Director- Tarun Dudeja
Cast- Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanjana Sanghi, Dia Mirza and Ratna Pathak Shah
Platform of Release- Theatres
By Jyothi Venkatesh
Dhak Dhak narrates the story of four women belonging to different walks of life, who come together for a bike trip to the World’s highest motorable road at Khardung La, Ladakh, India. If films that spoke about bra burning create a conversation in the 80’s and 90’s, today you get to see films that stir a conversation about feminism, liberation and equality, like Lipstick Under My Burqa (2016), Pink (2016), Veere Di Wedding (2018) and very recent Thank You For Coming (2023).
Dhak Dhak is about Sky aka Shashi (Fatima Sana Shaikh), Uzma (Dia Mirza), Manpreet aka Mahi (Ratna Pathak Shah), and Manjari (Sanjana Sanghi) who join hands with each other only to discover their inner calling. The four girls take a trip of a lifetime on this adventurous journey, where they explore the true meaning of life by breaking all the shackles and discover their true passion, the importance of being themselves and crucial human traits.
Though the plot has been nailed well, the film’s first half occasionally sputters as it shows biases against female drivers or riders, the lack of safety for women, and how they are taken for granted. The narrative switches gears and accelerates the excitement once they are on the road, though one wishes that the editor had taken pains to edit the lengthy film.
Kudos to cinematographer Sreechith Vijayan Damodar for setting out to perfectly capture the mountains, whether a smooth ride on the picturesque roads or through the dramatic terrains, landslides and flooding.
As far as the performances are concerned, all that I can say is that Ratna Pathak Shah as a loving, shy, and cheeky Punjabi grandma, is extremely nuanced as far as her performance is concerned, while Fatima Sana Shaikh displays her work as a firebrand girl dealing with her demons. Dia Mirza as a crafty mechanic with stifled dreams is good as usual and Sanjana Sanghi as the overprotected simple girl are outstanding in their roles.
To sum up, all said and done, Dhak Dhak is a Must see female-centric film