Das ka Dhamki, actor-director Vishwak Sen’s new Telugu film in which he plays a dual role and also shares the writing credits with Prasanna Kumar Bezawada, has a shape-shifting story that tries to tick many boxes. It tries to be a breezy romance, a comedy that rides on wordplay, an underdog story of a lower-middle-class protagonist and a thriller that aims to keep its audience guessing at every turn. Does it work?
This is Vishwak’s second film as a director after Falaknuma Das, the Telugu adaptation of Angamaly Diaries. Das ka Dhamki begins like a regular story of a no-frills protagonist — Krishna Das (Vishwak Sen) — who works in a five-star hotel along with his friends (played by Hyper Aadhi and Mahesh Achanta) whom he refers to as ‘amma’ and ‘nana’ since they have always stood by him since childhood. The laughs keep coming at frequent intervals and the narrative does not try to take itself seriously. Not yet.
Time and again the trio is reminded that they belong to the ‘footpath’. They hoodwink and try to live beyond their means like the well-heeled who visited the hotel. Das is keen to keep up the facade longer than he intended when Keerthy (Nivetha Pethuraj) comes into the picture. For a brief while, the film remains in the zone of a breezy romance peppered by Hyper Aadhi and Mahesh’s fun lines and these portions, even if not smart, pack in reasonable fun.
Das ka Dhamki
Cast: Vishwak Sen, Nivetha Pethuraj
Direction: Vishwak Sen
Music: Leon James, Ram Miriyala
The tonal shift occurs when newer characters are introduced. A pharmaceutical company that has been working on a miracle pill to cure all types of cancers has plenty of business at stake. Dr Sanjay Rudra (also Vishwak Sen) is in the centre of this world surrounded by characters enacted by Rao Ramesh, Pruthvi, Muralidhar Goud, and several others.
The happy-go-lucky Krishna Das is thrown into a situation that gives him a sense of purpose in life. However, nothing is what it seems to be. The later hour of the film revels in peeling back different layers of the story to reveal one twist after another. However, you stop rooting for the characters after a point as the twists get tiresome.
It’s appreciable that most principal characters aren’t stark black or white. Ideally, their shades of grey can help to add a lot of intrigue to the story. Vishwak gets ample bandwidth to showcase his acting prowess and showcase a range of emotions as the twists and turns keep happening at regular intervals. He goes from being an underdog to a scheming businessman swiftly. But all this becomes an overdose like an indulgent showreel. The discourse about cancer cure crops up whenever the story deems it convenient. Rohini is wasted in an insignificant part.
The film ends with the scope for a sequel. That one will require a lot of thinking to do.