Monday, November 22, 2021

Dhamaka--is this what tv is coming to?

 It seems live tv. demands action and drama.  This is taken to an extreme with a new Bollywood film, "Dhamaka".   When something big happens we all want to see it happening.  However something "big" is not always happening.  And sometimes something "big" is an opportunity to  exploit to the fullest.  A charismatic spokeperson is critical.  A producer helps provide a backbone when necessary.

The lead male  Arjun Pathak has just been demoted from a major tv. anchor to a radio spot.  We learn of allegations of fraud and divorce proceedings and feel a little of his humiliation.

All through the film we learn of efforts to boost ratings.  A hot exclusive story is what drives the ratings.  What could be hotter than bombs going off and the demands of an aggrieved "terrorist"?  Well, the action piles up as the terrorist has planned a bombs in the tv. studio where our hero has been restored due to the request of the bomber.  The bomber is upset about previous government inaction that resulted in the deaths of fellow workers.  He demands an apology from a government official.  We are led to believe it will not come, but the anchor tries to force the issue by saying there will be an apology.  

Meanwhile the producer is making demands on the anchor. who is trying to negotiate a more permanent position.   She wants him to say there will be no negotiations and no apology.  She is following the ratings and is pleased they are going up.  But the terrorist is negotiating with another channel.  The other channel is trying to force the issue and making accusations.

He talks on air with his wife who has instituted divorce partly because he took credit for a big news story of hers and is stuck on the bombed bridge.  She makes the point that saying one is sorry does not make one smaller.  He says he agrees.  

The truth and the news are not necessarily the same.  Arjun established his reputation with the mantra, "Whatever I say will be the truth"

There are a few twists that only emphasize that news has become an entertrainment business rather than merely a source of true information.  We, the audience are the real drivers of what we see.  If we buy sensationalism at the expense of truth that is what we will get.  A lot of tension partly provided by explosions and police action, but more by the moral dilemma.

I don't know too much about the television competition between channels in India, but I suspect there must be a lot of manipulation behind the scenes in order to boost ratings.  The crew and cast that put this together are to be applauded. 

Perhaps inspired by a similar themed Korean film, "TheTerror Live" (2013).

Ram Madhvani was director and writer.  He is maybe best known for "Neerja" (2016), the biopic of Neerja Bhanot who sacrificed her life protecting 359 passengers from hi jackers back in 1986.  It became a the highest grossing film led by a female actress (Sonam Kapoor). He was also a playback singer on "Like Stars on Earth."   He and  his wife (?) Amita Madhvani also were producers.

"Puneet Sharma, the co-writer has a stronger reputation as a lyricist.  He had been noted for a poet for a protest.  He worked with a radio channel eventually in Mumbai and got involved with films. He wrote song lyrics for such films as "Bareilly Ki Barfi" (2017), and "Sanju" (2018).  He had written scripts for three previous movies.   

 Ron Screwvala was the other producer.  He has been involved producing such films as "Lakshya" (2004), "my favorite Shah Rukh Khan movie, "Swades" (2004), "Rang De Basanti" (2006), "The Namesake" (2006), "Life in a Metro" (2007), "Jodhaa Akbar" (2008), "Fashion" (2008), "No One Killed Jessica" (2011), "Barfi" (2012), "Kai Po Che" 2013), TIFF favorite, "The Lunchbox" (2013), "Uri:The Surgical Strike" (2019), my top movie of 2019, "The Sky is Pink" (2019).  These are all standout movie.  Here are two blogs: and

The musical director and composer was Vishal Khuranna.  His musical contributions have included "Haraamkhor" (2015)  "Neerja" (2016), "Jolly LLB 2" (2017). 

Cinematogrpahy was handled by Manu Anand.  Some of his films include "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" (2015 for he won a Filmfare award), "Fan" (2016) and "Zero" (2018).  A truly good feel movie:

 Monisha R. Baldawa was the editor.  Previous films include "Margarita with A Straw" (2014), "Neerja" (2016), "Mom" (2017). "Dhadak" (2018) and "Badla" (2019).

 Kartik Aaryan played  Arjun Pathak, the strong anchor.  He lied to his parents so he could get to Mumbai supposedly to study engineering, but instead went to countless film auditions without success until 2011 when he got his first film role.  His mother insisted he finish his engineering degree, but after doing so, in 2013 and more successfully in 2014 he appeared in more films.  After a bigger success in 2018, he invited his parents to live with him in Mumbai.  His films include "Pyaar Ka Punchnama" (2011), "Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2" (2015) and "Sonu Ke Titu Sweety" (2018).

Mrunal Thakur played Soumya Pathak, the wife of Arjun.  She has appeared in numerous films including "Super 30" (2019).

Amruta Subhash played Ankita Malaskar, the hard nosed producer.  Amruta has appeared in such films as "Firaaq" (2008), and "Gully Boy" (2019) .

I hope the efforts make us news consumers a little more careful in our assessments of what we are presented with and what we are paying for.

The movies I have seen are bolded with their first mention, partly for my vanity, but also to assure you familiarity with the cast or crew.

No comments:

Post a Comment