Dunki (2023) Movie Review: Performances from SRK, Taapsee Pannu, & Vicky Kaushal saved this Rajkumar Hirani film

Dunki (2023) Cast:

Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, Vikram Kochhar, Anil Grover, Boman Irani, Jyoti Subhash, Deven Bhojani

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Release Date:

The film produced by Jio Studios, Red Chillies Entertainment, & Rajkumar Hirani Films was released in theatres on 21st December 2023.

Dunki (2023) Hindi Movie Review:

The story revolves around Hardayal Sukhdev Singh Dhillon, aka Hardy (Shah Rukh Khan), a soldier who meets Manu (Taapsee), Bali (Anil Grover), Buggu Lakhanpal (Vikram Kochhar), and Sukhi (Vicky Kaushal) upon arriving in Laltu, Punjab. All of them aspire to go to London for different reasons, despite being weak in English. Determined to reach London at any cost, Hardy decides to help them through the illegal Dunki method. Will Hardy succeed in his mission?

The social comedy Dunki features three powerful performances from Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, and Vicky Kaushal. While the comedy scenes with Vikram Kochhar seem okay, the rest of the comedy scenes appear forcibly added to the script and lack impact.

Shah Rukh Khan, with maximum screen presence as Hardy, delivers a convincing performance, doing his best to compensate for the weak writing. Taapsee Pannu, portraying Manu, gives a fine performance, and Vicky Kaushal impresses in his cameo appearance with well-written character development just before the interval. Anil Grover and Vikram Kochhar deliver okay performances in their respective roles.

The on-screen chemistry between SRK and Taapsee is forgettable. The narrative's pace slows down at times but picks up half an hour before the interval, keeping the audience engaged for the next hour. There was no backstory provided for SRK's soldier avatar.

Dunki is Rajkumar Hirani's sixth directorial film. If you revisit his directorial journey from Munnabhai M.B.B.S, you'll notice a common element in each film: impressive writing for the protagonist's character, which is somewhat lacking in Dunki. Another surprising part is Boman Irani choosing this kind of character where he had almost nothing in the script to show his potential. 

In other words, Shah Rukh Khan's Hardy character is the weakest among all the protagonists in Rajkumar Hirani's career till date. Hardy fails to leave a lasting impact, unlike Sanjay Dutt's Munnabhai in Munnabhai M.B.B.S & Lage Raho Munnabhai, Aamir Khan's Rancho in 3 Idiots, Aamir Khan's PK in PK, and Ranbir Kapoor's Sanju in Sanju.

Sometimes, the writing of supporting characters in Rajkumar Hirani's films also left a strong impression. Characters like Vicky Kaushal's Kamlesh in Sanju, Sushant Singh Rajput's Sarfaraz in PK, Sharman Joshi's Raju, Madhavan's Farhan in 3 Idiots, and Arshad Warsi's Circuit in Munnabhai movies have created a long-term impact on audiences, which Dunki seems to lack.

Dunki, co-written by Abhijat Joshi & Kanika Dhillon, marks Rajkumar Hirani’s fifth collaboration with Abhijit Joshi and the first with Kanika Dhillon. The film is worth a one-time watch, primarily for the strong performances from SRK, Taapsee Pannu, and Vicky Kaushal & for the emotional scenes. The movie has a box office collection of Rs 211.13 crores after 4 days of business worldwide.


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