Sanjay Sharma
Screenplay & Dialogues

Alpesh Dixit
Screenplay & Dialogues

Screenplay & Dialogues

Movie Review
Dharam Sankat Mein:Satire Fashion Mein

Satire Fashion Mein


After sex and Shahrukh Khan, satire sells and is a genre that producers keenly put their bets on. While films like Zed Plus indicate towards this trend, it’s actually the bumper success of films like OMG Oh My God! and PK which affirms that cinemagoers also love to laugh their hearts out.


The recent release Dharam Sankat Mein, put together by a debutant director (Fuwad Khan) and four new writers (Sanjay Sharma, Alpesh Dixit, Vijay Desai and Vedish), is another social satire that is loosely woven around communalism and fraudulent god-men. (Owing to a number of recent events, the makers certainly seem to have their timing right for it, one’d say. Well, that’s cinema acting as a social commentary for you!) 


As an official remake of a 2010 British film The Infidel (written by David Baddiel), Dharam Sankat Mein is set around an interesting situation – Following the lead of his own adoption-certificate retrieved from his deceased mother’s bank-locker, a 50-year-old Hindu man Dharampal (Paresh Rawal) finds out that he was actually born to  Muslim parents. Dharam is pretty much non-religious, hardly goes to the temple and drinks despite being a Janeu-wearing Brahmin; but he also mouths ideas about Muslims, as a community, which one can call ignorant generalizations or biases. Therefore, the revelation about his own biological father shakes up his entire world calling for an identity-crisis that makes him question his deep-rooted beliefs. He wishes to see his father who’s on his deathbed in a sanitarium run by a staunch Muslim cleric and is advised to meet the old man appearing like a devout Muslim. Thus, Dharam begins to learn secretly about Muslim preferences of clothing and etiquettes among other things, aided by his friendly neighbor Annu Kapoor (Mehmood). There is also a sub-plot of his son wishing to marry a girl whose parents are diehard devotees of a Hindu God-man named Baba Neelanand (Naseeruddin Shah) that makes life difficult for our man.


While the original film had a British Muslim man discovering the truth about his Jewish parents, the writers of Dharam Sankat Mein seem to have given the idea the right spin by making it a Hindu-to-Muslim thing. It makes the central theme of the film appealing and relevant for the mainstream audience. You get interested in Dharam’s situation from the very start and wish to see how he’d deal with it. You have your share of laughter when you see him torn between taking a crash course in Urdu pronunciation and learning Sanskrit shlokas. However, it’s in the second half when the film gets derailed. While you’re interested throughout in the experiential journey of Dharam who’s now getting familiar with a community he had prejudices against, the film resolves the main crisis too soon and tries to bring in a plot-twist that relies on the character of Neelanand and his vested political interests. By then, it’s probably too late for the main villain (supposedly) to do something which brings him and Dharam in a convincingly confronting position. The dull final act gets reduced to a chain of events – supplied with didactic speeches on communal harmony (not the right way to make your point, really) – and a forced climax. 


Paresh Rawal manages to hold the viewer’s attention with his rather underplayed portrayal of Dharam while Annu Kapoor is supportive, as Mehmood. Naseeruddin Shah’s character is rather a clichéd one and bears no great relevance for the story, one must say, but it’s also enjoyable to notice the funny details of his character’s fictitious empire. For example, this guy gives his followers a cap named Neel Shirastraan while also running every business out there, from selling Ayurvedic medicines to running a real estate company! Rest of the cast, along with some ordinary direction, is a letdown for the film. Scenes that could have been hilarious do not cross the threshold of a chuckle. Drama that could have been poignant seems staged. Music isn’t bad but pretty much run-of-the-mill.


The film falls short of creating the desired impact but the fact that it’s a story banking on the sheer novelty of the concept and that it has been picked up by mainstream producers is an uplifting one for every film-writer out there. It can be said that Dharam Sankat Mein is one among the many concept-driven films of our times that are pushing the industry towards an era soon to be called - Writers Demand Mein.



(Information on writing credits - Photo unavailable for Vijay Desai, Screenplay & Dialogue writer for Dharam Sankat Mein)

   Dinkar Sharma

Dinkar Sharma is a Screenwriter. His first feature film Second Marriage Dot Com was released in 2012. He can be contacted via his Facebook profile:. https://www.facebook.com/imdinkarsharma.

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