“Dunki” is an upcoming Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film that has created quite a buzz among movie enthusiasts. Directed by the acclaimed Rajkumar Hirani and co-written by Hirani, Abhijat Joshi, and Kanika Dhillon, the film delves into the intriguing world of “Donkey Flight,” an illegal immigration technique used by some Indians to gain unlawful entry into countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America. The movie is produced by Gauri Khan, Rajkumar Hirani, and Jyoti Deshpande, under the banners of Red Chillies Entertainment and Jio Studios. Starring Bollywood heavyweights Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, and Boman Irani, “Dunki” is set to hit theaters in overseas markets on December 21, 2023, and in India on December 22, 2023.
“Dunki” takes its inspiration from the shadowy world of “Donkey Flight,” a term used to describe the illegal entry of individuals into countries through backdoor methods. This technique involves avoiding legal immigration processes and often leads to a life of uncertainty and hardships for those who choose this path. The film focuses on the lives of Indians who resort to “Donkey Flight” to enter foreign nations and the challenges they face as they strive to return home.
The movie boasts a star-studded cast, with each actor bringing their unique flair to their respective roles:
- Shah Rukh Khan plays Hardy, a character whose life is entangled in the world of illegal immigration.
- Taapsee Pannu takes on the role of Manu, a key figure in the narrative.
- Vicky Kaushal portrays Sukhi, adding depth and charisma to the story.
- Boman Irani plays Gulati, a character who undoubtedly contributes to the film’s charm.
- The supporting cast includes Vikram Kochhar, Anil Grover, Dharmendra, Satish Shah, Parikshit Sahni, and Jyoti Subhash as Buggu’s grandmother.
Development: The inception of “Dunki” traces back to late 2020 when rumors began to circulate that Rajkumar Hirani was planning a film with Shah Rukh Khan. The project’s screenplay was ultimately completed in August 2021, and the official announcement was made in April 2022. Rajkumar Hirani, along with Abhijat Joshi and Kanika Dhillon, co-wrote the film.
Casting: Renowned casting director Mukesh Chhabra played a pivotal role in assembling the stellar cast for “Dunki.” Taapsee Pannu was roped in as the female lead in January 2021, marking her first collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan. Later, Vicky Kaushal, Boman Irani, Dia Mirza, and Satish Shah joined the ensemble.
Filming: Principal photography for “Dunki” commenced in September 2021, with the first schedule taking place in Mumbai. Shah Rukh Khan began filming his scenes in April 2022, and subsequent filming locations included Budapest and London in July 2022. A notable bike sequence featuring Khan was filmed in Mumbai in October 2022. The crew embarked on a 12-day schedule in Saudi Arabia in November 2022, visiting Jeddah and Neom. In December 2022, a three-day schedule occurred in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The team returned to Mumbai in January 2023 to capture the underwater sequence featuring Shah Rukh Khan. In April 2023, the crew traveled to Kashmir for a four-day schedule, exploring Srinagar, Pampore, Sonamarg, including the Thajwas glacier and Pulwama. A song sequence choreographed by Ganesh Acharya was also shot in the scenic locales of Kashmir.
Music: The film’s soundtrack is composed by the highly talented Pritam. While more details about the music are yet to be revealed, Pritam’s involvement promises a soulful and engaging musical journey.
The filmmakers decided to pique the audience’s interest with a teaser titled “Dunki Drop 1,” which was released on November 2, 2023, coinciding with Shah Rukh Khan’s 58th birthday. This teaser is part of a series of six “Drops” that will be released to build anticipation for the film.
“Dunki” is scheduled for a theatrical release in overseas markets on December 21, 2023, and in India on December 22, 2023. The film’s release date had been the subject of speculation, with rumors suggesting a postponement to 2024, which was later denied by Shah Rukh Khan during a press conference for another project, “Jawan” (2023).
The distribution of “Dunki” will be handled by Pen Marudhar Entertainment in India, while Yash Raj Films will take charge of overseas markets, including North America and the United Kingdom.
Rights for the international non-theatrical distribution of “Dunki” were sold for a significant sum of ₹230 crores, indicating the high anticipation for the film on the global stage. Additionally, domestic non-theatrical streaming rights were acquired by JioCinema for ₹155 crores, ensuring that audiences in India can enjoy the movie from the comfort of their homes.
“Dunki” is undoubtedly one of the most awaited films in the Indian cinematic landscape. With its powerful cast, intriguing premise, and the masterful direction of Rajkumar Hirani, it promises to be a captivating cinematic experience. As we eagerly await its release, the movie’s exploration of the illegal immigration technique “Donkey Flight” and its impact on the lives of those who choose this path promises to be a thought-provoking and emotionally charged journey. Shah Rukh Khan’s return to the big screen after a hiatus only adds to the excitement. So, mark your calendars for this extraordinary tale of unlawful journeys and homecoming set to unfold in December 2023.