Film Review: Dhamaka (Blast)

Film Review: Dhamaka (Blast)
Courtesy: Netflix

Starring: Kartik Aryan, Amruta Subhash, Mrunal Thakur, Vikas Kumar, Vishwajeet Pradhan

Director: Ram Madhvani

Bollywood adaptations of Korean thrillers have been quite popular in the past. This new Netflix release – based on the 2013 film ‘The Terror Live’ – follows that trend and is set against the backdrop of India’s 24/7 news feed culture.

Arjun Pathak (Aryan) is a jaded radio news anchor for a major Indian media house, who is struggling to come to terms with his impending divorce from wife and fellow journalist Soumya Mehra Pathak (Thakur). We discover the factors behind the couple’s separation gradually as the film unfolds, with Arjun unexpectedly finding himself in what could be the biggest scoop of his journalistic career.

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A mystery voice rings into his radio show for the channel named Bharosa 24/7, or Confidence 24/7, which goes by the tagline of “speaking only the truth”. The mystery voice tells Arjun of a plan to trigger serial blasts across a major landmark bridge of the city of Mumbai. After his initial scepticism and dismissive reaction to the threat, Arjun quickly realises he’s on to something big that he could manipulate in his favour with his boss Ankita (Subhash). He wangles himself a prime-time slot on air on the back of this major blasts exclusive and begins coordinating with the “terrorist” behind the untraceable phone calls.

Will Arjun be successful in talking the mystery caller away from the edge of disaster or will the blasts end up claiming innocent lives?

This thriller has its fair share of gripping moments, as one would expect from a film based around a terror plot unfolding live on people’s screens and airwaves. However, what is sorely missing is some well-crafted dialogues and solid performances to bring the high drama of the script to life.

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Though the film fails to strike the right level of intensity or thrill, what it does successfully portray is India’s obsessive 24/7 media race among television channels more concerned with outdoing the competition that bringing facts to light.

“It’s not the truth, it’s news” is the punch line that hits the perfect note in an otherwise lacklustre film. This fictional tale of television news in India, keen on grabbing the ratings with a facts-be-damned and whatever sells attitude, proves disturbingly close to reality.

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