‘Dhak Dhak’ Review: A rare film about biker women races your hearts and spirits

Director Tarun Dudeja’s ‘Dhak Dhak’ is about four women going on an epic bike expedition. How this becomes a trip of self-discovery forms the story. Read our review.

'Dhak Dhak' Review

Release Date:13 Oct, 2023

In the quest to influence people, aesthetics might not always be the foremost factor; instead, a compelling story holds the real power. One such captivating tale is ‘Dhak Dhak,’ which revolves around the journey of four women from diverse backgrounds embarking on a road trip to Khardung La point near Leh, each astride her own motorcycle. Yes, you read that correctly – women on bikes, living life on their own terms. The very thought is enough to make your heart go ‘Dhak Dhak.’ Let’s delve into how this film has fared!

Meet Sky, portrayed by Fatima Sana Shaikh, a YouTuber exceptionally skilled at her craft, but grappling with the aftermath of cyber harassment and a broken relationship. She is determined to establish her unique identity and break free from the shackles of embarrassment and shame. Sky places her bet on a Barcelona Expo, where she assembles a team of three more remarkable women, each with a story waiting to inspire and move everyone. Among these women is Mahi, played by Ratna Pathak Shah, a woman in her 60s starved of attention and love. Joining the team is Umza, brought to life by Dia Mirza, whose spirit has been oppressed by her patriarchal husband, and Manjari, portrayed by Sanjana Sanghi, who is still cocooned, having been raised by a single mother.

'Dhak Dhak' Review

What makes ‘Dhak Dhak’ truly compelling is that each of these women is endowed with a rich character arc, carefully fleshed out to help the audience understand their respective journeys. The writer and director, Tarun Dudeja, has sensitively crafted robust backstories for these characters without demonizing any particular gender. They all bear the marks of conditioning by a patriarchal society, yet the film’s message doesn’t overwhelm or become too explicit. Instead, it’s subtle and thought-provoking. Tarun also ingeniously utilizes the backdrop of streets and wall art to send out timely reminders.

The film’s strength lies in its genuine desire to let the characters savor the journey, the camaraderie, and the destination. It refrains from relying on gimmicks, and its authenticity shines through in its straightforward screenplay. This authenticity is beautifully complemented by an excellent cast who have embraced their roles with gusto. Their on-screen camaraderie is palpable, and their banter is undeniably endearing. Despite the age gap between them in real life, it feels organic and natural.

'Dhak Dhak' Review

Ratna Pathak Shah, as Mahi, is nothing short of a star. Her portrayal exudes elegance and flair, capturing the essence of a Punjabi woman who straddles the line between conservatism and modernity with finesse. Dia Mirza brings a profound sense of vulnerability and serenity to Umza, and her portrayal of a woman striving to reclaim her lost confidence is truly commendable. Fatima Sana Shaikh embodies Sky with an uncanny ease, and her performance in scenes that require emotional depth is particularly noteworthy. Sanjana Sanghi delivers her role as a ‘coming-of-age woman’ from a small town with remarkable credibility. Together, these talented actresses make us laugh and perhaps even shed a tear or two.

However, it’s worth noting that the film does feel a tad lengthy in its content. A more concise screenplay might have been the icing on the cake. The background music, while effective in some parts, is mostly forgettable. Nevertheless, the visuals and cinematography compensate for these minor shortcomings.

In a nutshell, ‘Dhak Dhak’ is a film that revs up your heart and spirit, urging you to set out on a journey of self-discovery. As Mahi wisely puts it in the film, “you can find happiness the moment you open your eyes.

Here’s the trailer: