CAST: Ratna Pathak Shah, Dia Mirza, Sana Mirza Shaikh, Sanjana Sanghi
DIRECTOR: Tarun Dudeja
Get ready for the ultimate joyride as four fabulous women hit the road in “Dhak Dhak”! This adventure kicks off with all the classic elements you’d expect from a movie like this. We’ve got four very different women, each from their unique walks of life, dealing with their own share of past troubles and present conflicts. They’re all searching for a way out, a way forward. Along the way, they encounter bumps in the road and face the occasional breakdown of both men and machines. But what they ultimately find is that elusive and precious connection that binds them together, despite their differences.
There’s something inherently delightful about women taking center stage, breaking free from the norm.
In “Dhak Dhak,” we are introduced to a diverse group of characters who bring a refreshing twist to the narrative. Sky (Fatima Sana Shaikh), a seemingly carefree Gen Z travel vlogger, reveals a deeper layer as she desperately seeks sleeping tablets due to the trauma of her intimate photos being shared online. Mahi (Ratna Pathak Shah), an elderly woman who initially won a Royal Enfield but considered trading it for a microwave, decides to embark on a journey to learn how to ride the motorcycle herself. Uzma (Dia Mirza) wears a burkha and deals with a chauvinistic husband but surprises us with her ability to fix a spark plug with the same skill she uses to prepare sweet vermicelli. Manjari (Sanjana Sanghi) may initially appear sheltered, but her fear of the world stems from her single mother’s protective nature. “Dhak Dhak” deserves credit for not leaving its characters as mere outlines; they are fleshed out enough to come to life.
While “Dhak Dhak” might be expected to follow familiar tropes, it manages to maintain narrative freshness as the quartet embarks on their journey to Khardung La, the world’s highest motorable road. The challenges they face during the trip are realistic and contribute to character development. Manjari, played by Sanjana, loses her way but is aided by a truck driver who imparts wisdom on problem-solving. Mahi’s life takes an unexpected turn when a foreigner offers to help her fix a flat tire. The film excels in its attention to small details that speak volumes, such as Sky’s search for a “hidden camera” in their hotel room or Uzma quietly picking up litter without delivering preachy messages about environmental responsibility.
However, “Dhak Dhak” eventually succumbs to melodrama during the second half, losing some of its initial charm. It begins to lean into road film clichés that it had skillfully avoided earlier. The group temporarily splits, only to reunite and complete the journey after one character ends up in the hospital. Despite these moments of lull, the performances in the film elevate it, particularly Ratna Pathak Shah’s portrayal, which can illuminate a scene with a sly smile or a witty remark. Dia Mirza also adds depth to the film with her composed performance as Uzma, offering a stark contrast to the group’s expressive dynamics.
Despite its breathtaking landscapes (the bikers ride through some of the most picturesque locations in the world on their way to Khardung La), and the presence of a talented cast, the film does have its ups and downs. It occasionally hits you with the expected eye-glazing moments, but then it bounces back with a smile-inducing, feel-good charm that keeps you going.
So, gear up for a wild ride with “Dhak Dhak,” where four fantastic women prove that life’s adventures are best enjoyed on the open road!