Never have I seen a movie with a more fitting title. Dhokha means betrayal and of that there’s plenty.
With every twist and turn, someone gets betrayed. Every character, the actors, the audience – the plot spares nobody.
You’re left with questions. What does this character want? Who is telling the truth? What is happening? Why are you watching this movie? Would your time be better utilized watching paint dry?
The movie begins with newly-weds who go from lovey-dovey couple to constantly bickering twosome. When the introductory song ends, the wife Saanchi Sinha (Kushalii Kumar), asks her husband Yathaarth Sinha (R. Madhavan) for a divorce. She’s all set to leave him and go to the UK.
But then, the “lashkar-trained” terrorist, Haq Gul (Aparshakti Khurana) breaks into their apartment and holds Saanchi hostage. ACP Harishchandra Malik (Darshan Kumar) leads the Mumbai Police task force that negotiates with him.
A desperate Yathaarth pleads, begs, and fights his way into the house to save his wife. He reveals that Saanchi is dangerous and unstable, which makes a tense situation more precarious.
On paper, it is a good plot. The problem is in its execution. The movie feels half baked, like the first draft of a manuscript. Writer-director Kookie Gulati has a great idea but should have spent more time on the storyboard.
In the hands of a skilled director, Dhoka Round D Corner could have been a nail biter.
What we get instead is a hastily patched together film with stilted dialogue, lackluster delivery, and acting that switches from theatrical to hammy. The cast appear to be reading their lines from a teleprompter.
Waste of Talent
But Madhavan sleepwalks through this script. Yet, with minimal effort, he turns in the only redeeming performance in this movie. Darshan Kumar’s acting peaks in scenes that reveal his secrets and nosedives into a sham show otherwise.
I felt bad for Aparshakti Khurana who is stuck playing the hero’s best friend. This talented actor plays a panicked fugitive, making a last-ditch effort to save himself, but the shoddy writing lets him down. The female lead role is far too complex for debutante Kushalii Kumar’s acting ability. I couldn’t help but think that perhaps Yami Gautam might have been a better fit in the role. Saanchi Sinha is meant to be volatile, manipulative, seductive, willful, and clever, but Kushalii’s expressions and dialogue delivery fall flat.
Unnecessary use of CGI and green screen plague a film where the setting is entirely urban, with cartoonish opening shots of tall buildings and a metro rail.
The overlong opening song accompanying the gradual disintegration of the marriage perhaps was a good idea on paper. The movie could have begun from the point where Saanchi asks for divorce. The protracted twenty-five or so minutes at the movie’s end could have been slashed by replacing the ‘secret dumping’ with an accident, and dumping the two closing songs instead. It was just too much!
Both Haq Gul and Harishchandra Malik give wildly different accounts of an event, but neither provided clarity. If they did, I missed it. If Aparshakti Khurana’s last outburst was correct, who was the mastermind?
Sporadic Silver Linings
I did like Kushalii Kumar’s simple but stylish wardrobe. The song “Mahi Mera Dil” composed by Tanishk Bagchi and sung by Arijit Singh and Tulsi Kumar is beautiful. R. Madhavan and Aparshakti Khurana delivered good performances.
The movie was a waste of time. It’s sad that a story with such potential and a talented cast could be so underwhelming.
I rate it at 0.5/5.