The movie starts with Prateek Kuhad’s song “Kasoor” playing in the background as Kartik Aaryan swipes through his videos with his wife. Although after watching the entire movie one will be asking what’s their kasoor (fault) that they had to bear with it. The movie revolves around a journalist’s life and the balance between his conscience and his professional demands. The movie pulls a rift between ethics and TRP ratings of the mainstream media through a high voltage newsroom drama.
The movie is directed by Ram Madhavani who has co-written it with Puneet Sharma. The action-thriller is based on the Korean drama ‘The Terror Live’ (2013). The protagonist Arjun Pathak (Kartik Aaryan) is an ex-prime time TV anchor who is demoted as an RJ and gambles public security to get it back. When an unknown person calls him claiming to blow away the sea link that he does, Arjun talks to his boss and makes a deal of getting back his position. In return, his boss Amruta Subhash asks him to increase the TRP ratings through the on-air negotiation call with the mastermind. He is struggling between his values and the deal he made. He is separated with his wife Mrunal Thakur who is a field reporter for the same channel and strives to get the truth instead of TRP. Soham Mazumdar plays the role of Raghubeer Mhate who has blasted the sea link to avenge the death of his near ones and wants to talk only with Arjun.
Kartik has a hard time convincing the audience that he is a news anchor. He tried to build tension and fumbled a number of times and looks confused rather than stressed. Director Ram Madhavani put in a lot of effort to make sure he pulled off well but it is exhausting. Mrunal had a very small part to play and she could have been amazing had she been given much more screen time. The blooming romance between her and Arjun ended too soon. It failed to have any emotional connection. Soham’s voice makes us imagine who the character might be. He was brilliant there although his onscreen presence didn’t create much effect.
There is nothing extraordinary about the story or the direction. The 104 minutes looked like a rehearsal of a play or something like method acting. Not to mention the unnecessary closeups of Kartik and Mrunal. Manu Anand must have had a tough time capturing only one room throughout. Had the movie shown us some of Raghubeer Mhate aka Anand operating the entire plan, it would have been a relief to the eyes. Not only that, the blown sea link was hardly captured. The antagonist’s stubborn behavior to ask exceptional demands from the protagonist under a life threat is nothing new but its execution made them stand out. The examples can be drawn from ‘A Wednesday’ (2008) and ‘Asur’ (2020).
‘Dhamaka’ had exploded itself without that balance between good and evil and the strength of both the hero and the villain. It talks way too much about Kartik’s life that too in bits and pieces that one has a hard time connecting that with Soham, let alone linking both of them. Soham’s voice is all we hear throughout and a character that is strong and cynical enough to blast the sea link would definitely have a painful life story that we missed completely. The movie exposes the corruption of the system, fake news, TRP race of mainstream journalism and exploitation of a section of the society.
The message the audience gets from Arjun’s personal life is that we should let go of our ego and communicate with our loved ones before it’s too late. Saumya might have never filed the divorce lawsuit if Arjun has talked about things he never did. Raghubeer aka Anand’s high education hasn’t shaped his mindset and he gets so stubborn to dig his own grave, tells us how certain things can have an ever-lasting psychological impact. The corrupted minister and Arjun’s boss selling him out for the sake of the channel’s benefit talks about treachery and betrayal leading to doom.
Throughout the movie one feels no adrenaline rush about the blasts or the explosion in the newsroom or even when Arjun blasted the building in the end. The blasts didn’t have any impact as if they were happening because of background noise. It was all too monotonous with hardly any action in it. It was as if the movie never reached the climax.
Ram Madhavani’s ‘Neerja’ (2016) or web series ‘Aarya’ (2020) had made one set higher hopes from this film but sadly it was a complete setback.
Dhamaka is currently streaming on Netflix.