Dunki | Review, 5 things I liked and disliked about it

Dunki | It's Review Time
Shah Rukh Khan | Dunki | Poster | It's Review Time


Dunki highlights the rampant use of an illegal backdoor route called ‘Donkey Flight’ by Indians to immigrate to countries like Canada and USA.

It’s Review Time: 7

Cast & Crew:

Director and Writer – Rajkumar Hirani.
Shah Rukh Khan as Hardy.
Taapsee Pannu as Manu.
Anil Grover as Balli.
Vikram Kochhar as Buggu.
Vicky Kaushal as Sukhi.
Boman Irani as Gulati.
Deven Bhojani as Advocate Puru Patel.
Shahid Latief as Bakhir (played Khalid in The Freelancer).

Shah Rukh Khan | Vicky Kaushal | Taapsee Panu | Anil Grover | Vikram Kochhar | Balli | Manu | Hardy | Sukhi | Buggu | Dunki | It's Review Time


The movie starts in the present time where we see some shots of Big Ben, Double-Decker Buses, and Streets of London, England and then directly to a hospital where we see Manu being treated for something. As a janitor gets in her room to clean it, she wakes up from her sleep and sneaks in his cigarettes to smoke them. As the janitor catches her, she bribes him to let her smoke it and pays him double to take him out. As Manu is taken out of the hospital so that she can smoke, she asks the janitor to keep a watch and meanwhile, she runs away in the hospital gown with an IV line attached to her through the subway to meet a lawyer, Puru Patel. After spending a long time in England, Manu wants to return to India but Patel tells her that he can not get her visa for India because of the things that happened in the past.

After that, we are taken to Laltu, Punjab (a village made up for the movie) where we see Hardy taking part in a race for old citizens. As the race begins, Gulati, who used to be the IELTS teacher, receives a call from Manu from England that she wants to talk to Hardy. Manu asks Hardy to come to Dubai to meet her as some disaster has happened, to which Hardy declines. Manu later meets her old friends who were from her village as well and tells them they are going back home and Hardy will take them home.

After that, we are taken back 25 years where we are introduced to the characters right from the start where we see the problems and dreams of all the characters who are looking to move to England. And from there, the journey of all these characters starts.

Shah Rukh Khan | Hardy | Taapsee Panu | Manu | Dunki | It's Review Time


Rajkumar Hirani brings us his typical movie to save us all from the ongoing era of violence and mass audience movies, he delivers a movie that relies on stories and characters. A movie with hardly any action and violence which is just made to be watched with your family. It is surely not the best Raju Hirani movie we have watched till now, but Dunki is a great one-time-watch movie.

The movie contains strong and precisely written characters, having witty humour all around. The movie initially takes time to build all its characters, plots, and all the surroundings they are in. We see the problems every character faces while living in the current conditions in Punjab, along with that we see their motives, and why they want to move abroad.

Till the first half, we see them trying the legal way through which they can move abroad, whether it is a tourist visa, spouse visa, or student visa, we see them trying everything. After the massive loss of a friend they suffer, we see them trying the last option of the donkey process to go and settle abroad. That was when we were introduced to the seriousness this film carries.

Yes, it has been a quite repetitive thing in Hirani movies where the death of a character becomes an important plot point for the movie. Whether it was Munna Bhai MBBS where Zaheer (played by Jimmy Shergill) dies, 3 Idiots where Joy Lobo (played by Ali Fazal) dies, or in Dunki, it has been carried out in all the movies.

At last, I would say that after a long time, we see a proper family entertainer who also carries out a really strong message for the youth of India, and especially for the youth of Punjab.

Let us discuss more about the movie in detail where I will talk about the things I liked and disliked about the movie.

Donkey Process | Dunki | It's Review Time

5 things I liked about Dunki:

