‘Dunki’ Has a Powerful Message, But Loses the Plot

The first ever Rajkumar Hirani-Shah Rukh Khan film will give you all the feels. Try not to think about the details.

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Still from 'Dunki' (2023)

Snigdha Sur


December 22, 2023


6 min

It’s London, present-day, and an old woman in a hospital bed (Taapsee Pannu) wants to smoke. She bribes the nurse to take her outside. Except she doesn’t care for cigarettes at all; it’s a ruse for her elaborate escape. She immediately goes to her immigration lawyer, Puru Patel, and demands he get her a visa to India, which he reminds her is impossible. And so she calls up the one man who can solve all problems — Hardy Singh (Shah Rukh Khan). He agrees to meet Manu in neutral territory, Dubai, before the film takes us back roughly 25 years to 1995 Laltu, Punjab, where it all began.

Director and writer Rajkumar Hirani has delivered commercial and critical hits such as Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.3 IdiotsPKSanju, and now Dunki. His films are equally known for their star power as they are for their PSAs: too much pressure in educational institutions dampens creativity, religion can obscure logic and come in the way of love, and, now, a story on the perils of borders and immigration.

Dunki marks Hirani’s first collaboration with Khan, who is out with his third film of the year after Pathaan and Jawan. Though Khan and the cast deliver compelling performances, the story will disappoint more discerning fans.

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