Director: Razneesh Ghai
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal, Divya Dutta, Saswata Chatterjee
Released in theatres.
Dhaakad opens in Budapest, Central Europe with an elaborate action sequence where the film’s lead Kangana Ranaut singlehandedly combats a large group of armed men. The action then moves to Bhopal, Central India where Ranaut’s agent Agni is sent on another mission by her senior (Saswata Chatterjee). She has an assistant (Sharib Hashmi) who has been keeping track of a wanted criminal couple’s whereabouts. Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta play this couple. There’s human trafficking, coal smuggling, and personal revenge (there’s a twist to that), but it’s so incoherent that by the time the film reaches interval you’re still wondering what exactly is happening.
The film’s style quotient is high. The visuals are chakachak. Every frame is neatly crafted. Things are good to look at but what exactly are we watching here? The script lacks coherence and the drama never really engages you. It’s just one set-piece after the other. It would make a good showreel for a cinematographer and production designer but it’s hardly helping the director or writers.
As for the performances, Ranaut despite her off-screen antics never really disappoints on the screen. But Dhaakad is that rare occasion where she disappoints. She gets an expensive wardrobe, gadgets, and wigs (there are quite a few). But these accessories don’t help when the character doesn’t have much to stand on its own. Turns out that every character in the film is merely a pawn in an unknown queen’s game. Who’s that queen? Well, to find that out, you will have to be a Dhaakad to sit through Dhaakad. Yes, the question is not about patience here.
Arjun Rampal plays a sadistic, cruel Rudraveer. His track could be separately titled Koyla. Like Ranaut, he too gets cool stuff to wear, and a new hairstyle for every phase in his life. But like I mentioned above, so much effort has gone into making things look interesting than making the audience feel something for these characters and their situations.
The ever-so-reliable Divya Dutta makes sure that she has fun as the owner of a brothel and head of a human trafficking network. She looks the part, speaks with her gaze, and her voice adds a lot to the character. Sharib Hashmi and Saswata Chatterjee are only added to the list of the cast. They don’t have much to do in the film.
The second half of the film turned out to be interesting but not for good reasons. I casually looked away to find most of the audience members checking their phones and soon some of them started passing comments on one scene after the other and talking among themselves. Frankly, their comments produced more entertainment than the film running on the screen. And yes, there’s one lullaby too which becomes increasingly funny than emotional. At one point Agni dies after being shot right in the chest. A scene or two later, we discover that “yeh goli khane ke baad bhi bach gayi.” Yeah, that was the point where I started praying, now please stop, let us go home.