Dhanak review: Put away your cynicism and take this joyful journey

Release Date: 17 Jun 2016 / Rated: U / 01hr 56min

Suparna Thombare

Director Nagesh Kukunoor is back with a film that makes you feel good about life.

Film: Dhanak (U)
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Producers: Manish Mundra, Elahe Hiptoola, Nagesh Kukunoor
Cast: Hetal Gada, Krrish Chhabria, Vipin Sharma
Music: Tapas Relia
Runtime: 103 minutes
Rating: 4/5

A child's blind faith and idealism can transform even a cynical adult mind. Dhanak takes you on an innocent journey through the harsh desert of life. The film makes you believe there is goodness and magic in this world. 

Dhanak is the story of a 10-year-old girl Pari (Hetal) and her eight-year-old brother Chotu (Krrish), who is blind. The two, after losing their parents in an accident, live with their uncle and aunt. Pari has promised her brother that he will get his sight back before his ninth birthday so he can see ‘Dhanak’ (rainbow) with her. It is one of the most real and heartwarming sibling bonds in Hindi cinema. Nagesh Kukunoor had managed to create a similar brother-sister bond in Iqbal (2005).

Pari and Chotu are huge Bollywood fans – while Pari is a fan of Shah Rukh Khan, Chotu is crazy about Salman Khan. Their constant banter as they fight over who is better – Salman or Shah Rukh – is hilarious. On one of their trips to the cinema, Pari notices a poster of Shah Rukh Khan, with an appeal to donate eyes. Convinced that Shah Rukh Khan will help her brother get his sight back, Pari begins to write letters to him. Unfortunately, those letters don’t reach him, breaking Pari's heart.

Her hope is revived, though, when she learns that Shah Rukh Khan is shooting in Jaisalmer, around 300 km from their village. When nobody agrees to take her there, Pari takes matters into her own hands and sets off to meet the superstar, with her brother in tow.

Their journey through the deserts of Rajasthan reflects a beautiful world. But does Pari actually meet Khan? Does the star help her brother get his sight back? It's about what you believe in at the end of the day!

Dhanak is a road movie with very little conflict. It takes you on a ride with interesting characters – mostly good people, laughter, exuberant Rajasthani music, colour and lots of food (Chotu is a foodie).

Krrish Chhabria shines as the witty and bratty little boy. What he lacks in sight, he makes up for with his attitude. His honest and innocent portrayal is the backbone of the film.

Hetal Gada plays the protective elder sister determined to fulfil her brother's wish with great conviction. She makes you feel for her character at every stage.

Together they are brilliant. Their constant Shah Rukh vs Salman banter makes you laugh, and the sibling revelry, genuine love and bond touches your heart. You want to root for these unlikely heroes. 

Kukunoor's most successful films – Iqbal and Dor (2006) – were about positivity and hope in the face of bleak situations. Dhanak is in the same zone and just as good. With this innocent story, he makes you believe there is still good in the world. With his simple writing, Kukunoor makes you see the brighter side of life and feel that there is magic around if you truly believe.

It is a journey you must undertake if you want to experience a joyful ride that makes you feel good about life.