Film Review: Dhokha


Film: Dhokha


Director: Pooja Bhatt


Producer: Mahesh Bhatt


Cast: Muzzamil Ibrahim, Tulip Joshi, Gulshan Grover, Anupam Kher


Rating: 2.5/5


When one is well prepared that the next two hours of cinema are not going to be leave-your-brains-and-enjoy types, you are more receptive to a film like Dhokha. As the promos have already been signaling, this Pooja Bhatt directed film is quiet high on the Muslim perspective (which also means that it may limit audiences in spite of screaming an anti-terrorism slogan.) 


Let’s start with the premise. Dhokha is the story of a young educated rational Indian Muslim cop Zaid Ahmed (Muzammil Ibrahim) whose life is torn apart when he learns that his docile wife Sarah (Tulip Joshi) is blown up in a terrorist attack. But his agony doesn’t end but begin here. Anti-Terrorist cop (Gulshan Grover) digs into the investigations and unravels that Sarah was not just another victim but was ‘the’ suicide bomber who was responsible for the death of 20 innocent lives. 


Not willing to accept the blame that his ‘neak’ wife can be the culprit, Zaid tries to convince otherwise and is hell-bent that only ‘khuda hi muhje vakeen dila sakta hain ki meri Sarah kusurvaar hain’. And soon follow the accusations for being the husband of a terrorist wife, the black spot on the Muslim community for being involved in terrorist activities. The scene where a few localities get down to almost posing threat to Zaid leaves one thinking how irrationally aroused the public can get. 


And just before you feel pity for Sarah being blamed for the mishap (though all the proofs are against her), the humiliated and dejected Zaid comes across a CD which flashes the naked, pulsating truth that it indeed was Sarah who had chosen the path of Jihaad and had really caused the blast! 


What follows in the latter half is how Zaid gets to the root of the entire mystery of how his simple God-fearing wife turned out to be a heinous culprit…. has she betrayed him or was she a mere guinea-pig to vent out vested interests?


The identity of the Indian Muslim has many times haunted Bhatt films, prime example being Zakhm which was set against the city’s 1993 communal riots. Dhoka doesn’t hesitate to lock horns with both kinds of terrorists, in and out of uniform. Also, though this Pooja Bhatt flick may come across as a pro-Muslim film, it can also send anti-Muslim feelers. The confrontation scene between cop Zaid and the leader of the Jeghadi group leave many a question marks for the citizens and the government that when we talk about individuals who are terrorists; we have to first acknowledge that we created them.


Pooja’s last film as a director, Holiday may have been a debacle but it can certainly be said that she has made a conscious attempt to arouse the same sentiments that her critically acclaimed film Zakhm had instigated. But..but..but that doesn’t mean that it sure-shot spells good news at the box office. 


Dhokha does have its glaring flaws like not boasting of big names in the lead. Agreed that debutant Muzzamil had done a decent and sincere job for his part but for a hard hitting subject like Dhokha, an impactful name and performer would have made a vast difference. 


Talking about the model-turned-actor Muzzamil, what will pump his fate in this industry is a strong author-backed role in his CV which is a rare these days for freshers. And it seems actor Tulip Joshi will soon be typecasted as the bechari, suffering abala nari. After her Matroobhumi act, Dhohka once again showcases in the same bracket. However, she carries off the mystifying character smoothly (even when she’s hardly got two-three lines to utter in the film). Special mention and brownie points for the scene where Tulip is humiliated in front of her family by a lecherous cop. That turning point was enough to send shivers down your spine and change many perceptions.


The supporting cast that’s Anupam Kher comes in latter half of the film. Though he gets barely a few minuets of screen space, just one scene in this film was adequate to justify his presence. For that matter, even opting for bad man Ashutosh Rana for a small but pivotal role in Dhokha deserves a pat. What leaves me deprived is the choice Manish Makhija (director sahiba’s hubby) as the Jehadi leader. Forget being scary and controlling, he didn’t even come across as a person who could harm a fly! Come on Pooja, sacrificing credibility for home grounds? 


The screenplay and dialogues, which could have been the strongest weapon of this anti-terrorist film, didn’t match up to the fiery levels required. And can someone please explain how a suicide-bomber’s face can be picture perfect after the blast, when the body itself gets shredded into minute pieces!!! Even the most bankable element of a film, it’s music didn’t entertain the audience. M. M. Kreem’s compositions though melodious fail to be memorable. 


In a nutshell, as Dhokha doesn’t bear the onus of being a high budget and much-awaited film, unlike RVG’s Aag, guess it will sail across for sometime. But whether it will meet the same success of Pooja Bhatt’s Jism is difficult to say. Our verdict: This is a film won’t make you happy – it will make you think.  Be prepared and you won’t regret shelling you time and dough.