On very few occasions do you come across a film which is made to make you happy, on the whole. The basic point of the film is to keep you smiling throughout, sometimes even after you leave the hall. Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak anagrams to this, a heartening piece of cinema which bowls you over with its towering levels of innocence and reality.
Dhanak is carried forward by two small at size, big at heart kids, known as Pari and Chotu. While the former is a responsible little girl, the latter is a chatterbox, who has lost his eyesight due to an avoidable mishap in the family. Keeping things cute and kiddish without being overly pretentious, Nagesh takes us on an unforgettable journey with the two kids, who travel across the state to meet one special person and ask for his aid.
The most beautiful aspect of Dhanak is the excellent writing, which connects very quickly, taking you back to your childhood days in a flash. From the word go, the film is belted with lovely moments to cherish, where you cannot help but go ‘aww’. On their journey together, Pari and Chotu come across a flurry of interesting characters, both good and bad. Every single person manages to leave an impact, be it a small role or a big one. My favorite ones however, are the superb episode with Douglas Adams – the foreigner and Badrinath – the truck driver who doesn’t even bag a line of dialogue.
Krish Chabbria, the little kid who plays Chotu is a live wire. Taking Bhai’s side against his sister who loves SRK, he puts up an exuberant show with a special mention to his blind act which turns out to be something you’d overlook while falling for his mischief. The little girl Pari is an exact depiction of maturity blended with beauty, tucking in a ton of morals into the film. Watch out for some wondrous scenes such as their conversation while biting on a roti, the twist with the truth-spitting grandma and the hilarious scene between Chotu and his new-found friend which will surely have you in splits.
Dhanak is also splendidly shot throughout Rajasthan, with bright visuals and some simple but effective musical cues.
Above all, here is a film which brings some much needed realizations to the fore. Trust, goodness, peace and kindness are all simple messages that are nuanced into the screenplay. It deserves your eyes for all these reasons. And more. Take a bow, Nagesh Kukunoor.
Verdict: Enchanting piece of cinema. A must watch.
4 / 5