A Hedonistic Cocktail Of Numerous Thrillers
Dhamaka is loosely based on the South Korean thriller The Terror Lives but to be honest, it feels more like a hedonistic cocktail of numerous other thrillers too. There are echoes of Nightcrawler, The Guilty, Money Monster and Phone Booth here, and like those movies, a lot of the believability rests squarely on the shoulders of the actor in the driving seat.
For Dhamaka, that falls to Kartik Aaryan, who does a pretty good job as a disgruntled radio host who’s dying to get back on TV again. Spiraling from a divorce to his ex Saumya (who also happens to be working as an anchor at the same TV studio, go figure!) Arjun’s life is a mess.
One day at work, he receives a call from a disgruntled caller called Raghubeer. This manual laborer is unhappy about his living conditions and hits Arjun with a startling revelation – he’s about to detonate a bomb.
Scoffing at his threat, Arjun – and the rest of the network at large – find their worlds turned upside down when the Sea-Link blows up. This happens to be a stretch of road across the river, and as thick plumes of black smoke rise in the air, Arjun finds himself at the mercy of this madman.
What ensues from here is a game of cat and mouse, as the network scramble to trace the origin of this call while Arjun keeps the bomber busy. With rival networks snapping at their heels too, desperate for an exclusive scoop, Arjun tries to navigate this difficult minefield before it’s too late.
All of this builds up to a third act that tries to give a bombastic pay-off to everything but to be honest, it comes as silly, melodramatic and completely out of character. I won’t spoil what happens but the ending almost breaks the entire film.
It’s a shame too because the careful tension and atmospheric pressure early on is beautifully handled. Sure, there’s a couple of contrived segments and a few unnecessary slow-mo shots, but on the whole Dhamaka works well to channel the core of what makes these tense thrillers so damn appealing.
This is an adrenaline-soaked thriller through and through, and given the entire project was completed in 10 days, that’s pretty damn impressive for what’s here. Some of the visual effects are a bit hit or miss, but to be honest those are superficial elements to the film’s story.
Less difficult to overlook though is some of the acting. A few of the supporting cast are not great with their line delivery and a few of the key characters here just feel archetypal and underdeveloped. The end reveal and the last-minute twist for example, come across as completely half-baked and are in desperate need of further development to foreshadow this through the early parts of the movie.
If you can overlook the rather silly ending and a few production woes, Dhamaka is actually a pretty enjoyable thriller. It’s definitely a good way of filling 90 minutes and the movie constantly ramps up the tension so you’ll never be left bored. Dhamaka refuses to relinquish its grip through much of the film’s run-time.
There’s a consistency to Dhamaka too that’s actually pretty admirable given how quickly everything was put together. It certainly doesn’t feel like a last-minute hack-job and Dhamaka holds up pretty well next to other thrillers of its kind. It’s definitely a little rough around the edges but if you’re in the mood for a simple but effective drama, you should find enough to like here.
Read More: Dhamaka Ending Explained
Verdict - 6/10