Movie Review: Dhanak
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Dhanak” (Rainbow) is a two-year-old film that is releasing in cinemas now after having done the rounds of festivals all over the world. The 106-minute film focuses on siblings Pari and Chotu, who live in a village in Rajasthan with their slacker of an uncle and a wicked aunt — a staple character in old Bollywood movies.
Undeterred by their poor lot in life and Chotu losing his vision due to an illness, the siblings go through life rather cheerfully, bickering over their respective idols Salman and Shah Rukh Khan, watching movies with their uncle and frolicking in the desert.
Determined that Chotu should get his eyesight back, Pari decides only her idol Shah Rukh Khan can find a way to help her brother. When she hears that the actor is filming a movie in Rajasthan, she runs away with Chotu in the middle of the night, convinced that Khan will solve their problems.
Pari and Chotu meet a motley group of characters on the road as they make their way towards their destination. There is a kindly truck driver, a wedding singer and a warm-hearted godwoman. There’s even a jolly American hiker who sings songs about peace and harmony while roaming the arid desert.
Of course, not everyone is a Good Samaritan and the kids do come across obstacles, but even these are so predictable and tired that it is unlikely to move the viewer.
Director Kukunoor spends more time trying to make his protagonists look cute and play to the gallery. And while Pari and Chotu do have their moments, for the most part “Dhanak” comes across as forced and superficial rather than a heartfelt story of two siblings.
Of the cast, Hetal Gada as Pari is superb, playing the exasperated elder sister to the hilt. Krrish Chhabria as Chotu has the glint of mischief in his eyes, but both he and Gada are let down by a middling film that tries too hard.