A sweet and tender reminder of why you should believe in your dreams
Containing all the elements of a classic children’s fairytale, Dhanak is a colourful treat of a film, filled with heart, and happiness. Focusing on the tale of two siblings who run away from home, we follow them on their epic journey across the stunning backdrops of Rajasthan, experiencing the adventures of their desert expedition, as though we are right by their side. Central to the story is 10 year-old Pari who decides to embark on the trip in order to track down movie star Shah Rukh Khan, whom she believes will cure her younger brother Chotu’s blindness.
Their innocence, charm and enthusiasm immediately rubs off on the viewer from the moment we meet them in the opening scene where we learn about Pari’s infatuation with SRK, while Choto prefers his Khans of the Salman variety. Quintessential fairytale ingredients include a mean aunt, all you can eat sweets, bandits, a child-snatcher, a man who lives in an imaginary world and a bicycle god – even Disney couldn’t have conjured up that last one.
The relationship between the children is one that’s so sweet you’ll find yourself melting in your seat. Choto (played by Krrrish Chhabria) is a courageous kid with a cheerful cheekiness and short temper, while his sister Pari (Hetal Gada) is a reminder of the unconditional love sisters have for their brothers when they are growing up, something that often wanes in adulthood.
Each leg of the journey our hearts beat with tension as to whether they’ll ‘make it’ but then we’re reminded of the kindness of strangers every time they encounter a new character, who all, in their own unique ways assist them on their adventures.
Rajasthan is depicted with beauty and romance and no doubt watching this film will inspire those who have yet to visit this part of the world, want to embark on their own travels here. But the biggest influence is it is a reminder that daydreams and fantasies matter, and we should never lose sight of their importance in life. While children will watch this film with sheer enjoyment and leave with their imaginations fired up, as adults it’s a reminder of the simple things in life.
Having a passion, taking a risk and going out into the world in the hope of making what seems like the impossible actually happen, is a lesson we could all do with remembering. Add to that the fun, tender moments and honesty of the movie; Dhanak is a tale that will stay with you for sometime, and will hopefully lift you out of any moments of doubt.
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Dhanak was screened at The London Indian Film Festival 2015.