‘DASHMI’ REVIEW | 16 February, 2024

3S Movies’ Dashmi (UA) is the story of a group of friends who take law into their hands to teach rapists a lesson of a lifetime. Some rapists have gone scot-free after committing the heinous crime. A close-knit group of friends decides to teach such criminals a lesson after the system has let them roam freely. They choose Vijayadashmi as the day to mete out justice to the evil men.

Sohail (Vardhan Puri), Sachin (Gaurav Sareen), Shrushti (Monica Chaudhary), Rishabh (Ankit Khera) and Tejas (Tirth Bhanushali) decide to take law into their own hands when they see rapists misusing law and going scot-free after raping young girls, in some cases minor girls. They catch the culprits and make them confess to their crime, make such confessions viral, and kidnap the rapists. Simultaneously, they have announced a live Dassera function, which people are looking forward to. The police commissioner (Rajesh Jais) assigns ACP Krishnakant Yadav (Aadil Khan) the task of arresting the group of friends for kidnapping the rapists. But the ACP and his team find it difficult to trace the group till they burn the rapists on Vijayadashmi day, just like one burns Ravana. What’s more, this burning of the rapists is streamed live on social media.

Shantanu Anant Tambe’s story lacks novelty as dramas about well-meaning citizens taking law into their own hands and delivering justice have been seen in earlier films too. His screenplay doesn’t impress if only because the police are shown to go after well-meaning citizens without even considering that their means may be wrong but the intentions are noble. Of course, the ACP does appreciate this point but that happens in the end while the audience has appreciated the same point much, much earlier. Because of this dichotomy, the viewers are not one with the ACP who, in a way, is the hero, just like the group of friends. Frankly, it was the failure of the judiciary, which had led to the rapists being left to roam scot-free. But here, even the police are shown to be heartless. In other words, the writer is confused about whom he wants to put the blame on. Besides, the investigations by the ACP and his team are so laid-back that one feels, the commissioner has given him not just 24 hours to book the culprits but rather 24 months! The scene in which the ACP gets the rape victims and their families and coaxes them to reveal the identity of the group of friends is so insensitive (in the way it has been written and handled) that it shows the ACP in poor light. The audience are convinced that since the police cannot take action against the rape victims, they would never reveal the names of the persons who were actually helping them get justice by kidnapping the rapists. Yet, the ACP can’t understand such a basic thing! It is because of such blatant errors in the screenplay that even the emotions don’t touch the heart. Shantanu Anant Tambe’s dialogues are so-so.

A word about acting in general before talking about the specific performances. Most of the actors overact to the hilt. Vardhan Puri does an average job as Sohail. Gaurav Sareen is ordinary as Sachin. Aadil Khan doesn’t get the attitude right to convey the urgency of his mission. Otherwise, his performance is average. Khushi Hajare is cute and confident as Dashmi. Monica Chaudhary has just one expression on her face in the role of Shrushti. Tirth Bhanushali is good in the role of Tejas. Ankit Khera (as Rishabh) is okay. Swati Semwal is quite earnest as the ACP’s assistant, Ridhima. Daljiet Kaur does a fair job as Suman, wife of the ACP. Rajesh Jais lends routine support as the police commissioner. Manoj Singh Tiger is ordinary as Pandey. Sanjay Pandey makes his mark as M.P. Tripathi. Midhat Khan provides routine support as the chief minister. Ram Naresh Diwakar (as Kanojia), Aishwariya Anishka (as Monu), Shahbaaz Bade (as Shivam), Charul Malik (as Charul), Kailash Pal (as Maulana Ahmed Rizvi), Debaashish Mishra (as Swami Satyanand), Tanuj Vyas (as Baba Cheteshwar), Vinod Nair (as Father D’Mello), Dhanesh Dogra (as Dr. Abdul Siddiqui), Tejpal Yadav (as Bijendra Gupta), Muneer Ahmed (as Khurshid), Manish Garg (as V.K. Rai), Pradeep Solanki (as Prof. Aseem), Chaitali Jadhav (as Shanti), Varsha Sharma (as Rupali), Abhishek Yadav (as Preet), Prachi Bisht (as Vaidehi), Aarifa Siddiqui (as Shweta), Kumkum Parmar (as Janhvi), Diya Shukla (as Radhika), Smruti Chaudhary (as Sara), Harsiddhi Soni (as Sneha Jain), Vrinda Thakkar (as Lisa), Rimisha Mishra (as Devika), Vidhaan Sharma (as Devensh, son of ACP Krishnakant Yadav), Saie Rewadikar (as Shruti, daughter of ACP Krishnakant Yadav), Manisha Chitrode (as Devika’s mother), Fareen Shaikh (as Janhvi’s sister), Abhishek Singh (as Brahmanand), Ayushi Gupta (as Sumitra), Nadeem Sheikh (as Santosh), Garima Kapoor (as Sonal), Utkarsh Chaudhary (as Jamil), Ayushi Sabharwal (as ACP’s team member), Satyam Mishra (as Jhuman khabri), Pramod Kumar, Aditya Dubey, Ankit Sharma and Rohit Soni (all four as rapists), Unnanti Panigrahy (as Vaishnavi), Santosh Sable (as the Hindu leader), Dilip Sharma (as the Maulana in the debate), Deepak Rawat (as the church Father in the debate), Neetu Bhatt (as the social worker in the debate), Azad Kumar (as the tea vendor), Hafizur Rehman (as Shaikh), and the others pass muster.

Shantanu Anant Tambe’s direction is ordinary. Shabbir Ahmed’s music is average while his lyrics are meaningful. Ranju Varghese’s choreography is just about passable. Prasad Sashte’s background music is functional. M. Ravichandran Thevar’s cinematography is so-so. Deven Subhash Pawar’s production designing, and Raj Rahedas’ art direction hardly deserve separate mention. Mukesh Thakur’s editing is loose.

On the whole, Dashmi is so dull that it stands no chance at the box-office.

Released on 16-2-’24 at Metro Inox (daily 1 show) and other cinemas of Bombay thru White Lion Entertainment. Publicity & opening: poor. …….Also released all over. Opening was weak everywhere.