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Dhanak Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Kukunoor enhances the magic of the parable by throwing in delightfully quirky encounters that veer into the heart of fairy-tale terrain without ever losing a sense of reality. Dhanak paints a portrait of hope in which the magic of popular Hindi cinema — Pari and Chotu are engaged in constant banter over who is more puissant, Shah Rukh or Salman — and the power of a child’s unbridled imagination merge in a marvellously infectious manner. The screenplay is the star in Dhanak. With Hetal Gada and Krrish Chhabria drawing the audience effortlessly into the tale, it takes on magical dimensions. And, of course, it is impossible not to mention the ever-dependable Vipin Sharma in the role of the deeply concerned but powerless guardian whose own dreams are no less touched by benign madness.
Dhanak Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times
Director Nagesh Kukunoor explored Rajasthan in Dor like never before, and the same style of cinematography and character placement can be seen in Dhanak. Long shots capture sand sliding like water with minimal props. The frames rarely look crowded as enough space is allotted to the background. The secondary characters could have been given more depth though.
Dhanak Review by Mohar Basu on The Times Of India
We all need a li’l bit of sparkle and rainbow in our lives. Director Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak reminds us of the small joys of life and teaches us a lesson in dealing with our sorrows. Who better to learn this from, than kids? Nagesh’s keen understanding of human emotions comes handy as he makes the young Pari his protagonist. Her world revolves around two things – her baby brother and her love for Shah Rukh Khan.
Dhanak Review by Moumita Bhattacharjee on Bollywood Life
There is hardly anything wrong with the film except perhaps for the second half which drags a bit. The psychic bit might come across as far-fetched too but that doesn’t dilute the fun. Again, there will be some who would call it a convenient turn of events but then life is not always cruel. At times, it surprises too. But in a bit to keep it as real as possible, the filmmaker has incorporated a few human vices in it which threaten to derail the proceedings. Thankfully, it doesn’t.
Dhanak Review by IANS on Zeenews
Hetal Gada as Pari and Krrish Chabria as Chotu steal your heart with their flawless rendition of their characters. They are natural and completely at ease before the camera. They are aptly supported by other actors in one scene roles, namely; Suresh Menon as the, “naata bhala aadmi” (a short good man) who helps them during their time of need, Bharti Achrekar as the gypsy clairvoyant, Ninad Kamat as the tout who makes money by fooling people, Vibha Chibber as Mata Sheera Wali, and Chet Dixon as the foreigner walking through the globe for peace. On the technical front, the film is colourful, vibrant and appealing. DOP (Director of Photography) Chitranjan Das’s camera work is remarkable. He captures the locales — which include the sets designed by Production Designer Devika Bahudhanam, the costumes designed by Aparna Shah and the finer nuances of the actors — with precision.
Dhanak Review by Indiaglitz
Sadly, the second half starts to go on a repetitive mode with few unwanted scenes like the foreigner track followed by Bharti Achrekar’s unconvincing track. Suresh Menon’s part is sweet but, lacks the intensity. The finale is good but should have been better and impactful. The narrative part in the second half is a bit slow due to which the screenplay is inconsistent as, after one good track there is dull and low moment followed by another good track and then again the dull moment. This works fine till the first half but in the second half, it dilutes the impact of the film.The later part of the film drags a bit with lack of reality and hardship in it. If these minor points would have been taken care of, the movie would have ended up being one among Nagesh’s finest films.
Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
Credit is due to Kukunoor for resisting the temptation to use disability to extract sympathy from viewers and to manipulate them emotionally. Young actors Gada and Chhabria do an outstanding job of playing the spirited siblings. While the first half is entertaining and feel-good, the second meanders and would have benefited from crisper editing. But don’t give up on Dhanak. Stay with Pari and Chhotu, There’s definitely a dhanak (rainbow) at the end of it all.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
The beauty of the film lies in Kukunoor’s talent in weaving a story, which is not only a feel-good fare, but also contains a sense of adventure as the two intrepid kids set out on their ‘mission’. Nagesh deserves kudos for coming up with lovely characters and making them utterly believable and real. The final half hour of the film is somewhat incredible, but by that time, you have fallen in love with the characters to an extent to forgive anything.
