Dhaakad (2022 / Action Thriller/ Cinema release)
A deadly agent Agni (Kangana) is out against human traffickers Rudraveer (Arjun) and Rohini (Divya).
Writer/ Director – Razneesh Razy Ghai
Cast – Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal, Divya Dutta, Saswata Chatterjee, Sharib Hashmi
Though this industry in India seems to be actually ruled by star power, I have always believed that a film is only as much as its maker is.
Writing and direction are the most important aspects for me and the reason that I have always written their credits above the cast in my reviews.
And sadly those are the aspects that pull back this otherwise “could have been great” film that boasts of so many ‘firsts’.
It is refreshing and impressive to see a hardcore action thriller with a woman protagonist who doesn’t share the centerstage or glory with any male partner, a heroine who does not get any help from a knight in shining armour at any point of time, a heroine who is beaten to pulp with as much rigour as a hero would have been.
The film is an absolute smack in the face of male dominated action genre in our industry. Aptly named Agni, Kangana is absolutely on fire.
What she does share in appreciable proportion is footage with her other two leads, Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta. They both get a fair share of focus and together, the trio pitch in good performances.
Kangana showcases commendable action chops with many high voltage action sequences. She looks in great form and quite at ease.
Arjun Rampal looks menacing and uses his raspy baritone to the best.
Divya Dutta looks absolutely smashing as the loathsome human trafficker.
Saswata Chatterjee and Sharib Hashmi lend good support.
But what holds back these actors from delivering better and what holds back these performances from pushing the film higher is shoddy writing and direction.
When the film begins with a terrific action sequence, it looks as promising as the the trailer was. But then you see the film gradually descending. Despite extreme violence, blood, gore and darkness, I surprisingly failed to feel fear. A disjointed screenplay which kept delivering one sequence after another failed to make any emotional connect. Lack of good music did not help either. That irritating and repeated lullaby did get on the nerves though.
I couldn’t help compare this with another film with human trafficking at its core – Mardaani. At many points it had spent chills down the spine. And what a superb menacing act by Tahir Raj Bhasin without any gory violence.
Kangana and her action remains the main reason that makes it worth your while. Dialogues by Ritesh Shah also helped us in dreary phases and gave that much needed stimuli at regular intervals.
But in the last act, the film goes totally downhill and haywire.
Tired and glad that it was over, I left the cinema totally heartbroken to see a potentially stylish and slick action film being let down by bad script and direction.
I could prompt Kangana fans to go and watch. She will make it worth your while.
I could possibly expect action junkies to try this one.
Rest to take their own call.
Score 2 on 5