The subject of Nagesh Kukunoor‘s films is always fascinating. His latest project is Dhanak, a tale of orphan siblings in the northern area of India where a SRK-fan sister Pari convinces her blind Salman Khan-fan brother Chotu to take him to Jaisalmer where SRK is active in shooting for an eye-donation event. Pari is convinced by a fortuneteller that Chotu will suffer if she doesn’t reach Jaisalmer to treat his blindness within three days.
From there begins a wonderful journey towards the different northern parts of India where they meet people from different walks of life who aid them reach their destiny. Kukunoor makes the destiny look a colourful dream with blends of cultural significance to spiritual addicts with combusting food for stomach afflicts.
There are severe odds over not meeting SRK but thanks to a wonderful screenplay which justifies the extraordinary stories of very ordinary people. The chemistry of the siblings, played by young kids Hetal Gada and Krrish Chhabria is very lively and natural. Both especially Chotu actor has given a splendid performance. Their arguments are very real and hilarious which creates a tone and makes you watch the destiny.
Kukunoor has depth in the presentation of realism in various ways. He dramatises the blood relations very well and he has done in his early films. It is quite deep and tragic that siblings do not get the proper caring from their guardians as much as they are well received by the outsiders. Also, I liked the segment of siblings meeting an American hippy from California.
I am very impressed with the background score and production of songs used in the film by Tapas Relia. Easily the best number is hippy Douglas Adam (Chet Dixon) singing a wonderful rendition of Damadam Mast Qalandar with Chotu (voiced by Devu Khan Manganiyar).
The irony of the fate of Dhanak is that such a sensible storytelling masterpiece hardly earned mere 2.5 crore INRs which shows a mark of disinterest among the Indian viewers and stellar interest towards the popular masala entertainers. Whereas the very same film has earned an international acclaim in many film festivals.
The film won the Crystal Bear Grand Prix for Best Children’s Film in 65th Berlin International Film Festival. Also, includes in the accolades is the Best Film award in Sneaker’s Children Festival, Poland.
Dhanak is easily one of the best children’s films made in Bollywood in recent years or perhaps this century so far.
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