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At the very beginning, if I dub this entire review as the actor Shah Rukh Khan’s emotional journey, I am sure many would agree with me by the time they reach the last word in this movie review article. Let me tell you why. Let’s begin with the job! 
Dunki, the highly anticipated Bollywood film directed by Rajkumar Hirani and starring Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, and Vicky Kaushal, has finally hit the theatres. The film follows the story of Hardy or Hardayal Singh Dhillon, a small-town guy with big dreams, who embarks on a journey to find his place in the world. So, it might seem like a typical Bollywood cliche at the outset itself. However, the movie is a little more. 
On the very first day, the film garnered mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Some have praised Shah Rukh Khan’s emotional performance, while others have criticised the film’s slow pace and lack of depth. However, one thing is clear – Dunki is a film that is not afraid to tackle the complexities of the human experience. And on that front, the humane emotions and feelings, I might dub the movie a good watch, albeit unfulfilling one! 

The first half of the film is dedicated to Hardy’s journey to London, as he and his friends attempt to immigrate to the UK using the infamous Donkey Flight method. The film does a great job of portraying the struggles and hardships faced by immigrants, and the lengths they are willing to go to in order to achieve their dreams. It covers the shady as well as the natural side of one’s journey from a small town to a big city like London. 

Shah Rukh Khan delivers a powerful performance as Hardy, a character who is both relatable and endearing, to a great extent. Though there is no doubt about Shah Rukh’s abilities as an actor, there are limits to a character. As Hardy, his emotional depth and vulnerability are on full display, and he does his best to carry the film with his sheer presence. However, because of directorial flaws and other characters around him, or put the story in that basket too, the movie lags. Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal also give strong performances, but it is Shah Rukh Khan who truly shines and eclipses the others.

The film’s second half is where things start to slow down, as the story shifts its focus to Hardy’s personal journey. While the film does a good job of exploring the themes of identity and belonging, it does so at the expense of the film’s pacing. The film’s message is clear – it is never too late to find your place in the world – but the execution leaves something to be desired. And with that demand of wanting more things scratching from the inside, the movie slows down, eventually, to reach its culmination, a premature one biting the dust before reaching its suitable conclusion. Or, you can say one might predict what’s about to come. 

Rajkumar Hirani’s direction is average, and the story doesn’t reach its full potential, sometimes bordering on silliness. However, the film’s emotional core is strong, and it is this emotional resonance that ultimately saves the film from being a complete disappointment.

In conclusion, Dunki is a film that is both flawed and ambitious. It is a film that is not afraid to take risks, and for that, it deserves credit. While it may not be a masterpiece, it is a film that is worth watching for Shah Rukh Khan’s performance alone. However, the movie may not bring the aesthetic and emotional satisfaction one demands from such highly anticipated movies that arouse expectations riding the waves of marketing and PR. 
Movie Desk, ILN, Ravi

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