Dhaakad review: Kangana Ranaut deserves full marks but even great performances can't salvage jaded script
Dhaakad review: The Kangana Ranaut-starrer has great performances and super action sequences but lacks in a very important department--the storytelling.
Everyone in Dhaakad is trigger-happy and mind you, they rarely miss a shot. There's blood, gore, action, gunshots and characters with their own set of eccentricities, and everyone packs a punch onscreen. But the story appears punctured at several places and it never really elevates to a point that you feel the impact it set out to create. Director Razneesh ‘Razy’ Ghai introduces his protagonist Agent Agni (Kangana Ranaut) early on in the film, even though I still can't wrap my head around that blonde look for her introduction scene. And, she has one more such wild, bizarre and explicit look in the story ahead. Why? I'm still trying to understand. Also read: Dhaakad title song shows Kangana Ranaut’s transformation into ruthless Agent Agni. Watch
Dhaakad revolves around Agni (Kangana)--a special agent with International Task Force, who is assigned the task to eliminate an international human and arms trafficker Rudraveer (Arjun Rampal), who also runs the coal mafia. And during this battle, her tragic childhood past comes back in front of eyes more often that she would want. While Agni is at it, she unearths rather shocking truths about her tragedy and even a link that connects her to Rudraveer.
What bothered me the most while watching Dhaakad is that despite some terrific performances from Kangana, Arjun, Divya and Saswata, the film fails to do justice to their talent. Well etched-out characters are not supported with a story that's even half as good as their parts in the narrative. There are several lose ends that just don't allow things to stick together and everything starts falling apart way too soon.
At 2 hours 10 minutes, the film looks rather stretched with a flashback sequence that repeats itself more number of times than you would open your mouth to finish that bucket of popcorn while watching it. The screen turns black and white each time they want to show something that happened in the past and that somehow didn't look much out of the place.
Kangana once again puts her A-game on and never loses the grip on her character--fierce, feisty and fearless, yet vulnerable where the scenes need her to be. She fights out tough men all alone and not for once looks juvenile, thanks to well-choregraphed action sequences. There's a dialogue in Dhaakad addressed to Agni: “Iske dimaag ki tarah, iska dil bhi khiska hua hai (Like her brain, her heart is also askew),” which invites quite a few claps and cheers.
Arjun Rampal as a menacing baddie is quite convincing. He mercilessly goes on a killing spree for reasons well known to him. A scene where he smears his face in blood after stabbing a guy multiple times, sends chills down your spine. The climax fight between Rudraveer and Agni makes for quite a thrilling watch. Divya Dutta is Rohini, who was forced into tracking as a child. The character stands out and wins you over. She has this evil swag that she carries for most of the scenes and proves why she can pull off any character with equal ease. Saswata Chatterjee as the handler and Sharib Hashmi, the agent working for him, in supporting parts, put up a great show. But again, it's the poor writing that fails them in major portions. Also read: Kangana Ranaut buys Mercedes Maybach worth ₹3.6 cr, jokes about ribbon 'I look like just married'. Watch
The director, who has co-written the story with Chintan Gandhi and Rinish Ravindra with dialogues from Ritesh Shah, should have realised that a female-led action film couldn't work just on that one premise. Great action doesn't always translate into a great film. It needs an equally great story too. There's so much we are left to read between the lines and that, trust me, not all audiences enjoy. Dhaakad, touted to be a female-led film, is mounted on a huge scale and I have no complaints on the technical department, but what about delivering on the content bit too? At many places, Dhaakad appears to be stuck in the 80s and 90s era with tropes of using a child as a shield to trace your enemy looking so stale.
Dhaakad is high on thrill and action, and equally outstanding performances, but by the end of it, you wish half the attention was paid to the story, writing and a convincing narrative too.
Director: Razneesh Ghai
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal, Divya Dutta, Saswata Chatterjee, Sharib Hashmi