Dunki Review - May not work like a charm but works nevertheless!

PUBLISHED DATE : 22/Dec/2023

Dunki Review - May not work like a charm but works nevertheless!

Dunki Review - May not work like a charm but works nevertheless!

Bharath Vijayakumar


In Rajkumar Hirani’s Dunki, Shah Rukh Khan plays Hardy (Hardayal Singh Dhillon), a soldier who comes to a town to thank someone who was his saviour once. He isn’t able to do it. But he gets to play saviour to a few folks who are looking to move to a foreign soil for better economic opportunities. Hardy comes as a guest but stays on for a very long time. The film itself is about hosts, guests and boundaries.


In Dunki, Rajkumar Hirani wants to talk about man-made boundaries and how the poor aren’t welcome anywhere. In his typical stye, Dunki too is a concoction of drama, humour and emotions. Hirani’s style isn’t subtle. The pitch is always high, be it the humour or the emotions. But they usually work in the kind of world that he sets his films in and whenever this mix is seamless, the results show. In Dunki, he employs similar methods and the results? Well, they do work but do they work as well as you would have liked?


The major issue I had with the film is that the scenes set around the core theme of the film feel contrived. Take what happens with the character of Vicky Kaushal for instance. It has to do with getting a girl married to someone else other than the person she is in love with and with the fact that the person she marries isn’t a good guy. Well, there is a London connection but that isn’t the main reason for what happens. So, when Vicky laments about the Visa process, it actually does feel like misplaced anger. And for a film that talks about how it is the poor of every country who face issues, isn’t it hypocritical to be laughing at a ‘poor white skinny guy’ and projecting as though having to kiss him is a bigger issue than being shot while crossing borders. In a dumb comedy movie, maybe you can just have a laugh without too much thought. But for a film that is supposedly addressing discrimination issues and showing people being killed, this mix doesn’t sit well.


Some of the jokes really work. The ‘talk about a topic for 2 minutes’ is the best of the lot. Then there is a running gag about a woman and her pants. The emotions too work but more like on and off. It is definitely melodramatic at places and it also definitely feels contrived a whole lot of times. But it does work effectively at some crucial places. While the sensibilities feel like they would belong more easily to the 90s, the fact that we see lesser films of this kind recently helps. And most of the plot does actually happen in the 90s. The acting all round is pretty good but the make up for the elder Shah Rukh Khan does feel odd at times.



Dunki’s mix of humour and emotions isn’t always seamless but the film remains effective if you don’t mind the kind of pitch it operates on. It ought to have been a lot better but when almost all star vehicles are high octane actioners, Dunki’s old school entertainment works despite not working like a charm!


Rating: 3/5

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