Vishwak Sen’s second directorial tries too hard to outsmart viewers at every step but is an appealing cocktail of humour, action and thrills
Last Updated: 10.43 AM, Mar 22, 2023
Krishna Das is an orphan who works as a waiter in a plush hotel and leads a content life with his friends despite his mounting financial woes. He poses as a rich industrialist to Keerthi, one of his customers at a hotel and love is in the air. However, when he tries every trick in the book to woo his lady love, Das is entangled in a deeper mess. He, now, needs to step into the shoes of a lookalike, a medical researcher Sanjay Rudra, to guard the future of an organisation.
Popular writer-duo Salim-Javed rewrote the grammar of a commercial film in the 70s, throwing in a mix of style, oomph, and action in their stories bound by strong drama, gripping screenplay and refined dialogue writing. However, their brand of cinema has influenced Telugu filmmakers/writers more than any other industry, across generations. Their tropes continue to make merry here; Vishwak Sen’s second directorial, Das Ka Dhamki is no exception to it.
Writer Prasanna Kumar Bezawada’s latest endeavour is a delicious upgrade to the core idea of Amitabh Bachchan’s Don - two lookalikes from different walks of life with absolutely no connection, a crisis and the onus is on the underdog to rise to the occasion. Beyond the premise and its familiar fusion with the staple commercial ingredients, Vishwak Sen and Prasanna pack in a lot of surprises.
The first hour, revolving around how a waiter steps into the shoes of an industrialist, sets up an entertaining foundation for the twist-a-minute action thriller. Through Krishna Das and his friends, played by Hyper Aadi, Rangasthalam Mahesh, the film keeps poking fun at its premise, characters and their hopelessness. An orphaned Das views his friends as his ‘mother-father’ equivalents and it lends a comical dimension to their equation.
A lot of the one-liners are driven by ‘praasa’ - some jokes land, some don’t, but the screenplay is sharp and packed with events. There are a handful of illogical events passed off as commercial liberty, but given the tone and the aim of the film, you don’t mind the wacky, escapist fun. Das and Keerthi’s romance isn’t in good taste too initially, though the writer-director make up for that with their wit and the screen presence of the cast.
Beyond its Salim-Javed-esque premise, the film also borrows liberally from Trivikram’s recent outings and Ela Cheppanu (originally Tum Bin) - as much as it’s good fun to watch, the absence of originality is also a constant distraction. If the predictability is the curse of the pre-intermission portions, the latter half is the other way round - you seek a break from the flurry of twists and the storyteller’s desperation for adrenaline-pumping moments.
Irrespective of its problems, Das Ka Dhamki is engaging when it goes wild. The duality of each of the characters is out in the open, there’s no breathing space to process the events and the film is filled with tension and anxiety at every step. It’s a relief to watch lead characters that are flawed, messy and unpredictable. The narrative alternates between action, humour and thrills consistently and goes overboard to overwhelm the viewer.
Just when you think the film is done with its shocking-spree, there’s another wild hook leading to a sequel. If not for anything else, Das Ka Dhamki is a compelling endorsement of Vishwak Sen, the storyteller. The staging of the sequences, his understanding of the little nuances that add flavour to a scene, the storytelling momentum and how he handles the tonal drastic changes.
With the right script and adept focus on his directorial duties, Vishwak has it in him to make noteworthy films in the long run. As an actor, he particularly enjoys embracing the greys in Das Ka Dhamki with a hint of arrogance and sarcasm. Nivetha Pethuraj has a blast in the femme fatale space - her styling and impressive screen presence are an asset.
Rao Ramesh does it yet again - finding a way to rediscover himself within the template-driven roles without getting repetitive. Hyper Aadi, Rangasthalam Mahesh, Prudhvi Raj, Rajitha liven up the film’s ambience while Rohini and Ajay are impressive, as always, though they deserved meatier, well-defined roles. The special cameos of Tharun Bhascker, Akshara Gowda add sheen to the narrative. The action choreography merits praise as well.
Leon James’ stylish yet measured score makes all the difference in the film’s crucial junctures. The special dance number in the final hour is more of a patience tester though. Prasanna is undoubtedly a talented writer who’s getting better at understanding the audience’s tastes with every film. For someone with his mettle, it’ll be heartening to see more ‘original’ scripts from him. In the case of Das Ka Dhamki, it’s still a job well done.
Das Ka Dhamki is a largely engaging commercial cocktail that goes overboard in trying to outsmart the viewer with its twists. Writer Prasanna Bezawada’s entertaining script, despite its issues, has enough meat to keep you invested. Vishwak Sen in his second directorial makes commendable progress as a storyteller and relishes the juicy prospect of enacting a dual role. Nivetha Pethuraj and Rao Ramesh deliver impressive performances as well.