A discredited television anchor receives a phone call that may either save or destroy his career. The enraged speaker on the other end of the line has just blown up Mumbai’s crucial sea-link bridge during a live broadcast and is threatening more mayhem if his demands are not satisfied. And that’s Dhamaka for y’all.
This version of Kim Byung-The woo’s Terror Live is about corruption and apathy (2013). Dhamaka, directed by Ram Madhvani, follows the same beats and turns as the South Korean film, but with one key distinction. The fish has decayed at the head in the disturbing source material. Dhamaka, a Netflix original, tamely settles for the tail.
Watch the trailer of Dhamaka here:
Arjun, played by Kartik Aaryan, is a news anchor who engages in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with the bomber in order to restore his career and increase his network’s ratings. Arjun keeps the caller on the line, encouraged by his cynical supervisor Ankita (Amruta Subhash), only for the caller to watch in horror as he pulls off one prank after another. Saumya, Arjun’s ex-wife, is in one of them (Mrunal Thakur).
Praveen (Vikas Kumar), a member of the counter-terrorism team, enters the studio to calm things down. Ankita issues the commands that make the difference between a regular live broadcast and a blockbuster one. Increase the volume of the depressing music! Capture the attention of the audience!
In Love Aaj Kal, Kartik played a nervous protagonist (2020). The meltdowns feel more real this time, because it’s a thriller. Arjun mediates a call between a government official and the caller at the studio, and he freaks out the entire time: a humorous, yet terrifying portrayal of an anchor on the verge of a mental breakdown. In the part, Kartik is both effective and entertaining. However, there are times when it appears that showboating is appropriate. When confronted with a threat, Arjun moves and squirms in his chair. Amruta’s attitude is diametrically opposed to that of the police officer who has just entered the room.
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Moreover, Dhamaka plays with the notion that news gathering is fraught with drama.
However, as a work of fiction, the film could have made a stronger case for this thesis by avoiding the manipulations it is attempting to expose. It is never the case. Instead, the music features Prateek Kuhad, with a heartstring-tugging flashback towards the climax. It’s amusing to see Bollywood get a chance to talk someone down and completely blow it.