First things first. Of late, there has been a new genre in Bollywood which has taken birth. It's called as 'practically religious' genre, under which the myths are broken and superstitions are shattered. Leading the pack are two films, viz., OMG: OH MY GOD! and PK. This week's release DHARAM SANKAT MEIN (which is a self confessed remake of the 2010's British comedy film THE INFIDEL) treads more or less on the similar genre, if not the same. Will this film too 'pray' its way to become a Box-Office hit or will it become a 'prey' to rejection, let's analyze.
During a sudden turn of events, Dharampal accidentally attracts the backlash of Muslims who come out to attack him. Having left with no other options, he reveals in front of everyone (including his family) that he is actually a Muslim by birth, which shocks and stuns everyone alike. The revelation results in his family abandoning him. When left all alone, he stumbles upon a startling truth about Neel Anand Baba, which changes the course of the film totally upside down! What was it about Neel Anand Baba that changes the course of the film completely, does Dharampal's family ever come back to him, does he ultimately manage to meet his aging father and does Dharampal's son get to marry the girl whom he loves… is what forms the rest of the film.
In totality, the film 'religiously' serves as an eye opener to a handful of religious myths and facts. And for this, the full credit goes to the film's director Fuwad Khan, who, after working as a cinematographer on many films, makes his directorial debut with DHARAM SANKAT MEIN. One has to say that he really manages to leave a mark with his debut. Despite having touched upon a very religiously sensitive topic, he has tried his level best to keep the film as simple as possible and doesn't go overboard. There are a few moments in the film which makes the film lag, but the film's script (David Baddiel) helps it to sail through. Because the viewers have already witnessed OMG: OH MY GOD and PK much before DHARAM SANKAT MEIN, the comparisons and the similarities are bound to be there. While the viewers are treated to a very engaging first half, the 'abruptness' and the 'amateur climax' of the second half, takes the steam out of the film.
As far as the performances are concerned, no prizes for guessing as to who is the star of the film! It's indeed a Paresh Rawal film all the way, who makes absolutely no mistakes at all and comes out a winner by all means. His performance is absolutely flawless and sincere. A close second is Naseeruddin Shah, who, yet again, delivers a very commendable performance and ensures that he doesn't go overboard with his character. The third powerhouse performer in the film is Annu Kapoor, who is back in form after his memorable performance in VICKY DONOR. He too delivers such a flawless and believable performance. What is remarkable about this trio of veteran actors is that, despite having oodles of experiences tucked under their belt, they do not tend to eat each other's space. Needless to say that, in a film of this stature, there is no scope for a full-fledged 'heroine'. Alka Kaushal and the girl who plays Paresh's daughter in the film are good. Murli Sharma is decent.
Even though the film's music (Meet Bros Anjjan, Sachin Gupta, Jatinder Shah, D J Kiran) is not the film's mainstay, it cannot be termed as bad either. It's actually the film's background music (Sachin Gupta) that binds the film together as one. The film's editing (Apurva Asrani) is crisp and watertight, while its cinematography (Anshuman Mahaley) complements the film's script totally. Special brownie points to the film's dialogue writers (Alpesh Dixit, Sanjay Sharma, Vijay Desai), for having come up with (timely) one liners that invokes a chuckle or two.
On the whole, DHARAM SANKAT MEIN should be watched for its sheer simplicity and also for the message that has been conveyed through the film.