Cast: Hetal Gadda, Krrish Chhabria, Vipin Sharma, Gulfam Khan, Vibha Chibber, Vijay Maurya
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Music: Tapas Relia
There’s always one thing that you can expect from Nagesh Kukunoor and that is a story that would make you smile. If Dor was the kind of movie that made your heart warm then Dhanak is the one that will totally melt it. This story of a brother-sister duo takes your heart away right from the beginning where the premise is set to have the eyesight restored for the boy as promised by his sister, before his ninth birthday. Yes, that’s what the whole story is about! Nevertheless, from here to there, this is a journey not just across miles through the desert that the duo undertake to conclude their mission but a journey of emotions and experiences, that they gather along the way. A journey that changes their lives forever.
Pari (Hetal Gadda) and Chhotu (Krrish Chhabra) are orphaned when Chhotu was just 4 years old and now they live with their Uncle (Vipin Sharma) and aunt in rural Rajasthan. Chhotu is vision impaired since then and his sister suggests that he would get his vision back by his ninth birthday, which is just around the corner. When Pari suggests this to Chhotu, little does she know how this would ever happen but once when she sees her idol Shah Rukh Khan on an eye donation poster, she believes it is he who can help them. As soon as she gets to know that the actor is shooting somewhere in Rajasthan, almost 300 kilometres away, they set out to meet him and have their mission accomplished. This journey takes them to various places and they get to meet an assortment of characters, some who help them and some, well….who don’t. How a little girl manages to keep her promise to her brother and keeps her resolve alive inspite of adversity is the story of Dhanak.
Just like Dhanak (rainbow) has many colours, we witness various shades in this one as well. It is the camaraderie of the lead child actors that binds this well written story and keeps your interest alive till the end. The various other colours are brought in by the supporting cast who are well placed and earnest in their portrayal. The child actors show tremendous chemistry throughout the movie. It is not their portrayal of hugging each other or declaring their love for each other or over the top emotional spectacle, but the cute little bickering that they have-whether over their likeness for their respective Bollywood idol or simply their contrasting individuality- that makes this movie a delightful experience. Pari, the angel, is that sweet little optimistic bubble who only knows how to look upwards and Chhotu is the mighty spirited cherub who does not let his disability define him in any way. While on their journey they do have forked viewpoints, but they do manage to come to a safe conclusion, nevertheless.
Even though the fable is more on the verge of reality it still focuses on how fairytales can come true with a little bit of will power, fearlessness, benign intentions and innocent imagination. Nagesh Kukunoor has been able to bring out the child characters so beautifully that you are bound to feel the magic that ensues throughout. With the tiny little messages sprinkled throughout the narrative, like, ‘believe in others‘, ‘trust your instincts‘, ‘look inwards for magic‘, you, as an audience, are forced to evaluate your own beliefs as you practice in today’s world. Their infectious goodness and well spirited humour makes you smile at their banter, support and strength. Rajasthan has been brought to vivid character by the rustic and realistic cinematography of Chirantan Das. The music from Tapas Relia is honest just like the movie and forms an extension to the beautiful narrative.
This is story-telling at its best- surely Nagesh Kukunoor is a gem at it (Dor is other brilliant example). It is simple without being simplistic, it is a feel-good adventure without being rickety, it is dazzling without being disconcerting. This one surely has its heart in its right place and promises you ample smiles even as you walk away from the auditorium. Do watch it with your whole family- they deserve it!