Shah Rukh Khan’s latest movie, ‘Dunki,’ a blend of heart-wrenching and heart-warming moments, beautifully captures the issue of modern brain drain, resonating deeply within and beyond Nepal.

Raj Kumar Hirani, the filmmaker of hits like ‘3 Idiots,’ ‘PK,’ and ‘Sanju,’ has yet again delivered a movie that is nothing short of spectacular.

Hirani, as usual, fleshes out the characters in a way that deeply resonates with the audience. No matter how little screen time they get, each character shines brightly.

Always delving into social issues, Hirani has crafted ‘Dunki’ to present the contemporary scenario of people leaving their country, searching for a better life.

However, the unpretentious contrast between life in foreign countries and the portrayal in social media has been wonderfully presented.

Each actor skillfully navigates the dual challenge of portraying their character’s younger and older versions, bringing a unique depth and continuity to their roles.

Enchanting the audience with its compelling narrative, the movie makes you laugh and cry.

In Short

‘Dunki’ perfectly depicts the struggles of not just the illegal immigrants but also the legal immigrants in foreign countries. With his usual storytelling charm, Hirani has utilized all the big names, captivating the audience. Vicky Kaushal, in particular, shines in the movie.

Dunki Spoiler Review

‘Dunki’ grips its audience from the very start, opening with the compelling narrative of three Indians – Taapsee Pannu as Manu Basgeet Randhawa, Vikram Kochhar as Balindar ‘Buggu’ Lakhanpal, and Anil Grover as Balli Kakkad – each driven by a fueling desire to return to India.

However, it is soon revealed that they can not receive an Indian visa, compelling the grey-haired Indians to reach out to their old friend, Hardayal “Hardy” Sukhdev Singh Dhillon, portrayed by Shah Rukh Khan.

A different touch from his usual action in 2023, King Khan radiates dazzlingly in ‘Dunki.’ Hardy is participating in a race but drops out when he learns Manu has called him from London, creating an enigma about their relationship to the audience.

Manu tells Hardy they can not get a visa to India and asks him to meet them in Dubai. While they are on a plane to Dubai, the narration style shifts to flashback, clearing all questions the audience has.

All three of them, struggling to make a living in India to support their family, want to leave the country but can not get a visa, a parallel to their present selves.

They cross paths with a character named Sukhi Mangal, portrayed by Vicky Kaushal, who leaves a lasting impression with his limited yet captivating appearance.

Sukhi, driven by a deep love for Jassi, is determined to reach London and rescue her from an abusive marriage. Tragically, his plans are derailed when his visa application is rejected.

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, the despairing Jassi takes her own life, leaving Sukhi grappling with the devastating consequences of a dream unfulfilled and a love lost.

Dunki Spoiler Review
Dunki refers to those who enter a country illegally. (Source: IMDb)

Confronted with the news of Jassi’s suicide, Sukhi burns himself. Fueled with the determination to reach England following the event, Hardy promises to scatter his ashes in London so that he can be with Jassi in the afterlife.

Learning that the road to London legally is full of hurdles, they decide to take the Dunki routine — an illegal way to enter a country passing several borders.

With the help of Hardy, they reach England through the dunki route, losing three friends along the way.

In London, they confront the harsh realities of life abroad, where immigrants grapple with the daily struggle to earn a living and constantly fight for their existence.

While Hardy wants to return to his homeland, where he knows he would not have to fight to live, the three realize their life was not better in India.

With the help of a lawyer, the three get asylum in London, attesting their lives are in danger in India. Hardy, who refused to do is deported back to India.

Having testified that their lives were in danger in India, they found themselves unable to return, even after 25 years. In that time, they achieved what they had initially set out to do – vastly improving the lives of their families.

Suffering from a brain tumor, Manu was given a month to live by the doctors. With the help of Hardy again, the three return to India.

None of them had married. So, Hardy proposes to Manu under the Big Ben he had erected on the roof of her house. However, before answering, Manu takes her last breath.

‘Dunki’ masterfully balances tear-jerking moments with bursts of humor. This perfect equilibrium between laughter and sorrow keeps the audience emotionally engaged throughout.

For me, Vicky Kaushal, despite his limited appearance, stole the show. Thanks to his next-level performance, he has fond my respect and that of millions of cinema lovers worldwide.

Dunki Mirrors Modern Nepal

With the recent uproar in students going abroad in search of better opportunities, dunki — entering a country illegally — is a prevalent problem in Nepal.

Manu and her friends drooled about life in England based on the pictures sent by Balli, who got a student visa, find him begging on the streets.

Even after finding out life in England was not what they had imagined, it was better than their life in India, which is the same for so many Nepalese students compelled to leave their country at a tender age.

You will love the movie if you or someone you know is abroad. It will give you a different perspective on life there, contrasting with what is shown on social media.

You might also like: Three Thousand Years of Longing Review: A Mirage of Storytelling

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