Pro Tools
•Register a festival or a film
Submit film to festivals Promote for free or with Promo Packages

FILMFESTIVALS | 24/7 world wide coverage

Welcome !

Enjoy the best of both worlds: Film & Festival News, exploring the best of the film festivals community.  

Launched in 1995, relentlessly connecting films to festivals, documenting and promoting festivals worldwide.

Working on an upgrade soon.

For collaboration, editorial contributions, or publicity, please send us an email here

User login


RSS Feeds 

Martin Scorsese Masterclass in Cannes services and offers


Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Dhokha Round D Corner, Review: True lies, deception-perception and betrayal-portrayal

Dhokha Round D Corner, Review: True lies, deception-perception and betrayal-portrayal

Way back in 1940, a British film was made under the title Gaslight. It had an American version in 1944. Since then, it has inspired a lot of psychological thrillers, in India too. In the film, a man plots to convince his wife and all around them that she is mad, in order to recover the jewels that he had tried to steal from her late aunt, who he had just murdered, but had failed by the sudden arrival of the girl, who he befriends and marries, years later. Now imagine this premise and add to it several other intertwined plots of deceit and betrayal, this time inspired by the 1950 Japanese classic, Rashomon, in which there are differing versions of the same incidents and events, all coming across as true, in flashback. Dhokha is a classic case of over-writing and overkill. Perhaps realising that Gaslight was the inspiration for films like Who Kaun Thi and Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi, and Rashomon has been made several times, including a version called Sajan, the writers sat down to try and be different, and build an intricate web of deception, where everybody is deceiving everybody. Sadly, though, they ended-up deceiving the audience too.

There are four main players in the story: Yatharth Sinha, the husband, Sanchi Sinha, the wife, Haq Gul, the alleged terrorist and Inspector Harishchandra Malik. Sanchi is seeking a divorce, Yatharth insists she is mentally ill, Gul holds Sanchi hostage and Malik is in-charge of the operation to nab Gul, who escaped from his custody with a mini AK47, snatched from Malik. Each of these four have their axe to grind in the episode and works towards that end. Each accuses the other of lying and deception, and sometimes the deception is there for all of us to see. In the end, one of them is going to die, another is going to lose his sense of balance and the other two will escape unscathed, with their crimes undiscovered and their cover-ups fully in place.

Dhokha comes in the wake of The Big Bull, which was Kookie Gulati’s first film as director. Here, he has written the story too, and collaborated with Neeraj Singh on the screenplay. Besides the films mentioned above, the writers also appear to have drawn inspiration from the film Ittefaq, which was based on a stage play. Ittefaq had Rajesh Khanna playing a man who escapes from the lunatic asylum, where he was wrongly confined, and holds Nanda hostage. In comes Inspector Sujit Kumar, and you can guess what happens next. With too many flashbacks and no positive character, the script fails to grip you. A lot of footage is wasted on the police cordon and the conversations amongst them. As usual, they have a deadline to apprehend/eliminate the terrorist, after which the National Security Guard will take over, causing them humiliation.

It is difficult to make sense of the proceedings, with so many flashbacks, and so many lies that seem so true. All these are shot as if the audience has a vantage point of view and it is unfolding before them. Fact is, it is mainly the actor’s point of view (pov), which often contradicts with another actor’s pov. How is a viewer expected to make any sense of the narrative? And a confused audience is an unhappy audience. In parts, Dhokha is slick and dazzling, but then it gets back into the true lies, deception-perception and betrayal-portrayal mode, which brings it back to the unimpressive level. There are a dozen questions that need answers, because the loopholes are gaping at us. Almost every scene is unconvincing, when you look back upon it, right from the time when Haq Gul escapes from the police van till the climax that leaves one player dead. Lines and moves are written without giving much thought to logic or rationale. Only the immediate situation is addressed. And then, suddenly, one or both of the character(s) comes back, down to earth, faces reality, and the kind of interactive privilege that they had breaks. An example is the scene wherein Sanchi tries to seduce Gul by beginning with his name and telling him that it means flower, and her name is Sanchi. So what, one might react! And howcome all the events fall in place as if they were orchestrated by one person, whereas there are four players in this game of modified chess or Chinese chequers.

Such a film needed very high levels of acting, and unfortunately, only one actor rises above the script: Aparshakti Khurana, who is cast as the ‘terrorist’. He comes across as gullible, terrorising, vulnerable and prone to ways of the flesh, all rolled into one. Khurana has worked on the accent too, though I cannot confirm whether it is authentic Kashmiri. Madhavan, who has put on a lot of weight, suits the character, but remains confined within it, unable to impress. Khushali Kumar, the debutante, is uninhibited and passable in a role that needed somebody with much better acting acumen. Darshan Kumar too looks the part, but his dialogue delivery leaves something to be desired, though, playing an Inspector, he can get away with it. Sadly, the name of the woman playing the psychiatrist treating Sanchi was not available at the time this was written.

Time to take a look behind the scenes. Cinematography by Amit Roy gives Mumbai a European or American look and the car scenes are particularly well shot. Editing by Dharmendra Sharma is competent, and there is no point in blaming him for the flashbacks or the length, which, at 112 minutes, is just a tad longer than necessary. The flashbacks are a scripts requirement and/or the director’s decision. Music by is by Amar Mohile, Tanishk Bagchi, Gourav Dasgupta, Rochak Kohli and late Bappi Lahiri. Bappi gets the credit because his song ‘Zuby ‘Zuby Zuby’ has been incorporated at the end credits as an item number. Kumaar has added to Anjaan’s original lyrics. Sung by Alisha Chinai for the film Dance Dance, it is reprised here by other singers, who sound very much like her. It has no connect with the film.

Did the story have possibilities of shaping into a thriller? Yes! Have the screenplay and direction transformed these possibilities into a thrilling cinematic experience? No. That is deception. Not just round d corner, but on cinema screens.

Rating: **



The Bulletin Board

> The Bulletin Board Blog
> Partner festivals calling now
> Call for Entry Channel
> Film Showcase
 The Best for Fests

Meet our Fest Partners 

Following News

Interview with EFM (Berlin) Director



Interview with IFTA Chairman (AFM)



Interview with Cannes Marche du Film Director
 dailies live coverage from

> Live from India 
> Live from LA
Beyond Borders
> Locarno
> Toronto
> Venice
> San Sebastian

> Tallinn Black Nights 
> Red Sea International Film Festival

> Palm Springs Film Festival
> Kustendorf
> Rotterdam
> Sundance
Santa Barbara Film Festival SBIFF
> Berlin / EFM 
> Fantasporto
Houston WorldFest 
> Julien Dubuque International Film Festival
Cannes / Marche du Film 



Useful links for the indies:

Big files transfer
> Celebrities / Headlines / News / Gossip
> Clients References
> Crowd Funding
> Deals

> Festivals Trailers Park
> Film Commissions 
> Film Schools
> Financing
> Independent Filmmaking
> Motion Picture Companies and Studios
> Movie Sites
> Movie Theatre Programs
> Music/Soundtracks 
> Posters and Collectibles
> Professional Resources
> Screenwriting
> Search Engines
> Self Distribution
> Search sites – Entertainment
> Short film
> Streaming Solutions
> Submit to festivals
> Videos, DVDs
> Web Magazines and TV


> Other resources

+ SUBSCRIBE to the weekly Newsletter
+ Connecting film to fest: Marketing & Promotion
Special offers and discounts
Festival Waiver service

User images

About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


View my profile
Send me a message