'Dunki' Review: Shah Rukh Khan-starrer is a tale of emotional narrative tinged with patriotic significance
'Dunki' features exceptional performances from an experienced star ensemble whose work was nothing short of remarkable, bringing forth the raw emotions that made the plot engaging.
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Boman Irani, Vikram Kochhar, Anil Grover and Vicky Kaushal (special appearance)
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes
Ratings: 3.5 stars
Shah Rukh Khan is back with his third and last film of 2023, directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who returns after a five-year hiatus to take spectators into the world of social messages. 'Dunki' features exceptional performances from an experienced star ensemble whose work was nothing short of remarkable, bringing forth the raw emotions that made the plot engaging. 'Dunki' does not shy away from depicting the reality beneath the beauty of being aboard and is an emotional rollercoaster.
The film begins with Taapsee Pannu in London, fleeing the hospital and attempting to return to her own India. She and her Indian pals, Vikram Kochhar and Anil Grover, work hard to return to their homeland. When they are in trouble, they contact an old buddy, Shah Rukh Khan, who travels from India to help them.
The film then takes you back to 1995, to a village in Punjab where it all began. It shows how people want to migrate overseas to make a living in order to help their families survive.
Is there a need to mention how SRK donned his role? Absolutely not, right? He shines throughout the film and proves why he is called the "Badshah of Bollywood". He plays the role of a retired army officer who goes the extra mile for his friends and helps them reach their destination. Although his Punjabi accent does not come so naturally, his efforts are for sure to be applauded.
Taapsee Pannu is delightful to see, and her chemistry with SRK is fantastic. The way SRK loves Taapsee and the fact that her ambitions are his will make you feel flawless. She is so natural in her character that you will forget you are watching a movie and instead assume incidents are happening all around you. Her ability to perform so naturally demonstrates her versatility as an actress.
Boman Irani in his brief role plays an English teacher who prepares a group of misfits to travel overseas. Vicky Kaushal makes a cameo but plays a vital role, and his portrayal of a Punjabi 'Munda' is outstanding in his little screen time. Anil Grover and Vikram Kochhar are fantastic in their performances and two actors to keep an eye on in the future.
You will burst out laughing when you hear them try and speak in English and the language-learning sessions are fun. But then, you will get tears when you realize how hard all of them work to achieve their goals. 'Dunki' depicts how the impoverished try to earn and arrange money, the hardships they face, and, regrettably, how they are duped. The film is packed with emotions and demonstrates how far someone goes for love and to fulfill their aspirations, as well as how language may be a barrier to goals.
Rajkumar Hirani offers the message that your country is yours, regardless of what other countries have to offer. He brilliantly illustrated how the poor are denied visas based on their lack of wealth and education, and that when they choose the illegal route, they die on the way or are declared missing.
One piece of advice: bring handkerchiefs or get extra tissues because the film will make you cry a lot. There will come a point when the film becomes too long and loses your interest. Overall, 'Dunki' is a touching film that expertly blends scenes that will make you cry, laugh, feel sad, and feel the warmth of love.