Dhokha – Round D Corner, Whodunnit and Why?
The film is worthy of one watch at least for the wonderful performance of Aparshakti Khurana
R Madhavan is a brilliant actor and has a wonderful screen image as well, though he has crossed 50 years of age. But he seems to have missed the bus in Bollywood as he shifted to films from the South and has made a success of it.
Dhokha – Round D Corner shows him up as a genuinely scared Yatharth (R.Madhavan) whose beautiful wife Saachi (Kushalii Kumar) is held hostage in their plush apartment somewhere in Mumbai by a terrorist who has escaped from prison. The terrorist is using the woman hostage to have his terrorist colleague released from jail.
This is impossible according to the police officer-in-charge, as the said terrorist has been missing for several months and cannot be traced. Yatharth is successful, affluent and very much in love with wife Saachi, though they seem to have been fighting just before the hijack.
Saachi looks much more like a shapely and beautiful model used to walking the ramp than a housewife. She is dressed seductively in a sari in a way that shows much of her shapely bust off. Her husband is rightly terrified of the gun-toting, dangerous terrorist Gul (Aparshakti Khurana), but the ACP Harishchandra (Darshan Kumar) stops him from stepping into the flat as that might endanger the life of the hostage.
But is that the real reason? Or, as Yatharth tells the police officer-in-charge, he is afraid as his wife is a patient of 'delusional disorder' without bothering to explain what the condition means? The narrative cuts alternately from the compound of the luxury housing complex where the temporary office of the police I stationed to the interiors of the spacious apartment where Saanchi is held captive by a dangerous Laskhar-trained terrorist.
Why does the ACP not use more ingenious means of asking his men to climb up to the floor of the flat where Saachi is held captive? Even cheap crime serials are intelligent enough to know of stronger alternatives to having an entire police force unable to rescue a hostage, just because the terrorist has a gun and is stationed in the compound of the housing complex.
The terrorist is more scared than his captive. She does not show a single sign of being even mildly scared as she is already described to be suffering from 'delusional disorder'. Is she really sick? Or is she putting on an act? Gul puts the medicine powder in her tea as asked by her husband, but you have never seen a film where the terrorist is not only panic stricken but is also emotionally struck by Saachi's exotic beauty and seductive behavior. He falls in love with his captive and plans to run away to freedom together to a safe and distant place.
With hopes of a sequel, the closure is kept open and the wrong-doers are not caught, and almost prance away with smiling faces. Poor Gul, the terrorist who came with dreams of an ordinary job gets a jail sentence beginning, with a phase in a lunatic asylum where with his mind completely off the rocker, he continues to fantasise about the beautiful but diabolic Saachi.
Is this a police thriller, a terrorist-thriller, or perhaps a psychological thriller that plays gleefully around the minds of the major characters – Yatharth, Gul and Saachi? Though one found big logical holes, Dhokha – Round the Corner is a film I quite enjoyed.
The performance by Madhavan and Aparshakti are good and convincing, keeping us constantly on the edge of our seats wondering who, exactly, is the victim of the 'dhokha' which means bluff, is it Saachi who accuses the husband of drugging her, or is he the loyal husband waiting for his hostage wife to walk out of her captivity and into his arms?
Newcomer Kushalii Kumar is beautiful but cannot act to save her life. If she is suffering from some mysterious mental illness but is not fully crazy, shouldn't a gun pointed at her any minute not scare her out of her wits? But here we find her, putting on all her seductive skills, with her carefully made-up face, lips and eyes in top gear.
The psychiatrist who is supposedly treating Saachi lacks conviction, as Saachi appears to be the sole patient in her care. But that said, the film has a knife-like edge and a racy pace to it that keeps the suspense alive only to collapse towards the end. The editing is jerky, but that is perhaps what the script demanded. The cinematography just had to pan across the compound of the housing complex, or wander about the spacious designer apartment of the couple whose marriage is positioned on the precipice of a metaphorical cliff.
The film is worthy of one watch at least for the wonderful performance of Aparshakti Khurana who has the most layered role among all the three though none of them are straightforward and open either. The final dhokha is reserved for the audience steered all along to find out what happens in the end. However, nothing really happens and perhaps the one captured is the one who is the only innocent character. Keep waiting for the sequel if you must but, looking at this one, I feel it will not amount to much.