Dunki Movie Review
Dunki marks the collaboration of two of Indian cinema’s biggest forces – superstar Shah Rukh Khan and master director Rajkumar Hirani. This social comedy-drama revolves around the sensitive topic of illegal immigration or the ‘Donkey Flight’ method.
The film follows a motley gang from Punjab featuring Taapsee Pannu, Anil Grover, Vikram Kochhar and Vicky Kaushal who nurture dreams of settling in London.
After failing to clear English language tests required for a visa, they decide to take the illegal route facilitated by SRK’s character Hardy Singh. What follows next is their tumultuous but entertaining journey across borders.
Hirani is known for his strong screenwriting that relies on humour and simplistic storytelling to drive home a larger message. Dunki also banks heavily on comedy and witty dialogues to engage viewers in the first half.
Scenes like the English coaching classroom, the visa rejection interviews and the lead stars’ comic timing garner maximum laughs. The director’s writing shines as he manages to bring levity to a serious subject.
Shah Rukh Khan slips into his lover boy charm effortlessly while also portraying angst effectively as a helplessly hopeful illegal immigrant. His courtroom breakdown scene reminds us why he isn’t just a star but also a skilful actor. Taapsee Pannu delivers a fiery performance and shares crackling chemistry with SRK.
The film benefits tremendously from Vicky Kaushal’s volatile act to the comic highs of Anil Grover and Vikram Kochhar.
However, the screenplay loses steam post interval. Dunki starts meandering once the key characters are stranded in the desert. The emotional resonance that Hirani wonderfully built in the first half goes missing. The climax is disappointing without the gut-wrenching impact expected from the filmmaker. Certain scenes feel manipulative in wanting to evoke only tears.
The production design convincingly captures the colours of Punjab, beauty of London and bleakness of desert land. But the VFX work in some scenes seems sub-par for a film of this scale. The music by Pritam sets the right tone but is not exceptionally memorable.
On the whole, while Dunki has an interesting concept about illegal human trafficking, the execution is not completely satisfying. The humour lands perfectly but the emotionally heavy scenes don’t achieve the desired effect.
It has its fair share of entertaining and poignant moments, but eventually feels like the Rajkumar Hirani is missing his own high standards. For Shah Rukh Khan, it caps off a stellar year, further cementing his undisputed legendary status. Dunki ends up as a decent watch but not an outright slam dunk that hits the ball out of the park.