Dhamaka Movie Review: Kartik Aaryan surprises, shocks & enthralls in riveting & watchable thriller

Ram Madhvani's 'Dhamaka' cruises in a countdown way. With Kartik Aaryan in the lead, the film builds up an exciting, jam-packed drama that tells a vital story of a struggling common man, journalism, politics, and how a couple of fateful calls in the midst of an ordinary day turn out to be a scary affair in Mumbai.

Vaishali Jain Vaishali Jain
Updated on: November 19, 2021 14:05 IST
Poster of Dhamaka featuring Kartik Aaryan

Poster of Dhamaka featuring Kartik Aaryan

Photo:NETFLIX
  • Movie Name:Dhamaka
  • Critics Rating: 3.5 / 5
  • Release Date: Nov 11, 2021
  • Director: Ram Madhvani
  • Genre: Thriller

It wouldn't be wrong to say that Ram Madhvani is a man you can trust when it comes to exploring the best in his actors. Sonam Kapoor starrer Neerja is touted as her career-best performance and Sushmita Sen's web show Aarya is said to be a game-changer for the actress. All of these can be assumed for Kartik Aaryan's Dhamaka too. The film comes across as an opportunity for the actor to fracture the fetters of the whimsical roles that he is identified for. Dhamaka's Arjun Pathak gives him a possibility to explicate to the audience his range as an actor who's fitted for not only reciting long and hilarious monologues but presenting a character that is gritty, tense and has merit. 

Ram Madhvani's 'Dhamaka' cruises in a countdown way. The congenial bustling builds up an exciting, jam-packed drama that tells a vital story of a struggling common man, journalism, politics, and how a couple of fateful calls in the midst of an ordinary day turn out to be a scary affair in Mumbai.

A big shot anchor who's been on top of his game for five years is demoted to be a radio jockey. He discovers he's been rigged with a bomb after a terrorist who blew up the Sea Link calls him up. He is flabbergasted but he sees an opportunity, an exclusive interview that nobody has and which can give him space back. He seizes it to recover his career.

Here, Kartik Aaryan’s character appears to be morally compromised by his judgment to take benefit of the terrorist, but he’s possibly the most naïve here – never sufficiently understanding the outcomes or even contemplating the consequences. He couldn't deem that he could be as used and tricked by his associates, police and the government, who reckon his life even less than he does others. 

A mounting sense of escalation persists throughout Dhamaka. the Sea Link blows up, casualties happen and short timelines imposed by the attacker adds up to the existing tension. And the anxiety gets more critical and agitated as time goes on. Dhamaka succeeds in keeping situations grim and tense, despite a change in the degree of danger. We're regularly warned that innocent are likely to die any moment which kind of instils frustration as to why nothing is happening to save them. I was thumped by the clock near Kartik's desk that keeps reminding of the tickling time we have until the next deadline arrives. It builds to a curiously anarchic climax that we don't expect from a Bollywood film. It's a frightening situation to be in. Your only console is to know that this is just a film.

Retaining the account inside the confines of Arjun Pathak’s radio studio come makeshift newsroom set, Dhamaka succeeds in keeping the narrative taut. Your only escape to the outside world is the newsroom's window and the in-house monitors that update us about the chaos of the attack. Things appear more realistic as the camera steadily moves with handheld techniques. Madhvani deserves credit for holding his ground turf and resisting to step outside of the newsroom to make things more ambitious.

The whole pressure to escalate the film lies on Kartik Aaryan's shoulder and he does an impeccable job. When he's ambitious you could see it in him but when he realises he has lost control, you empathise with his nervous energy and anxiety. He has Amruta Subhash to his side, who is his boss and only cares about TRPs. Just like Sacred Games, she leaves an impact here too. Whereas for Mrunal Thakur, she brings out the vulnerable side of Arjun Pathak, which makes Kartik Aaryan's character an inch relatable.

Amit Trivedi's Khoya Paaya is a song that helps build the mood for this triller and a melody that you'd want to hear on quiet evenings. The film also has Prateek Kuhad's Kasoor.

Dhamaka delivers all the kicks and tension one could anticipate from a movie about domestic terrorism. And as good as Kartik Aaryan is in this film, it's certainly the more prominent themes of cynicism and scepticism that makes Dhamka watchable. It is a kind of film that proves a story doesn't need grand scale conspiracy theories when the most explicit example for how the powerful impression the underprivileged is right in front of us.

The flix can be streamed on Netflix.