Truth is one thing, news is another — this is a cynical rant that we hear around newsrooms around the world. In effect, this line describes what Dhamaka is all about. The thriller is an official remake of the 2013 Korean film The Terror Live. It paints an unflattering picture of news channels. Dhamaka tells you that news is a drug and the different channels fight turf wars, like the mafia, to get the bigger piece of action.
Radio talk-show anchor Arjun Pathak (Kartik Aryan) gets a call from a man claiming he’s planted a bomb on the Mumbai Sea Link. Arjun cuts the call thinking he’s dealing with a prankster and the caller, angered, triggers off the bomb. A large portion of the bridge collapses and several commuters are left stranded on it. The caller calls back saying he wants an apology from the government for the death of three workers who were killed repairing the bridge some time ago. Arjun’s boss Ankita Malaskar (Amruta Subhash), who only cares for TRPs, converts the radio room into a TV studio as she wants to milk the situation for everything it’s worth. She even agrees to Arjun’s demands that he’ll be reinstated back on TV. He was removed from being a prime time anchor because of an unsavoury incident. His personal life too is in doldrums as his marriage with news reporter Soumya Mehra Pathak (Mrunal Thakur) is on the verge of divorce. Arjun feels that if successfully negotiates with the terrorist on live TV, he’ll be called a hero and will get another chance to get his career and life back. But as the minutes roll by, he comes to know how ruthless his profession can be. His bosses don’t care about the loss of human life and the police and the political system just want to save their own asses. The only person true to her calling is his wife, who has landed there as a journalist but lends a hand during the rescue operations. Seeing her going beyond the call of duty helps him come to terms with his own shallow nature and helps procure a change of heart. He also realises he’s as much a victim of the system as the terrorist who has planted the bombs…
The film was reportedly shot in 11 days, and that’s some kind of a record. That said, if you look closely, the environs of the film remind you of a film set. The CGI too could have been better. Ram Madhwani has given us the gripping hostage drama Neerja (2016) and he returns back to a somewhat similar milieu in Dhamaka. He’s made some intelligent casting choices indeed. Amruta Subhash is chillingly accurate in her portrayal of a corporate head honcho who only cares for profits. Her confrontation scenes with Kartik are gripping indeed. Mrunal Thakur too gets a short but meaty role of a dedicated journalist who still believes in the truth. She’s the emotional anchor of sorts of the film and we wish we saw more of her. But the boldest casting choice is that of Kartik Aaryan. The actor is known for doing rom coms and is called a monologue expert in the industry. Madhvani made him break the envelope and bring his vulnerabilities to the core. It takes him a while to get in the groove but as the film progresses, Kartik shows his emotive range. You see him change from being a cynical news anchor to someone who becomes the victim of the monster he helped create. It’s a new Kartik Aaryan we’re seeing here and we hope he takes more risks like these in future.
Trailer : Dhamaka
TNN, December 9, 2019, 7:28 PM IST