Yatharth Sinha (R Madhavan) and Sanchi Sinha (Khushalii Kumar) are a couple who were once happy but now fight continuously. At a time when Yatharth is away, a fugitive terrorist, Haq Gul (Aparkshakti Khurana), breaks into their posh Mumbai home and takes Sanchi hostage. Pursuing him is the dedicated cop, ACP Harishchandra Malik (Darshan Kumaar) who will do everything possible to recover the criminal. But all is not what it seems. Sanchi apparently suffers from severe mental trauma and suffers from multiple personality disorder. The terrorist may have a gun, but that doesn’t make him immune to her charms. And the husband also seems to have his own secrets. Now the situation has become a waiting game, a four-way Mexican showdown between hostage, terrorist, cop, and husband.
Dhokha: Round D Corner is full of twists that reveal themselves at regular intervals. The film is told through a multi-narrative format. Each main character tells the story with attached embellishments. Soon, different versions of the truth are circulating and you don’t know which story to believe. You learn that each character follows their own agenda. Even the highlight doesn’t completely make the image crystal clear but keeps a few strands hanging. It’s a film where nothing is completely black or white. We encounter shades of gray. Nobody is totally sinner and nobody is totally innocent either. It’s an interesting premise to be sure. Director Kookie Gulati used black elements. Film noir has told us that human beings are quite capable of duplicity and that their true nature is revealed when they are given the opportunity to harm themselves. This was also highlighted in the current film. While the writing and directing are otherwise competent, the second half drags a bit. The end credits scenes featuring Aparshakti weren’t really necessary.
The film is Khushalii Kumar’s stepping stone into the acting world. She could have had a soft start starring in a romantic comedy but chose to try a difficult role in a psychological thriller. That says a lot about her confidence that she did. She convincingly plays a woman with a delusional personality disorder. Her role requires her to go from a bored housewife to a seductress, and back to being herself and she does so with no apparent problem. She’s had a great start to her career and let’s see where her journey takes her next.
Darshan Kumar is as dependable as it gets and his tough cop act is up to par. Madhavan has rediscovered himself playing grayed out roles and he’s in his element again here as a husband with plenty of skeletons in his closet. He glides through the role with characteristic panache. Aparshakti plays a naïve and gullible terrorist who loses his mental balance because of the experiences he undergoes. He is known for his comedic roles, but showed here that he can excel in dramatic roles as well.
Dhokha: Round D Corner is a thriller with lots of twists for sure. Watch it if you like psychological thrillers.
Trailer: Dhokha: Round D Corner
Dhaval Roy, September 23, 2022, 03:28 IST
Dhokha: Round D Corner History: A husband and wife duo are on the verge of a divorce when a terrorist invades their home and takes the wife hostage. While the wife suffers from a delusional personality disorder, her husband is accused of cheating on her. Both give different versions of reality. So which of them is lying?
Dhokha: Round D Corner Review: The film cuts to the chase and during the opening song, we discover that once beloved Yatharth Sinha (R Madhavan) and Sanchi Sinha (Khushalii Kumar) are now on the verge of parting ways. After a fight, while Yatharth is on his way to work, a Kashmiri terrorist on the run, Haq Gul (Aparkshakti Khurana), invades their house and takes Sanchi hostage.
When Yatharth sees this on the news and rushes to the apartment complex, he meets ACP Harishchandra Malik (Darshan Kumaar) and tells him that Sanchi is mentally ill and dangerous when she has an episode. Sanchi, on the other hand, tries to persuade Haq that her husband is trying to prove her crazy as he is having an extramarital affair with his psychiatrist.
The situation is similar with Haq Gul and ACP Malik, as they give conflicting versions of the former being a terrorist and a bombing accused. Throughout the film, the audience guesses who is telling the truth.
A suspenseful thriller that relies on situations and dialogue, and is mostly shot in one location, should engage you enough to sit with sustained attention. Director Kookie Gulati’s output leaves a lot to be desired on that front. The movie quickly becomes monotonous and repetitive, though it picks up speed in the second half when things get more confrontational. The big plot twist may seem mind-blowing only to viewers unfamiliar with the genre; the turn of events is rather predictable. The tracks, characters, and backstories aren’t developed enough to be compelling or impactful.
The above is especially true for the character of Sanchi, who suffers from delusional personality disorder. The public has only the word of her husband and psychiatrist to believe, and only one incident hints at her condition. There’s a scene where Yatharth says Sanchi can manipulate anyone to get what she wants, and that’s how vulnerable her mind is. Before you can appreciate that perspective, Malik asks if it’s vulnerability or skill, and both men laugh. This and showing Sanchi as someone who is either manipulative or distressed due to his condition does a disservice to people with mental illnesses, especially those with personality disorders that are rarely adequately understood.
That being said, as a debutante, Khushalii pulls off the dichotomous act of delusional, manipulative, seductive housewife and unstable wife. Aparkshakti is impactful as Gul and effortlessly conveys whether the character is angry, disillusioned, or confused and helpless. It does justice to the twang and appearance of Kashmir. R Madhavan and Darshan Kumaar are good, but this is not the best performance of either of them.
The only two songs – Tu Banke Hawa and Mahi Mera Dil – are melodic, and Mere Dil Gaye Ja (Zooby Zooby) redux when the credits are catchy.
You may enjoy the film for its performances, but if suspense thrillers are your jam, you may feel cheated.