Onto the final review of the weekend, and in case you are wondering as to why haven’t I reviewed Escaype Live then it is because the finale episodes will stream on 27th May. So I felt it would be unfair to give my views when the story is still wide open. So that review you will get positively next week. With that I finished watching the new Kangana Ranaut starrer Dhaakad. The action genre has primarily been ruled by alpha males. And it was about time that we had a film with a female kicking some a*s.
When the trailer of Dhaakad was out, I was supremely excited as it promised me a world of interesting characters with some impeccable action sequences. And I was more excited for Dhaakad as compared to Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 after I had watched both its trailers. But how tables turned this weekend. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 was lapped up by the audience whereas there were no takers for Dhaakad. However, despite a negative word of mouth, I decided to give this film a chance with an open mind with some part of me still not wanting to believe the negativity around it. So then does Dhaakad manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Dhaakad follows the story of Agent Agni with a troubled past who is entrusted with a mission to gather Intel around an international mafia. The story is a routine one and there is nothing which you haven’t seen already. The screenplay too is a mixed bag. Even at just a little over two hours, it lacks that finesse in its storytelling. It opens on a terrific note with an extended action set piece with Kangana at the helm of it which is brilliant, creating an interesting ambience and setting the ball rolling for things to come. But then what follows is a soul-less bit of writing wherein you are never quite invested in the drama.
A lot had to do with not much importance being given to the emotional side and vulnerability of the protagonist. Instead, the screenplay was jumping from one action sequence to another which honestly did feel a little disjointed. While the action set pieces are brilliant, it is the story in between them which is lacking and not enough to hold your attention. Some of the side plots are undercooked and the character of the main antagonist is underwritten as he plays a disappearing act in most parts of the first half. I also felt certain parts of the film lacked depth and overstayed their welcome. There are no spikes in the screenplay either and it unfolds on a predictable note. The twist at the end is good but again there is no buildup to it. There may have been a conflict on further developing the story as opposed to a taut runtime but the end product is underwhelming with a weak climax. The final face off lacks the spark of a climactic fight. Overall, a plain screenplay which is almost vanilla.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are decent and sparingly used. The music is alright but a lack of a blockbuster song hurts its narrative. The BGM is excellent and blends perfectly with the drama. The cinematography is the unsung hero here. It is truly world class with the use of one light colour dominating the frame based on the mood of the drama. Whether it is neon or blue or red to depict a fight sequence or a dull monochrome to depict the interiors of the country where crimes plays a part, the cinematography is excellent! The production design is equally brilliant as the makers were able to successfully build a world of intrigue. Director Razneesh ‘Razy’ Ghai is a little inconsistent in his approach. While he excels in stylized action sequences, he falters in executing moments of vulnerability of the protagonist which doesn’t allow the audience to fully invest in the drama.
The performances are good here. Sharib Hashmi is endearing here. Divya Dutta as Rohini the mafia queen is brilliant here and probably the best actor on display. She owns every scene she is in and nails her character. Saswata Chaterjee is well restrained. Arjun Rampal as Rudraveer is terrific although his character is most definitely underwritten. Kangana Ranaut as Agent Agni is good and she excels in combat sequences too. However, I feel you expected a much stronger performance from her given her calibre as an actor. Queen and Tanu Weds Manu Returns were films where she created magic but here she is good not brilliant. But full marks to her for venturing in a space which is essentially male dominated, so kudos to her for attempting to do something different.
Dhaakad is technically brilliant but is largely disappointing due to its weak writing. This marks a lost opportunity. Available in a theatre near you.