Thursday, July 7, 2016

Dhanak - Movie Review

Ramaraju and I, planned to watch the movie a week ago. By the time we acted it was out of theatres. Then we suddenly noticed it playing in one theatre and booked ourselves for an afternoon show. He bunked his office. I bunked my work.

'Dhanak' has the classical set up in its story. An eight year old boy (Chotu) who cannot see due to an eye condition, a ten year old sister (Pari) who would do anything for her younger brother including failing for two years so she could help him in his class, an evil step mother and a hen pecked uncle who take care of the kids (obviously not too well) because their parents died in an incident. Into this darkness comes light in the most improbable of ways - a poster featuring Shahrukh Khan advertising eye donation. Pari (older sister) writes letters by the dozen to Shahrukh (c/o Mannat, Mumbai) and when things go from bad to worse, one day decides to take her younger brother to Shahrukh Khan who is shooting for a film in Rajasthan, several hundred miles away. She has promised him that she's get his eyesight back before his next birthday which is now fast approaching - and uncle is doing nothing but make empty promises. A ten year old girl, a blind boy, the desolate desert, the unknown and an improbable dream. Perfect set up.

Will the kid get his eyesight back before his next birthday? Will Shahrukh Khan save him? Will their dreams of watching the dhanak (rainbow) come true? The kids, Hetal Gada as Pari and Krrish Chabria as Chotu, are outstanding. The rest of the movie goes by slickly, a work of a person who knows his craft. Rajasthan looks beautiful. There is hope, there is a rainbow. There is fun.

There are to many positives to harp on what's not there but let me say it - maybe the rainbow could have been brighter if we'd come out of some more darkness. Never in the movie did I feel afraid for the kids - somehow I knew it will be alright. It's not a bad thing to have a stream of good people come by into our lives, but then what would I crib about. I also felt - since he is blind and they would have to deal with the dark anyway - was there not a case for the boy to take care of his sister at night when all is dark and people who see can feel helpless.

But surely, too many pluses in the movie to nitpick on small issues. Maybe there is no place for fear, doubt as the kids show, living on fantasy to hide their reality.

Good to see Nagesh Kukunoor do what he does best. There is an assuredness and confidence to it that makes it all seems solid. This man is back and my guess, is that this time its for good. Go watch - for the hope it epitomises. We all need it.

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