Mumbai, 23 Sep 2022 12:45 IST
The biggest twist of the Kookie Gulati film is that Darshan Kumaar acts better than R Madhavan.
It is obvious for every film to have a protagonist. The story moves around him or her while other characters mostly play supporting roles. But writer-director Kookie Gulati’s Dhokha Round D Corner is a rare film where it’s not possible to pinpoint a protagonist down, and this is not a good sign.
The film is a crime thriller and a drama. It begins with Yatharth Sinha (R Madhavan) and his wife Sanchi (Khushalii Kumar) moving into a new apartment in a posh location in south Mumbai. They are very much in love when they enter the house at the start of a song. But their relationship turns bitter by the time the song ends and they decide to part ways.
One day, a dreaded terrorist Haq Gul (Aparshakti Khurana) escapes police custody, forcefully enters the Sinha residence when Sanchi is alone and takes her hostage. Mumbai police, under the leadership of assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Harishchandra Malik (Darshan Kumaar), quickly get into action. He is determined to nab Gul since he had escaped from his custody. Gul demands the release of a fellow terrorist and Rs50 lakh in cash.
Yatharth frantically arrives at the crime scene, which is his home, after learning about the situation through news channels. The cops, obviously, don’t let him enter the building. He confides in Malik and claims that his wife is suffering from a serious mental disorder and that she needs to be given a pill every four hours through some tricks since she always avoids taking them.
Back at their house, Sanchi develops a strange liking towards Gul (for reasons best known to the writers). She claims that Yatharth is having an affair with her psychiatrist and he has been forcefully feeding her some pills, so that her mental condition deteriorates. Meanwhile, Gul also opens up to Sanchi and claims that he has been wrongly framed as a terrorist.
The idea of different characters claiming different versions of ‘truth’ instantly reminds you of the classic Roshomon (1950) and other films on the same theme like Vantage Point (2008). Of course, you don’t expect Dhokha to reach the level of classics. But the least you expect from any movie from a big production house like T-Series is to provide an interesting and engaging movie. That doesn’t happen with Dhokha.
Dhokha treads on the unconvincing path right from the start. We are never shown how Khurana’s character easily enters not only a high security upscale housing society but also the flat. The security personnel at the society aren’t given a dressing down by the cops or anyone for the blunder. This entire development takes place abruptly.
One would expect Malik’s character too to face grave consequences for their inability to keep Gul confined in custody. His senior just keeps threatening him of sending national security guard (NSG) commandos at the crime spot if they are unable to solve the situation.
Dhokha tries providing humour through the spoof of a loud-mouthed and angry television news anchor. Apart from few giggles at the start, it falls flat.
The film, instead, turns out to be unintentionally hilarious, especially during scenes between Gul and Sanchi. Gul once gets easily fooled by Sanchi but he still continues to trust her! At one point, Malik and Yatharth have an ugly fight. But moments later, they patch up and calmly share a smoke while sitting in the society park when the situation with the terrorist is still not under control.
Despite the silly portrayal of Gul, Aparshakti Khurana succeeds in showing glimpses of his talent. His Kashmiri accent also sounds real. Khushalii Kumar, sister of T-Series head honcho Bhushan Kumar, looks gorgeous but tries too hard in being a seductress. R Madhavan makes the character of Yatharth look believable but he doesn’t look entirely involved.
The best performance of the film comes from Darshan Kumaar. Now this is the biggest twist the film provides, although not intentionally. He is in good form after the two seasons of The Family Man and The Kashmir Files (2022).
Dhokha ends with a series of twists. Although they might not be fully convincing, this point controls the damage to some extent.
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