A brave attempt


Slick action, some stunning visuals, and stylised characters—Dhaakad ticks off many boxes, including a woman pushing boundaries of Indian cinema. Razneesh Razy Ghai debuts as a director with this actioner – another spy saga – an agent gone rogue ndash; invincible, indestructible hopping from challenge to challenge, keeping the mission alive.

Four-time National Film Award winner Kangana Ranaut steps into the shoes of Agent Agni. Quick on feet, nimble in action, she can take on any adversary single-handedly. High headed, she feels for the cause, often ignores protocol, for her handler (played by Saswata Chatterjee) has got her back.

From Budapest to Bhopal, this agent, who looks like an air hostess and acts like rocket, plays a true champion. Challenged by Rohini (Divya Dutta) and Rudraveer (Arjun Rampal), her each move is foiled. Who is the one undermining her efforts to diffuse an international human trafficking ring, it loops back to her past? .

The first half seems all over the place, though one cannot dismiss the effort Kangana has put into her body, and act. She speaks the language of high-flying kicks, powerful punches and throat slitting, bullet spewing warrior. While her back story is hinted at, the first half establishes Rohini and Rudraveer’s character. Rohini is a brothel mistress and Rudraveer is setting up a young revolutionary army in the coal mines. The two combine forces.

It’s not just Agni who gets different looks but Rudraveer also gets style makeover as he changes his hideout. Kangana looks and lives the spy part. An envious body, her stunts are super ndash; rhythmic flying kicks, chase and run sequences through the bullet showers, hand-to-hand combats are shot superbly well by Tetsuo Nagata. Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta ndash; both National Award winning actors ndash; give amazing performances. Arjun as a baddie, who takes vicarious pleasure in killing, and Divya as his able deputy complement each other. Sharib Hashmi (of The Family Man fame) as agent Fazal and a father shines. The coal mine sequences and beautiful shots of Budapest make for impressive background where story moves. Sadly, it’s the story, also by Razneesh Razy Ghai, that becomes the weak link. At 131-minutes, the film feels stretched.

The second half with pacy action sure gets one invested, and ties the loose-ends left in the first half. Wish Kangana’s character was given more meat. “Jism se ruh alag karna business hai mera,” her dialogue defines her character. The film’s production quality is excellent. Though Kangana doesn’t like comparison with Hollywood flicks, but the film does remind us of agent Ethan Hunt. They say all stories are built on seven plots. It seems true for films too, for Dhaakad evokes a bit of Joker, Mission: Impossible franchise and our every own KGF!

If actioners are your genre, Dhaakad makes for a one-time watch.

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