Dasvi movie review: Abhishek Bachchan is A+, but film struggles for a passing score
Dasvi movie review: Abhishek Bachchan may have delivered a worthy performance but the film fails to make the right impact.
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it... this quite appropriately sums up the thought that Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Dasvi builds on. With all good intentions to educate and entertain the audience, Dasvi somewhere falls prey to its own chaos and confusion and ends up all over the place. Director Tushar Jalota has mixed too many elements to convey one simple message, and it loses focus way more often than you would expect. As a result, the inconsistent storytelling makes the film appear half-baked and ineffective. (Also read: Gullak season 3 review: This slice-of-life series manages a rare feat, keeps getting better each season)
The film traces the life of a brash, illiterate and corrupt chief minister Ganga Ram Chaudhary (Abhishek Bachchan), who, for his unexplained criminal records, including an educational scam, is sent to judicial custody. While he's imprisoned, his docile and timid wife Bimla Devi (Nimrat Kaur) takes over the chief minister's chair in fictional Hamit Pradesh and begins to love the power it brings. Meanwhile, the minister is taken to task inside the jail when a strict and lawful cop Jyoti Deswal (Yami Gautam) is appointed as the new superintendent. It's after an altercation between these two when Jyoti calls Ganga 'anpadh gawaar' and he takes up the challenge of completing his Class 10 exam. This comes with a condition that if he fails to clear the exam, he won't take the chair of CM again. Ganga needs to pass both these tests - inside the jail and outside where his wife has just become quite intent on keeping the chair he asked her to fill for him.
Even though Dasvi has its heart at the right place and wants to send out a strong message, it lacks execution and average writing further weakens it. The fantastic first half is laced with a lot of socio-political satire and comic punches that trigger genuine laughter. But it falls flat in the second half that turns more preachy and looks a tad dragged too.
Giving clever references to Taare Zameen Par (dyslexia), Rang De Basanti (stories of freedom fighters) and Lage Raho Munna Bhai (seeing characters come alive when you read about them in books) - Dasvi tries hard to engage you but never really seems consistent in the process. The characters are given such a caricaturish look that no matter how hard you try, you don't believe them for what they are doing.
Writers Suresh Nair and Ritesh Shah don't really bring any magic with their dialogues or story. At one point, you actually wonder if a politician so addicted to a life of crime have a change of heart overnight? But the film never takes the pain of delving into that transformation. The only thing consistent is the on-point Haryanvi dialect that each character has picked with its nuances. It doesn't look forced or awkward at any point. The scene in which where Nimrat takes the CM's oath and reads out her speech is particularly hilarious.
Abhishek Bachchan as the pagdi-tying chief minister is impressive and owns the screen but only to an extent because his character arc is not backed by great writing. It's a character that is loaded with all the stereotypes of how you would expect an Indian politician to be. That leaves very little scope for Abhishek to shine even when he is well capable of doing so.
Nimrat Kaur is the highlight of the film without doubt. As the housewife-turned-politician, who has now tasted power and fame and is in no mood to let go of her chair and position, she totally nails the part and wins over you. The way her style transforms was a bit much to digest but she lights up the screen with her wit and convincing portrayal of Bimla Devi. As a fiery and strict jailor, Yami Gautam delivers an earnest performance and she definitely deserves an applause for her recent choice of roles that are breaking the clutter. She's tough and loud in some scenes and restrained in others.
Another thing that doesn't quite register is the chemistry or equation between Abhishek and Nimrat's characters. It remains superficial for most of the story and you wish there was some more focus on that part too. Nonetheless, there are some heartwarming scenes between Yami and Abhishek but they fizzle out even before you take notice.
Dasvi had a strong subject at hand, to focus on the importance of education, especially for our politicians, but in never really translates and remains limited to the silly treatment of its characters.
Dasvi is available on Netflix.
Director: Tushar Jalota
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Nimrat Kaur, Yami Gautam