  1. Since the release of Fukrey and movies like Pyaar ka Punchnama, we have seen a massive rise in movies containing adult and double-meaning jokes. This led to the destruction of the innocent and subtle comedy that was built by directors like Priyadarshan, Rajkumar Hirani, David Dhawan, Neeraj Vora, and many more. And after a long time, we get to see a family entertainer and innocent subtle jokes in Dunki.
  2. The entire movie addresses a few major social problems and one of them is the inferiority complex people in India have with the English language. There were a few dialogues by Shah Rukh Khan in the movie where he mentions that language is made for understanding what one has to convey. But sadly, in our country, it is used to determine how well-educated or literate one is. The time period in the movie shown to us is the year 1995, but it is still carried on, especially in Tier-1 & 2 cities. Lately, the youth of India has been inclined towards accepting and promoting the Indian culture to the global level, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done which was addressed beautifully in the movie.
  3. The acting performance of each actor in the movie was a fantastic experience to watch on the big screen. Vicky Kaushal comes in the first half of the movie for a brief period and steals all the limelight with his performance, overshadowing someone like Shah Rukh Khan himself. The role of Vicky Kaushal is the most crucial character in the movie who changes the entire narration which was being set up for the entire first half. Whether it was his backstory, character portrayal, or his death, everything about his performance left a long-lasting impact on the audience. And considering his fantastic performance last month in Sam Bahadur, Vicky Kaushal is certainly at the top of his career right now.
    Along with Vicky Kaushal, the second-best performance comes from the main actor, Shah Rukh Khan himself. Yes, Vicky Kaushal’s impactful and emotional performance does overshadow Shah Rukh Khan’s performance, but it was so good to see the SRK we have known for years. Being the best actor in the melodramatic genre in the entire Indian Cinema, Hardy takes us on an emotional ride right from the beginning where he stumbles into Gurpreet Ghugi on the train station Laltu, Punjab till the end where he makes a fantastic plan with Gulati and Bakhir to take his friends back home through cheating on the entire donkey process of immigration that takes place in Dubai.
    And as for the rest of the cast which consists of Taapsee Pannu, Anil Grover, and Vikram Kochhar, every actor takes up their acting above the notch that they have been delivering for years. After several disastrous movies, Taapsee has definitely found a movie that will keep her career afloat in the industry and her performance in Dunki will surely get her some more good roles hopefully. As for Vikram Kochhar, I have seen his comedic performance previously in Sumit Sambhal Lega (family entertainer, must-watch if available on any platform). Anil Grover was a new actor for me, and I surely enjoyed watching his comedic and emotional journey in the film.
  4. The entire process and struggle of the entire Dunki/Donkey process was wonderfully presented on the screen. The way the group travels from India to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Iran and then to England looked harsh and cruel to watch on the screen, considering the fact that this happens in real life. The way we see the group travelling through adverse conditions, facing the cruelty of people they meet looks gut-wrenching to imagine if one has to travel like this. Even after reaching England, the struggle doesn’t stop as they are not citizens of that respected country, if they have a visa, authorities can ask them for the college or university they are enrolled in, if not they will be deported back; and if they do not have a visa, it gets even worse.
  5. The bittersweet ending of the movie leaves the audience with a strong memory of the movie. We get to know that Manu is suffering from a brain tumour for which she was taking treatment at the beginning of the movie and has nearly 1 month left, and as Hardy’s strangely successful plan of his friends’ migration back to India takes place, we never get to see Hardy and Manu together. But the sweet part comes later when we see Hardy, Buggu and Balli planning a good future for themselves in their village itself and a fraudster approaches them to provide them with Dunki to live their remaining lives abroad, that is where the director leaves the audience with a smile and the movie finishes.
Shah Rukh Khan | Hardy | Dunki | It's Review Time

4 things I disliked about Dunki:

  1. The first half of the movie feels slow and staggering to watch. All the characters are on their joyful ride until death occurs. Jokes are being thrown all around without the understanding of how things will take place in the remaining time. Even when the Dunki process began and ended in England, the entire process felt short-lived and could have been explored more.
  2. As for Taapse Panu, we see glimpses of over-acting from her in a few shots. Although she had a splendid performance in the entire movie, she has a long way to go to polish her skills as an actress and become one of the top lots among the best performers and actors.
  3. There was a shot in the movie where the group had to dive into the water and travel through an area while they were submerged in the water. The VFX in that particular scene could have been better. I expect a wonderful VFX from Red Chillies Entertainment (owned by Shah Rukh Khan himself). If the VFX team was having trouble shooting those scenes, I believe that they could have been performed and shot on a constructed set as well.
  4. There were a couple of scenes where I could spot the irregularities of technology for the year 1995 that were presented in the movie. As Hardy and Manu are watching a movie in a movie parlour, the size of the TV is way bigger than what was available at those times. The TV that was shown to us was available a decade later in the Indian market.
    While Hardy, Manu and Buggu are on their donkey process, we see them getting off a ship filled with containers and cars. In that particular scene, the cars the group is hiding between were Kia Carens, which was launched in the year 2022.
Shah Rukh Khan | Hardy | Dunki | It's Review Time