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Critics’ Review Roundup: Post-Diwali Period Marked by Slump at the Box-Office

While films like Sooryavanshi and Annaatthe that released for Diwali continue to rake in collections at the box office, movies that came out since then have not made as big a mark. However, the Akshay Kumar and Rajinikanth starrers brought the audiences back to cinemas in large numbers and definitely helped reassure producers, many of whose films are set for theatrical releases in December.


Meanwhile, several films continue to premiere on streaming platforms.

Silverscreen India brings to you this compilation of reviews of the films that released in the last week, both online as well as in cinemas.

Dhamaka (Hindi, Netflix)

Kartik Aaryan‘s Dhamaka is based on the 2013 Korean film The Terror Live. “When a cynical ex-TV news anchor gets an alarming call on his radio show, he sees a chance for a career comeback – but it may cost him his conscience,” reads Netflix’s official synopsis.

The Ram Madhvani directorial also features actors Mrunal Thakur, Amruta Subhash, Vishwajeet Pradhan, and Vikas Kumar in prominent roles.

For Sinndhuja of Silverscreen India, while the film follows an inconceivable and entirely irrational sequence of events, “Dhamaka’s strength lies in its pacing, and not dwelling on a plot feature for a moment longer than it needs to.” She felt the story, though improbable, provides quick, undemanding entertainment.

Anupama Chopra of Film Companion felt the film is essentially a vehicle for Aaryan to “show that he can do more than deliver monologues with aplomb.” She appreciated the actor for stepping out of his boy-next-door comfort zone and showing flashes of seriousness and depth that he hasn’t revealed before. However, the film, she found, has scenario that is too outlandish and writing, too ordinary.

Devansh Sharma of Firstpost reflected similar views and called the film a one-man show. He added that the film is “hurried, dramatic, and loud, and ends up being like the monster it is trying to kill.”

Dhamaka has a current IMDb rating of 8.2.

Aaha (Malayalam)

Bibin Paul Samuel’s Aaha is a Malayalam film that deals with tug-of-war, a popular local sport in Kerala.

It features actors Ashwin Kumar, Indrajith Sukumaran, and Manoj K Jayan, among others.


Aswathy Gopalakrishnan of Silverscreen India found the film predictable yet enjoyable. “Aaha manages to strike a delicate balance in its narrative that most sports dramas miss,” she wrote.

However, she added that it is set in a predominantly male universe, where woman and their woes are invisible.

The film has an IMDb rating of 9.1.

Bunty Aur Babli 2 (Hindi)

The sequel to the 2005 film Bunty Aur Babli revolves around the titular pair, who “are forced out of retirement after a spate of robberies with their trademark sigil start appearing across India,” according to IMDb.

The Varun Sharma directorial stars Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan, Siddhant Chaturvedi, and Sharvari. While the first part featured Abhishek Bachchan as Bunty, Khan replaced him in Bunty Aur Babli 2.

Anupama Chopra of Film Companion said that while the film has a clever set up with enough potential to create a franchise, the actors have little to work with. “The plot is repetitive and the dialogue forgettable,” she wrote.

Devansh Sharma of Firstpost, wrote that the film is “sincere in its attempt to keep the brand alive and continue the narrative organically. But it chooses to ignore all the signs, all the red flags, and decides to cover them up under a flashy exterior.”

The critical response to the film was also reflected its performance at the box-office. Bunty Aur Babli 2 opened to poor collections of only Rs 2.5 to 2.75 crores on Friday, according to a Box Office India report. Its day two collection remained the same. Though films starring Mukerji typically do well in West Bengal, this film did not fare nearly as well in the state as the actor’s previous films like Hichki and Mardaani 2.

Bunty Aur Babli 2 has an IMDb rating of 4.0.

Sabhaapathy (Tamil)

Santhanam-starrer Sabhaapathy revolves around “a man with a speech impairment who wants to get a girl, and tries to to fight for it,” according to IMDb.

Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion wrote that the film’s main problem lies in its underdeveloped characters. Despite some poignant moments, she found that “the film is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that it immediately throws everything in the air and breaks the rhythm.”


Sudhir Srinivasan of The New Indian Express, reflected similar views and wrote that while the film pretends to be sensitive about Sabhaapathy’s speech disability, “we only need to examine its treatment of other types of vulnerabilities to understand whether it truly cares.”

The film holds an IMDb rating of 7.2.

Pon Manickavel (Tamil, Disney+ Hotstar)

The Prabhu Deva and Nivetha Pethuraj-starrer is a cop-drama that the director AC Mugil Chellappan described as “emotional action thriller.”

“When a high-profile murder rocks Chennai, the police are baffled by brutality of the crime. The only person who can help them is someone who has given up as a cop,” reads Disney+ Hotstar’s official synopsis.

According to Ranjani Krishnakumar of Film Companion, the film’s protagonist is an addition to the “long line of men in uniform with an insatiable god-complex.” Calling the film “unwatchable,” she noted that while it deals with the topic of sexual violence against women, it hardly has any women characters who contribute to the plot.


Ashameera Aiyappan of Firstpost too questioned the glorification of the policeman and “his arbitrary mode of vigilante justice.” She added that the writing is so listless that the unnecessary songs felt like welcome breaks.

Pon Manickavel has an IMDb rating of 4.9.


Apart from the aforementioned films, Arun Vijay‘s Borrder also released in cinemas. And Kristen Stewart-starrer Spencer, directed by Pablo Larrain, was one of the few Hollywood releases this past week.