Dobaaraa Movie Review: Mind Bending Stuff from Anurag Kashyap; A First for Indian Cinema

Time travel in stories is popular as a western phenomenon. Though Asian creators have tried effecting such plots, they haven’t found complete success. As an Indian, I don’t remember when was the last time I walked into a theater to watch a thriller purely based on a parallel universe.

But as they say, there is always a first. And none other than the tenacious Indian storyteller, Anurag Kashyap, who has a great hold of the country’s sentimental nerves, has come with a new film, Dobaaraa or 2:12 or Do baaraa (it’s pretty tough to stick to one name).

The film’s trailer was well received by the audiences but did Dobaaraa truly live up to the hype it created with the promos? Hop on, and read my review of the ‘purported’ thriller.

For my non-hindi audiences, “Dobaaraa” means “again.”

Dobaaraa Review Summary

The silver screen experience of Dobaaraa is an eclectic unification of innovation and creativity. Though the film is based on another movie, it easily manages to have a separate fan base. You can expect the promised thrill and suspense.

Dobaaraa Synopsis

After moving into a new apartment, Antara discovers a tattered television from the 90s. She manages to turn it on and conversates with a child from 26 years ago. How the discovery throttles her life is what Dobaaraa explores vehemently.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap, Dobaaraa is based on the 2018 Spanish film, Mirage. It stars Taapsee Pannu (Antara), Pavail Gulati (Anand), Saswata Chatterjee (Raja Ghosh), Himanshi Choudhry (Sheela), Rahul Bhat (Vikas), and Arrian Sawant (Anay) in lead roles.

What Works for Dobaaraa?

Screenplay

A kid riding a bicycle with a headlight during rough weather at night. What does this remind you of? I had some faint Stranger Things vibes while watching the initial scene unfold in Dobaaraa. Coming to the main topic, the movie has a scintillating screenplay, well facilitated by the background score.

Anurag Kashyap successfully builds a multi-layered narrative that is not too popular in Indian Cinema. Dobaaraa could well be the advance we need to make in storytelling. It stimulates you from within and hits all the right chords while bringing a spectacular cinematic experience.

The movie combines thrill, chill, and suspense, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Though I genuinely feel the background music was unusually bombarding at times, it was mainly on the right side.

Scintillating Plot

Thrillers usually rely on aptness. A filmmaker cannot afford to overdo things. They have to ensure all the ingredients are there as per the requirement of the story. Imagine if emotions are needed, but suspense is delivered, if thrill is needed, but love is delivered. It will dilute the experience to a large extent, which is why thrill and suspense cannot be successfully adapted by clumsy creators.

Intricacy, articulateness, and fervor are required to come out on top. And Anurag Kashyap has them all. Dobaaraa’s plot never feels dreary or pale. It pulls you into a different realm and then produces something special, which is almost new for Indian Cinema.

Full marks to the writer.

Thrill and Suspense

Though I have already mentioned this point above, the only reason I want to raise it independently is because thrill is at the core of Dobaaraa. The movie forays into a universe of goosebump-worthy moments, especially during the second half.

Suspense overtakes your imagination, and you want to be the Sherlock of Dobaaraa’s case. Yes, we have seen stories based on time travel in the past on various OTT platforms, but the big screen experience is simply superb.

Furthermore, your adrenaline will be busy throughout the second half.

Direction

Anurag Kashyap is known for rooted Indian stories, mostly falling in the crime or political genres. However, he surprised everyone with Manmarziyaan. And now, when Dobaaraa is out there to be judged by all, Kashyap advances into a new space.

His Black Friday, Gangs of Wasseypur, and Ugly brought new sentimental intelligence to the masses. Kashyap is someone who believes in novelty and wants to explore what is yet untraversed. With Dobaaraa, the filmmaker again sets a benchmark for himself. And when most Hindi Films rely on commercial aspects, he decides to deliver quality content, knowing it caters to a specific audience.

With Dobaaraa, it is not the content that’s in question; the onus is now on the audience. Kashyap has done his job. Will the movie-going audience support good cinema, as we keep hearing every day?

Performances

Taapsee Pannu as Antara carries Dobaaraa on her shoulders. Talking about her performance would be like repeating the quality of her talent. However, I must appreciate the change of narratives she brings through every outing of hers. In a world where actresses are no more than sidekicks of the male gaze, she has quietly created a unique base for herself.

You will go into the theater, watch her act, come back home, and then realize, oh, who was the male lead? That’s the change we needed for a long time, and when Taapsee Pannu is bringing it, she must be appreciated. It is truly sparkling. Take the last 5-6 theatrical Hindi releases, and you will realize how they were strictly male-dominated.

Pavail Gulati as Anand plays a cop in Dobaaraa. To some extent, he takes off from where he left in Thappad. There, he was contained, reluctant, and had a towering personality. However, this time around, in Dobaaraa, the actor reveals the other sides of his talent.

He efficiently blends new ingredients with the previously portrayed ones and emerges as a winner. Gulati manages to hold himself and creates a separate identity away from the masterclass of Taapsee Pannu.

Saswata Chatterjee, the experienced marvel from Bengal, is at his astounding best in Dobaaraa. Without any heavy dialogues, drop-dead intense scenes, and musical outcries, Chatterjee shines proficiently.

Himanshi Choudhry is finally getting well-deserved attention for her acting prowess. She plays Sheela in the film and never seems out of touch. The age transformation doesn’t look unoriginal, with Choudhry readily doing what is asked of her.

Rahul Bhat is another excellent performer. Similar to Fawad Khan in appearance, Bhat infuses humor and fun into the thrill of Dobaaraa. Out of all the artists in the film, he has the most magnetic personality, obviously, after Taapsee Pannu.

Arrian Sawant is a child actor who plays Anay in Dobaaraa. His outing is remarkable, to say the least. How he carries a matured actor within a childish mindset is a thing to admire.

What Doesn’t Work for Dobaaraa?

Nothing entirely, but the masses might find the first twenty minutes a tad slow. However, it shouldn’t be considered an issue.

Final Word

To be frank, I think Dobaaraa is a litmus test for Indian audiences. It will check whether they truly admire and promote good cinema. I am happy to call Dobaaraa a must-watch for everything, specifically for the new era it aims to bring on the Indian Big Screen.

FAQs

Where will Dobaaraa stream on OTT?

Dobaaraa will release on Netflix.

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