Picture Post-Mortem: Dhanak

I have caught almost every latest Shah Rukh Khan film in their very first shows. Or latest, the second screening of the day. A few other big budget movies might have pulled me in, on their previews or initial days, but that’s a happening so rare, that I don’t remember them right now. I’ll remember Dhanak.

I saw Dhanak’s trailer a few months ago. Will it turn out to be another I am Kalam or Nanhe Jaisalmer, I questioned myself. But I was intrigued nonetheless and decided to watch it in the theater whenever it arrives. Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and backed by a production house which has Masaan and Aankhon Dekhi to its credit, my faith was strengthened.

I went in with my family. First day, second show. 8.40 pm. Almost every multiplex with all their gigantic projection system, caramel popcorn combos and glittery lounges apparently believed this movie to have a minimal run. There were very few showtimes to choose from. And the theaters might be correct, sadly. Our auditorium had 25% occupancy by generous estimates. I stopped counting people as the lights went dim, and my attention was taken over by the screen – for the next 1 hour 57 minutes.

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Dhanak tells the story of two children – a blind boy, Chhotu, and his elder sister Pari. Chhotu is a Salman Khan fan and Pari is a Shah Rukh Khan Fan. The two mock-fight for the supremacy over each of their favorite stars and their stories bind their time together. Pari wishes for his brother to see once again. She comes across a poster for eye-donation which has Shah Rukh Khan’s endorsement. After getting to know that the star is on Rajasthan – some 300 kms away, though – to shoot for a film, Pari leaves on foot with this brother. The agenda? To meet the star and request him to help his brother get back his eyesight.

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The journey is indeed long through the arid regions, but a mix of music and sprinkle of myriad characters along their way keeps the story flowing really well. The ‘Duma-dum Mast Kalandar’ rendition in the movie is bound to give goosebumps.

The story has no great arc to talk about. The side characters just come and go like props, and seldom affect the larger story-line. But, I believe, that lends itself to a simplistic, realistic beauty. You forgive the cinematic flaws for the warmth the two characters bring to the screen.

Dhanak, which means rainbow, is a soft story of hope and the power it could lend itself to. This is beautifully painted on the canvas of Dor, in the colours of Iqbal. This picture is worth cherishing.

Go on this journey to find your rainbow.

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