“All characters/incidents and places in this film are fictitious” – this disclaimer flashes at the beginning of 2022 Bollywood film ‘Dhoka: Round D Corner”, which is standard practice, but it really didn’t need to display one. The plot about a terrorist escaping from police custody and holding a house-wife hostage is so ludicrous, no viewer at any point would wonder if the story were based on real events.
Directed and written by Kooki Gulati, the film stars debutante Khushali Kumar as Saanchi Sinha, a married woman who apparently suffers from a personality disorder, Madhavan plays her husband Yathaarth and Aparshakti Khurana is a weirdly chatty gullible terrorist Haq Riyaaz Gul who holes himself up in a residential building. The decision to mix two drastically different themes was absurd. On one hand you have a terrorist accused in a deadly bombing holding a woman hostage, on the other hand you have the woman and her husband whine about their relationship troubles. Saanchi pours her heart out to the terrorist, while Yathaarth unburdens himself to the cops stationed at the crime scene.
Yathaarth claims his wife is mentally unstable, while Saanchi thinks her husband is deliberately driving her insane by slipping illegal medication in her food. Who cares? There’s a terrorist at large! The movie trivializes every theme it covers – terrorism, mental health and fraught marriages.
Aparshakti Khurana is surprisingly good in his part, while Khushali is barely bearable and both their characters are terribly written. Some of the plot twists must have sounded great on paper, but they only weaken the story further. Madhavan was effortless in his part, which was just a slightly different version of his character from ‘Tannu Weds Mannu’. Yathaarth is just whinier, angstier and foul-mouthed.
In a climactic twist, the writers reveal another sub-plot to explain the bizarre marriage of terrorism & relationship troubles in one movie, but it was too far-fetched.
It’s a 3/10 from me. The film is available to stream on Netflix.
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