Dhamaka from Ram Madhvani is a film that is taking a lot of effort to feel like a sensible thriller. On paper, this adaptation of the 2013 Korean movie The Terror Live looks intriguing. But when it comes to the film, Ram Madhvani can’t really give enough space for the moral conflict of the hero. Thus it feels like an ambitious idea that needed some more drafts of writing. The duration is only 104 minutes, so this Kartik Aaryan starrer is not a dragger at any point.

Arjun Pathak was a celebrated journalist who got demoted to a usual radio jockey after some work-related accusations were made against him. One day while he was hosting the radio show, he got a call from a terrorist who said he would blow up the Mumbai sea link. And just when Arjun thought it was a prank call, the terrorist actually blew the bridge. Instead of reporting it to the police, Arjun Pathak decides to use it to gain his prime-time host spot. The negotiation talks between Arjun and the terrorist to save the people’s lives on the sea link is what we see in Dhamaka.

The script here wants to communicate too many things within a limited time. The terrorist has a backstory. Arjun Pathak’s demotion had a solid reason. His personal life is also going through a difficult phase. The premise is airtight with drama. But somewhere, the intrigue you sense gets lost in the visual translation. The over-emphasis on the ethical side of Arjun’s job kind of overshadows the central conflict, the motive of the terrorist. Logically also the movie doesn’t look solid. There was a good chance to find the terrorist at an early point, and there were ample ways for the terrorist to check whether Arjun Pathak was lying or not. But I think Madhvani wants to believe that the audience won’t think logically due to the on-screen chaos.

As Arjun Pathak, Kartik Aaryan gets an opportunity to move away from his stereotypical roles. I wouldn’t say he presented a different version in front of the camera. But it felt like an audition tape to be more of an actor than a star. Amruta Subhash, as Arjun’s boss, manages to embody the TRP greed of a channel head. Mrunal Thakur, in her special appearance as Saumya, was good. Vikas Kumar, who was there in Madhvani’s Aarya, also gets a role in this thriller.

As I said, the idea looks compelling on paper. You have a grey-shaded hero who is dealing with a ticking time bomb scenario. His lack of ethics is making the situation difficult for him. But the crowdedness of conflicts, that too in a minimal time, ends up being the movie’s weakness. When Arjun Pathak and a rival channel anchor debate about Arjun’s integrity on live TV, you feel like they are pushing the drama way too much; I even thought how people are going to watch a debate where two persons are sitting on two channels. Manu Anand’s cinematography captures the panicky situation very effectively, and even the cuts had that agility to make us feel the tension through which Pathak was going through. The visual effects of the film were also very tidy and smart.

Dhamaka is engaging for sure, primarily because of its pacing structure. But it won’t be able to create the kind of agony it aspires to create. The scale to which the story escalates somewhere demanded a canvas that could accommodate all the branches in the screenplay with equal importance. The climactic moment of the movie needed a better buildup so that one could feel for Arjun Pathak for what he did.

Final Thoughts

The scale to which the story escalates somewhere demanded a canvas that could accommodate all the branches in the screenplay with equal importance.

Movie Signal

Green: Recommended Film

Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films

Red: Not Recommended