Ram Madhavni’s Dhamaka starring Kartik Aaryan is set out to criticize the problematic side of journalism instead it goes on to become the same.
These days whenever you switch on the TV, you’re accustomed to listening to loud dramatic voices with background music on news channels. A maximum number of news channels showcases the news in a dramatic style. So when in Dhamaka, an anchor and his boss have this exchange, “Anchor kya hota hai? Anchor actor hota hai. Actor ko kya chahiye? Actor ko audience chahiye. Audience ko kya chahiye? Audience ko drama chahiye” it seems like an appropriate description of the Broadcast Journalism of today. The film is eager to criticize the pathetic state of the Indian broadcast media that works at the cost of truth and trust and only runs behind ratings. But unfortunately, this movie falls prey to the same kind of problems it wishes to shine a light on irrespective of good cinematography, and editing.
Dhamaka follows the story of an anchor, Arjun Pathak (Kartik Aaryan) who has been demoted to a position of a radio jockey and is also in the midst of a divorce with his wife, Mrunal Thakur who works as a field reporter. That’s when he gets a call from a random man who confesses that he’s going to blow up Mumbai’s Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Instead of reporting him, Arjun sees this as an opportunity to get back to the spotlight once again and negotiates a deal with his boss aka news producer, Amruta Subash. But this opportunity from a random caller who wants justice and wants the government to apologize ultimately ends up blowing up in Arjun’s face. As the film unfolds there are various truths of life that Arjun has to deal with while being walled in by cameras and a studio. He realizes the value of truth and a simple sorry, and also the fact that he’s just a pawn in a system that is completely rigged.
The entire 160-minutes is filled with metaphors that are quite literal and hold a deeper meaning. From ‘jo bhi kahunga sach kahunga’ , the title of the film, the channel, and the larger context of the movie of being a pawn in a rigged system. And for the most part, the film is able to maintain the palpable tension with its shaky, hand-held shots, and quick cuts of editing. They also show behind the scenes of a newsroom in a very realistic manner just like they do with portraying how the media makes a crisis works in its own favor. But the film is as flawed as the journalistic system is in spite of being a remake of the 2013 South Korean film, The Terror Live. The way they go on and off-air in the film leaves you wondering how primetime really looks on TV. The characters of Amruta Subash and Vikas Kumar are imagined with the right intention but aren’t worked upon enough. And the climax of the film almost ruins the whole experience that the film is taking your through till then because it doesn’t go with the way the entire film has been made.
The film is not unwatchable. It has heart and shows tension in a confined space and its intentions are quite right. But it doesn’t create that impact that Ram Madhvani’s work usually leaves you with. It feels like the film is almost there but it isn’t aware of its full potential. Though it’s quite refreshing to watch Kartik Aaryan stepping out of his usual romantic hero characters and portray the tensions of Arjun Pathak quite well. There have been many recent series like Pataal Lok and Mumbai Diaries 26/11 that have dabbled into exploring the dilemmas of the news-making process and have done it quite well. But in order to represent the fast-paced and opportunistic life of journalism that ends up comprising of facts and truth, the film falls prey to the rigged system it was trying to portray and becomes the same.
But that’s enough from us, here is what the janta is saying about Dhamaka!
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