Dhak Dhak Film Review: A Mixed Bag Empowering Women

Female Bikers: A Trending Phenomenon in India

A still from ‘Dhak Dhak’. A few years ago, a surge of female bikers embarking on adventurous journeys took the country by storm. Newspapers were quick to document this trend, featuring remarkable stories behind these women’s biking excursions. However, as more women joined this movement, the trend gradually lost its newsworthiness. The creators of the film ‘Dhak Dhak’ attempt to revive the theme of female empowerment that was once in the spotlight. While the film manages to engage and entertain in parts, it ultimately feels like a well-intentioned editorial on women’s empowerment.

Unlikely Women on an Arduous Journey

Director Tarun Dudeja tells the story of four unconventional women who embark on a challenging journey from Delhi to Khardung La. Each woman has her motivations for undertaking this arduous trip. Sky, portrayed by Fatima Sana Shaikh, sees it as a professional project rooted in a personal setback. Mahi (Ratna Pathak Shah), trapped in the role of a caring grandmother known for her delicious food, yearns for an image makeover. Uzma (Dia Mirza) hopes to escape from a husband who only values her for her cooking skills, expecting her to whip up biryani and phirni effortlessly. Lastly, there’s Manjari (Sanjana Sanghi), an overprotected young woman who wishes to experience the world before being married off to a boy she’s never met. While the backstories of Sky and Mahi are relatable, it’s harder to understand the passion driving Manjari and Uzma to embrace heavy biking and undertake such a life-threatening journey. Nevertheless, the trip serves as a metaphor, representing their collective march towards freedom.

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‘Dhak Dhak’ Film Details

Director: Tarun Dudeja

Cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Ratna Pathak Shah, Dia Mirza, Sanjana Sanghi

Run-time: 140 minutes

Storyline: A tale of four women who embark on a life-altering road trip from Delhi to Khardung La, the world’s highest-altitude motorable pass

A Predictable Path with Moments of Emotion

For enthusiasts of concept-based cinema, it comes as no surprise that the screenplay of ‘Dhak Dhak’ follows well-worn contours, peppered with pop philosophy. The obstacles faced by these fearless women are predictable from afar, and it’s only in the latter part of the film that the emotional intensity reaches a ‘Dhak Dhak’ level. However, the journey remains captivating due to the competent cast, who infuse passages of sharp humor and offer insightful observations on life and relationships, drawn from their own experiences. For example, the portrayal of a grandmother who not only embodies traditional qualities but also rides a motorcycle subtly comments on breaking cultural barriers. Led by the adaptable performances of Ratna and Sana, the four women bond naturally, and their heartfelt conversations steer the patchy narrative towards a safe land.

‘Dhak Dhak’ is currently showing in theaters.

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