A 90 minute film which unfolds over a few hours and has a plot based narrative, Dhamaka by all means is a difficult story to be told and even more difficult to be made. More so since it’s entirely set in a single room, not one of those fancy studios but a RJ cabin that has been converted into a makeshift streaming studio. Still, there is a lot of movement and a lot of action here, all of that via what’s going on in the minds of characters and not as much about what they bring through their body movements.
Just for that, Kartik Aaryan deserves full marks for getting into a totally different zone and coming up trumps in a big way. A very physically emotive actor who is happy to get into a high energetic monologue or a ‘Bom Diggy Diggy’ jig with as much aplomb, here he has to say it all with just his face doing the talking and minimal hand or body movement coming into play, leave aside walking or dancing on the floor. He is stuck to his chair, with the camera zooming in and a ticking bomb in his ear. If he is finding himself helpless, so are you as an audience, and this is where Kartik works totally in tandem with his genius director Ram Madhvani.
The filmmaker has a lot of cards up his sleeves, even as he officially remakes a Korean film here. In a plot reminiscent of Neeraj Pandey’s brilliant thriller A Wednesday, Dhamaka has a terrorist (or a disgruntled poor man?) threatening to blow up bridges, people and buildings with equal measure at an alarming pace. Let’s not get into how he managed to do it all; let’s focus on the why part of it. That’s where the beauty of Dhamaka lies and though the adage of two wrongs do not make a right holds true here as well, the film does ask an important question around “Kya Khoya Kya Paya”.
In the midst of it all, there is stereotypical cry of journalism going for a toss, especially the one on television, and Amruta Subhash gets into the part of a show runner absolutely right. She has a tendency to go overboard at number of times, as seen massively in Choked or at places in Bombay Begums. Here too it happens a couple of times, but very briefly, as for most part of her presence on screen, she is really good. Wish there was more of her in the film’s second half.
The one who stays on throughout though in practically every scene is Kartik Aaryan and it is amazing to see how he completed the film in just 10 days. I tend to believe that there may have been intensive off the camera rehearsals and workshops prior to the shoot kickstart. However if that’s not the case and the actor just got into the act impromptu then that’s truly amazing since there is no false note. He brings in the sarcasm to begin with, gets scared, gets offensive, gets retrospective, gets remorseful, gets defeated and gets emotions at times but what he never does is leave the side of Arjun Mathur. Truly an award winning performance.
To support him, there is Mrunal Thakur giving a decent performance in a supporting role and Vishwajeet Pradhan getting into a one note performance of a politician’s aid. Then there is Vikas Kumar who played a gay ACP in Aarya and now returns for the filmmaker’s Dhamaka as an officer from the counter terrorism unit. All of them fit into their part fine. Soham Majumdar is just about fair as the antagonist, though the voice of the man who is heard from the other side of the phone is truly fantastic. It adds tension to the narrative.
Tense – That’s the way Dhamaka stays on throughout and Ram Madhvani does exceedingly well to keep the momentum on right from the first till the last scene. Technically, he keeps the film quite polished, be it the set design, background score, editing, lighting and shot taking, hence engrossing the viewer into the scene. Rest is taken care of by Kartik Aaryan who ensures that he holds the attention of the audience right through with a performance which is his career best.