Review by Namrata Thakker on Rediff
Hetal Gada and Krrish Chhabria deliver terrific performances. Their innocence, and their maturity, will warm your hearts. Nothing has been done overtly and all the characters lend good support to the story. From cinematography to performances to music, everything syncs in perfectly and quite effortlessly. However, the second half did seem a bit slow in comparison to the first. Also, the back story of how Chotu loses his eyesight is hard to understand. The makers could have worked more in that area. But these elements do not hamper the flow of the story or its magic. To have a movie revolve around just two characters is hard but Kukunoor does it and how! He proves yet again why he is a filmmaker to reckon with.
Review by Asira Tarannum on Deccan Chronicle
The kids, with their crackling camaraderie are a delight to watch, especially when they weave fictitious story about Shah Rukh and Salman. Their journey through the picturesque scenes of Rajasthan, coupled with soulful music make the film an enchanting watch. The film gets slightly repetitive towards the second half when the kids keep meeting one too many good Samaritans. Despite this, it still manages to hold your interest with its perfect ensemble cast.
Review by Shubha Shetty Saha on Mid-Day India
The film largely works for the little tender moments between the two siblings. The unconditional love that Pari displays towards her brother through their everyday dealings and simple dialogues (thankfully, unlike a lot of other films, the kids are not made to do adult-speak) warms the cockles of one’s heart through this two-hour movie. Add to it, this part fairy taleish, part adventurous feel that the narration provides enhances the allure of the film. However, there are certain sequences, like the one involving veteran actress Bharati Achrekar as a blind visionary, that seem too contrived and convoluted. A lot of credit for making this film so endearing goes to the child actors’ performances. While Krrish with his childlike charm steals your heart, it is Hetal who stands out with a stunningly natural performer. The rest of the cast provide good support. Music is fabulous too.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
This film portrays Rajasthan as the land of the forever happy – where breaking into a song doesn’t warrant an excuse and ghevar is the national sweet and acceptable main course. The film’s one-dimensional storyline desperately seeks conflict but only ends up straying from uncertainties, much like Ram Gopal Varma films evade a steady camera.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
Anyhow, the ‘real’ problem with Nagesh Kukunoor’s DHANAK is the evaporation of the real world in the second half to make way for a predictable fairy tale that restricts the lead characters personal growth in the journey that fails to create the lasting magic that it should have earned. In the end, DHANAK may not be as lasting as Nagesh’s IQBAL and DOR but certainly this feel good road trip is worth taking a ride with your family. go for it.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
I know this film has been made for those with a surplus of the milk of human kindness, but it made me hanker for something more. Cuteness can carve out only a part of the heart. I still remember Hyderabad Blues and Iqbal. And this movie is too shiny bright, too glossy (why don’t we make Children of Heaven? Had me bawling like a breaking dam!) and tries too hard to be cute. Despite the name of the movie, there is no longing, no space in your heart to sing, ‘Somewhere over the rainbow!’.
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
Chhotu keeps the rhythm going. And the best tune comes from Hetal, who is an amazing little performer, displaying just the right beats, who doesn’t keep a foot wrong. She is the real star of this enterprise. And, yes, there is a rainbow at the end.
Review by Devarsi Ghosh on India Today
Dhanak’s success lies in its simplicity. The story of this brother-daughter duo will bring to mind Satyajit Ray’s stripped-down, matter-of-fact treatment of Pather Panchali. Pari and Chotu, in their journey, traverse through a Rajasthan that is curiously but understandably removed from its politics. Dhanak’s Rajasthan is almost dreamlike and carnivalesque, thanks to the colourful cast of characters they meet on their way.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
Chhotu is a smart-mouthed tyke with a short fuse and lots of bravado. He may be blind but he’s full of spirit, and Chhabria plays him like an absolute natural, making it impossible not to root for him from the moment in. Chhotu’s strength is his sister Pari, and Gada plays her beautifully, as protective and loving, but also ready with a tongue-lashing when his appetite gets the better of him. Their fanaticism and bickering over their rival heroes will have you bursting into laughter.
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