Dhamaka’s trailer pretty much promised us a Kartik Aaryan 2.0. And the film is indeed Kartik’s most challenging performance so far. After being labelled as the monologue king, and having dabbled in romcoms such as Pyaar ka Punchnaama films, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Pati Patni Aur woh, Luka Chhupi and so on, Kartik’s Arjun Pathak in Dhamaka not only shows his range as an actor but also touches upon a different genre and emotion.
Director Ram Madhvani, who has directed Neerja and series Aarya in the past, creates a world within one room that is full of tension, action, reaction and a sense of urgency. Dhamaka is loosely based on the 2013 Korean film, The Terror Live, and stars Kartik as a broadcast journalist named Arjun Pathak. He was demoted from a prime-time news anchor to an RJ but things change when he scores an exclusive interview with a terrorist who has blown up Mumbai’s Sea Link bridge. Arjun Pathak gathers himself to be live on air amid a terror attack and what all goes through his mind while talking to his caller, is what keeps you engaged for 1 hour 43 minutes.
Here, I’d like to mention that film’s appropriate length works in its favour. It never loses pace and keeps you on the edge right from the word go. No time is wasted in the build-up–neither for the story nor the characters. The film starts with a romantic song between Arjun Pathak and his wife Saumya (Mrunal Thakur) and cut to the first scene in the newsroom, we are told they are no longer together.
At this point, you’d expect to know the back story or some flashback of what happened, but the hows and the whys are answered organically. The script moves on without staying at one place for too long. Madhvani connects with you with the tensed environment that news anchors and journalists experience while reporting a breaking news from the studio or from the crime scene.
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And I loved the dilemma that each character undergoes while doing their bit onscreen– be it Kartik sitting in the studio and feeling helpless, Amruta Subhash in the control room bossing around, calm yet assertive, or Mrunal Thakur, reporting from bomb blast site and helping hostages, and man on the line, sharing his own ordeal. The portions when Kartik is negotiating with the him and buying time to sort things out give you real chills. However, a little more of Arjun and Saumya’s love story could have been shown to add a different dimension to his character.
Madhvani never lets you digress from the present moment and that’s the beauty of his storytelling, something that we also saw in Neerja. In the two hours within an airplane, we got to see so many emotions blending into one another and in Dhamaka as well, just one newsroom lets you experience so much under one roof.
For those of you who don’t know, Dhamaka, in a way, sets a record of its own for the way the film was shot in 10 days using multiple cameras. The fabulous camera work capturing the intensity of scenes and emotions of characters explains the nitty-gritty and process that Madhvani and the team followed.
Even though Dhamaka isn’t a film high on music but it’s track Kya Khoya Paaya during the climax, pierces through your heart and stays with you for long, as it beautifully sums up the entire film. If you like thrillers, Dhamaka won’t disappoint you and Kartik Aaryan, definitely impresses with his never-seen-before avatar and a convincing performance.