Starring: Kartik Aaryan, Mrunal Thakur and Amruta Subhash
Director: Ram Madhavani
Journalists and news anchors, especially, are often accused (and rightly so, in many cases) of not being in touch with the on-ground realities. They are questioned for their holier-than-thou approach, which is often biased and only exists to hide the true intentions of the news anchors and the channels they work fork for – increasing the TRPs.
Netflix’s recently released film ‘Dhamaka’, directed by Ram Madhavani, is a movie that does exactly that, as it attempts to expose the lack of empathy and single-minded approach (to get more TRP) of these media houses and big journalists, who cleverly disguise it as some sort of truth-seeking journey, they are on.
Kartik Aaryan, plays that big journalist, Arjun Pathak, winning the best news anchor, always running after the truth, or at least pretending to do so. While doing that, however, he is accused of corruption, and also is on the verge of finalising a divorce with his wife, Saumya Mehra Pathak. He has also lost his most treasured achievement so far – being the prime-time news anchor for a popular channel and is now reduced to hosting a radio show for the same news channel.
But one day, as it always happens in the movies, chance knocks, or in this case reaches out to him via the telephone, where a poor labrourer, stars complaining about the tax system, and how the poor are neglected by the rich and the government. He threatens Pathak, that if he too doesn’t take him seriously, he will blast the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai. Obviously, the threat isn’t taken seriously and isn’t even forwarded to the police, and so the caller does what he forewarned he’d do.
Thus begins this game, of Pathak trying to locate the caller and find out his true identity, as he tries to also use this opportunity, to get back to the prime-time slot, and maybe, find a way to rekindle his romance back with his estranged wife.
While all of this seems like a really credible plot, which will keep you on the edge of the seat, the thrills don’t last for the entirety, with some really obvious gaping errors in the plot, and the overall assumed generalised view of the media industry functions, with TV producers literally at the head of their journalists saying they want nothing, but TRPs.
While anyone from the world of journalism will tell you that it is true, they will also tell you, that it is not said out this clearly or loudly, and that at the end of the day there is a realisation around the consequences around such discussions, even though there is a desperate lack of empathy in such situations.
Kartik Aaryan fails to convince anyone he is a journalist, let alone the fact that he is a prime-time journalist, who has won the award of the best news anchor three times in a row. At times, it looks like he is trying to remember his lines, rather than reading them off the tele prompter, as most news anchors do. There are moments, however, where he shines, like the one where he realises that, the news channel he is working for doesn’t care about anything, but their popularity and the numbers.
However, these moments are so far apart, that as a viewer it will be difficult to get enamoured by his character’s personality on screen, and you’d probably think that his fate in the end was justified, not because of the film’s script, but because he is not a good journalist.
'Dhamaka', it is safe to say, fails to keep the audiences engrossed for its run time of over 100 minutes. It won’t be cheesy to say that it begins with a bang, but ends with a whimper.