Dunki - Movie Review

Illegal immigration has been a global draw over the last few decades. From finding a job to moving for social security or seeking a political asylum, it’s been considered normal to jump borders without appropriate approvals from government authorities. 

Many even take pride in doing so, while several thousands lose their precious lives while doing so. 

Dunki is a film about four such aspirants. I wonder why the mighty emperor SRK had to choose such a subject. Maybe, that’s what those with a “strong might” do, once in a while. Many would remember that King Khan did so earlier with “Love you Zindagi” in as well. 

Directed & edited by Rajkumar Hirani

and Produced by Red Chillies Entertainment & Jio studios, Dunki (donkey route) is all about a bunch of Indians taking the illegal route to travel to the United Kingdom. 

Set in the mid-90s, Manu Basgeet (Tapsee Pannu), Balinder “Buggu” Lakhanpal, (Vikram Kochhar) and Balli Kakkad (Anil Grover) live a wretched life at a small village by the name Laltu in Punjab. Each of then have a back story and struggle to meet ends for their respective families. 

Enter Hardayal “Hardy” Sukhdev Singh Dhillon (SRK). All of them join a course to clear IELTS exam so they can get a student visa and fly out to the UK. But none make it to clear the tests. 

Hardy suggests that they take the “dunki” route when one of their friends in the village Sukhi Mangal (Vicky Kaushal) commits suicide as his former girlfriend Jassi commits suicide in London, as he couldn’t get a visa to come and save her from her husband. 

How Hardy gets the trio to reach the UK without a visa is rest of the film. 

Similar to the 2004 outing of SRK’s Veer Zaara, the film opens with a current day Mannu running away from a hospital in London. A flashback takes us through the first half until interval. 

The second half is a stretch beyond imagination and SRK & Co take us for long a ride on the donkey, albeit not literally. 

The screenplay is patchy all through and sudden bursts of songs (by Pritam) there and here are no solace. 

That the songs which were releasing week after week all through November and December are neither chartbusters and remain passable, is another story. 

Shah Rukh’s Pathaan and Jawaan that released earlier this year (2023) went on to become his career best grossers. Dunki could manage just around ₹30 Crores on its day one opening at the Box Office and a tad less on day two. 

Nevertheless, hardcore fans of the King Khan will love his overtures all through the film. Tapsee shines in her role and like how. 

The flashback portions have been well conceptualised, especially while travelling from Punjab to London through Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. 

If you’re not in a hurry to watch your Khan on the big screen, like you’ve done for the last 3 decades, then wait until end-Feb to catch up on OTTs. 


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