Starring Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal, Divya Dutta, Saswata Chatterjee
Directed by Razneesh Ghai
Don’t let those pouty reviews about no-substance-all-style discourage you. Dhaakad is a killer of an actioner. Its fights are so furious I could feel the bone crunching and the teeth smashing against righteously aggressive fists of fury.
And besides what substance did Hum ….Aapke Hain Koun boast of? Not that I am comparing the two. But Dhaakad too relies almost entirely on treatment and execution. And kudos to debut director Razneesh Ghai for making the violence look so dirgefully dynamic; the bloodshed feels like a blizzard of remorse showered on an unrepentant conscience.
Gory? Yes! Violent? Of course! We live in a violent world where an eye for an eye is not enough. It’s more like a limb for an eye. Seeing Kangana in the killer mode is reward enough for all the time we’ve had to bear with inept female heroes taking revenge on all mankind for wrong done.
Dhaakad is slyly slick, and remorselessly violent. It sticks to the point. And gets to brass tacks immediately. Kangana playing a spy named Agnee is assigned by her boss(the very capable Saraswat Chatterjee) to extract a human trafficker/drug dealer Rudraveer from his hideout.
As played by Arjun Rampal, Rudraveer is a ruthless rogue, an evil unscrupulous son of a gun who lives by the nozzle and dies by it. Arjun sports two completely different looks, one for his past (in vivid black and white) showing his beginnings as a criminal, and the other for the present where he resembles a murderous monk.And if that sounds like a contradiction in terms, so be it.
Who said life is easy? It is anything but that for Agnee who has graphic memories of her gruesome past. Redemption comes in the form of a little girl whom Agnee must save to save herself.
I wish the narrative had devoted a little more time in developing the bonding between the aloof Agni and the friendly beautiful little girl. Dhaakad is a film in a hurry. It moves breathlessly from one fabulously-staged fight to another almost daring us to exhale. There is no time or space for anything but vendetta in Agnee’s ravaged life.
While Kangana and Arjun Rampal roar in brilliance as adversaries there are three other stand-out performances by Divya Dutta, Saraswat Chatterjee and the underrated Sharib Hashmi.
But the real star of the show after Kangana and Rampal is cinematographer Tetsuo Nagata. Even when the frames ooze blood Nagata makes the film look like poetry in commotion.