Movie Review : Dunki

 Dunki, the much- awaited Shahrukh Khan starrer directed by Raju Hirani, hit theatres on December 21st.

Hardy Singh Dhillon ( Shahrukh) is an armyman who due to a series of circumstances lands up in the village of Manu (Taapsee Pannu) and her two friends (Kocchar and Anil Grover ) who have only one aim in life and that is, to go to London and get rich in order to help their families. 

But the going gets tough since they dont have any money nor qualifications needed to get a visa. The final choice they are left with is to become a dunki, or illegal immigrant, crossing over by land and sea, in a dangerous journey.

Do they reach their destination? What happens therafter? Do Manu and Hardy unite in love?

Hirani deserves kudos for exploring unchartered territory in Hindi films with this storyline on the trials and tribulations, fate and journey of illegal immigrants. But what he does with it overall,  juggling the film between  bouts drama,emotions and humor takes the viewer on a baffling ride. Though it is Hirani's trademark humor we see,  the attempt at it seems forced in several places and many a time,  the humor also seems dated. 

Emotional highpoints, are suddenly diluted with comical outbursts as are dramatic moments which dont quite strike the right chords.

The supporting cast and their backstories don't elicit any empathy and their poignant moments evade an emotional response.

The highlight of the film is however, the presence of Shahrukh Khan, who exudes oodles of his usual charm, both as a youth and later an old man.  His energetic dance numbers, his moving scenes like the one in court and his penchant for comedy, keep you engaged and entertained all through. 

The energetic Lutt Putt Gaya number is a delightful watch. 

Taapsee puts her best foot forward and has a meaty role which she digs into heartily, exuding energy and effervesence.

Boman Irani is under- utlised in a role which seems sterotypical for him. Vicky Kaushal leaves a mark in the brief cameo he makes.

The camerwork is good and so is the music and editing.

The parts showing the tough  Dunki journey are an eye-opener as are the scenes of their tough lives abroad.

But for the most part its not really clear what Hirani is trying to get us to feel.  The climax also leaves you a tad disappointed. Many a dialogue feels too simplistic and a complex issue of borders, visas  and immigration could have better handled by a fine director like Hirani. 

However, overall, Dunki makes for an engaging, clean family entertainer for the holidays, with Shahrukh Khan's star presence enough to keep you hooked.

Rating 3/ 5

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