hirani’s filmmaking, it falls short of the brilliance that has become synonymous with his previous works.

Dunki Movie Review
Plot Overview:
The narrative commences with Hardy’s arrival in Laltu, Punjab, aiming to meet Mahendar, who once saved his life. However, he discovers Mahendar’s untimely demise, a consequence of losing a sports opportunity while attempting to rescue Hardy. Filled with a sense of duty, Hardy decides to support Mahendar’s family, particularly his sister Manu, played by the stellar Taapsee Pannu. Manu, driven by the desire to reclaim her family’s lost home in the UK, seeks Hardy’s guidance in wrestling to qualify for a sports visa.

The plot takes an unexpected turn when an unscrupulous agent exploits Manu and her companions, leaving them with dwindling resources. Seeking help, Manu, along with Balli Kakkad (Anil Grover) and Buggu Lakhanpal (Vikram Kochhar), approaches Geetu Gulati (Boman Irani), who runs an English-speaking institute. The trio, along with Hardy, enrolls in Gulati’s classes, where they encounter Sukhi (Vicky Kaushal), forming an inseparable bond. Together, they navigate the challenges and hurdles with the singular goal of reaching the UK, crafting a story that reflects the struggles of the South Asian diaspora with immigration.

Story and Screenplay:
Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani, and Kanika Dhilon weave a story that resonates with the experiences of the South Asian diaspora, particularly those grappling with immigration challenges. The tale unfolds against the backdrop of the characters’ dreams, aspirations, and the harsh realities they face. While the narrative strikes a chord with its relatability, the screenplay is a mixed bag. Emotional and humorous moments are interspersed throughout, yet the overall script falls short of the high standards set by the talented trio of writers. The dialogues, while witty, lack the impactful punch that audiences have come to expect from the likes of Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani.


Direction and Cinematic Appeal:
Rajkumar Hirani’s direction follows his signature laugh-cry-drama formula, ensuring that the film maintains a lively pace throughout. The narrative cleverly begins in the present day, creating intrigue around the characters and their fates. The scenes depicting Hardy and his team navigating English lessons and visa interviews showcase Hirani’s knack for situational humor.

The intermission point serves as a strong hook, building anticipation for the unfolding second half. Notably, the UK court sequences featuring Hardy and the captivating Saudi Arabia segment emerge as the film’s highlights. The film concludes on a poignant note, utilizing impactful statistics to shed light on the harsh realities of immigration. However, a touch of humor in the final scene provides a somewhat uplifting conclusion.

Despite these strengths, the film grapples with shortcomings in its writing. The portrayal of the characters’ families and their struggles is lacking, leaving a void in the audience’s understanding of their motivations for pursuing a life in the UK. The humorous scenes in the first half fail to achieve the uproarious impact expected from a Rajkumar Hirani film. The subplot involving Manu’s fake marriage lacks the brilliance seen in the director’s earlier works, contributing to the film’s overall sense of falling short of expectations.

Performances and Character Dynamics:
Shah Rukh Khan delivers a commendable performance, skillfully balancing humor and emotion. However, his portrayal as an older character lacks complete conviction, albeit showcasing a departure from his usual larger-than-life roles. Taapsee Pannu steals the spotlight with a stellar performance, effectively capturing the nuances of her character’s journey, especially in the old-age scenes. Vicky Kaushal’s cameo is a standout, leaving a lasting impression, while Anil Grover and Vikram Kochhar provide excellent support. Boman Irani and Deven Bhojani (Puru Patel) contribute to the ensemble cast’s depth, and the overall performances significantly enhance the film’s appeal.

Music and Cinematography:
Pritam’s musical composition, although not chartbuster material, seamlessly integrates into the narrative. Songs like ‘Lutt Putt Gaya’ and ‘Main Tera Rasta Dekhunga’ stand out, complementing the film’s thematic elements. Aman Pant’s background score effectively underscores the emotional beats of the story. The cinematography by Muraleedharan C K, Manush Nandan, and Amit Roy is breathtaking, contributing to the film’s big-screen appeal. The production design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray authentically captures the various settings, enhancing the film’s overall visual experience.

Production Design and Editing:
Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray’s production design successfully creates an authentic backdrop, immersing the audience in the characters’ world. Sham Kaushal’s action sequences, though limited, serve the story effectively. Eka Lakhani’s costumes contribute to the realistic and non-glamorous portrayal of the characters. Rajkumar Hirani’s editing maintains a slick pace, ensuring that the film’s rhythm remains engaging, despite the shortcomings in the writing.

Dunki Movie Review: Rajkumar Hirani's style of filmmaking is evident in DUNKI, which has the appropriate message and feelings.
In conclusion, “DUNKI” carries the unmistakable imprint of Rajkumar Hirani’s filmmaking, delivering a story with a powerful message and emotional depth. However, it falls short of the brilliance associated with his earlier works, primarily due to the script’s limitations. While the film has its strengths, the audience’s high expectations from Hirani’s filmography might leave them somewhat dissatisfied. At the box office, “DUNKI” is likely to evoke a mixed bag of reactions, resonating with some and falling short for others. Despite its flaws, the film remains a testament to the challenges faced by those pursuing dreams beyond their borders, offering a poignant reflection on the complexities of immigration and the pursuit of a better life.

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