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Dunki – a heart-touching tale of immigrants fails to make its mark

Dunki Review

Dunki Review – Shah Rukh Khan starrer Dunki has its moments, but falls short of Raj Kumar Hirani’s magic, writes Rajeshwari Kalyanam

Dunki is the illegal route – the donkey route that immigrants take to gain entry into a country as a last resort when nothing else works – and it is a dangerous route. And, yet many choose Dunki as they hold a burning desire to go to certain countries in order to pursue dreams, earn money and mostly to make a life which is perceived to be better than the home country – a trend often seen in developing countries.

The story & Cast

Shah Rukh Khan starrer Dunki is about this undying desire of these three people from a small village in interior Punjab, Laltu, who see going to London as a solution to all their problems. For Manu Randhawa (Taapsee Pannu) it is her way of earning in pounds in order to get her house back, for Buggu (Vikram Kochhar) it is the only way he can earn enough to make his mother, who works as a security guard ‘wearing pants’, retire; and Balli (Anil Grover) sees this as the solution to his mother’s hard work and hopes she will get to rest if he starts earning. They are neither educated nor have the money to get a visa. Then there is Sukhi (Vicky Kaushal) whose only wish is to visit London to bring back his married girl friend in trouble back to India – but he too is denied a visa as he does not know to speak English.

Standing as a support in their often-failing endeavours is Hardy (Shahrukh Khan) ex-soldier who also falls in love with Manu, and together they devise a way to gain entry into London through illegal means. Manu, Buggu and Balli do manage to stay in London except for Hardy – only to find themselves stuck in a life not truly as rosy as they dreamed, and unable to return. Dunki is the story of how they manage to come back with the help of the hero. Along side it is also an emotional love story and a story of love for country – all packaged into one long film.

Raj Kumar Hirani – the Director with a Heart

Raj Kumar Hirani is a director with a heart. His movies bring to the audience slice of life & while doing so also mirror the society for its good, bad and ugly. With Dunki too, the writer, director weaved a story that is straight out of life.

Not long past, we saw in the news how hundreds of students stranded on the streets of Canada fighting as they were found not eligible to stay and study as their documents were found to be fake. Not to mention millions of illegal immigrants – who take dangerous routes and not all make it to the land of their dreams (the director shows real-life picture montages towards the end of the film that are heartrending – and are the inspiration behind Dunki’s story).

While making Dunki too, the director has had his heart in the right place, as he showcases the hardships faced by the immigrants who do not have the money or source to get a valid Visa, but nevertheless harbour an undying, often irrantional desire to go to London – in this case. However, the heart misses a beat during many instances.

The Verdict

While there are several moments in the movie that are touching and endearing – they are ever so fleeting that they hardly manage to make an impact. The screenplay hurries through the emotional scenes and romantic moments so much that except for a handful – there are hardly any scenes that you take home – this is despite brilliant performances by the cast, especially Shahrukh Khan.

The result of it is that – it fails to connect with the audience, and the flat and linear story telling hardly leaves scope for enough highs to make it memorable film. That the film starts with the now older Manu, Buggu and Balli who are making plans to return to India – does not leave much for imagination during the rest of the film.

The film majorly falls short of Raj Kumar Hirani magic. Music & score elevate the scenes but again, there are hardly any songs you hum as you get out of the theatres.

That said Dunki is a good watch – has its endearing scenes, emotional scenes that elicit a tear or two, and the dialogues that lend themselves to funny moments. It surely deserves a watch, and every Indian family who has someone abroad hoping to make it big will relate to it at one level or the other.

Dunki Review –

Rating: 2.5




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