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Dharam Sankat Mein Movie Review (Story, Plot, Mistakes and Climax Revealed)

STORY: Dharampal Trivedi is happy with his Hindu identity - what happens when he discovers he is actually Muslim?

REVIEW: 'Dharam Sankat Mein' says it all - here's a movie that reflects a dilemma. Dharampal Trivedi (Paresh) is Ahmedabad's leading caterer, a happy Hindu with a dislike of Muslims, extending to his quarrelsome neighbour Mehmood Nazeem Ali Shah Khan Bahadur (Annu). Dharampal's son Amit wants to marry Shraddha, fervent follower of motorcycle-riding Neelananda Baba (Naseeruddin). Amit pleads with Dharampal to become more devout and impress Baba and Shraddha's dad - Dharampal agrees but suddenly discovers he's adopted, his real father's Muslim and to meet him, he'll have to learn Muslim ways.
Can Dharampal overcome his own dharmic prejudices? And can he find salvation - despite society?

This quirky film follows 2012's hit OMG, further inspired by British comedy The Infidel - but DSM lacks the cutting edge of either. What works here is the perfect Paresh Rawal - the actor again delivers a terrific performance, fuelling the film purely on his wonderfully delivered dry one-liners ('Jab miyan biwi razamand, toh kya karega Neelanand?'), ironic glances and anguished eyes as he becomes stranger to his own world. Annu Kapoor matches Rawal well, their scenes frequently crackling.

There are chunks of pure comedy (confused with all his religious training, Dharampal greets a punditji with 'Salaam Aleikum') and dialogues whistling with wit - confronted with being Muslim, Dharampal asks his temple deity, ab ye kya locha hai? Alongside, Ahmedabad and its charms (prohibition plays a cameo) show up, with references to bhangra kings, dupatta-clad swamis and controversies on conversion and caps.

But there's simply too much here. The story tries to accommodate a whole host of issues, fake babas to real crimes, and fails. The Neelananda track is overplayed while the music is underdone. Given its realistic detailing, this could have been a livewire of wry wit - but it ends up a feather-duster of fuzzy philosophy instead. Caught between wise-cracking veterans and wise-sounding vachans, large sequences look low on energy and stereotypes, from lusty swami to kajal-eyed imam, stretch to yawning point.


Spoiler alert! Please do not read the following plot summary if you have not seen the film.


Dharampal Trivedi is Ahmedabad's leading caterer. Happy with his Hindu identity, Dharampal is not bothered about religious rituals and loves listening to bhangra star Manchala's hits, when he's not getting into arguments over parking with his Muslim neighbour, lawyer Mehmood Nazim Ali Shah Khan Bahadur. Dharampal would like Mehmood to move to a Muslim mohalla but Mehmood firmly resists.

Dharampal's son Amit wants to marry Shraddha whose father is right-hand man to Baba Neelananda. Their family visits Baba's super-rich ashram where Baba offers a young woman a job while gazing at her lustfully. Amit begs Dharampal to become more religious to impress Baba and Shraddha's family. Dharampal agrees in good humour.

One day, upon opening his deceased mother's bank locker, Dharampal finds adoption papers showing he was adopted from a Muslim family. He is shocked. He visits the orphanage concerned and finds out his father's name after a struggle with the officials. Dharampal's entire worldview is thrown into confusion and he is miserable. He has another run-in with Mehmood but when the latter accuses him of being anti-Muslim, he ends up telling him he too is Muslim.

Mehmood drops his antagonism and hears Dharampal's whole story. He helps him locate his father, who is now over 80 and ailing in a Muslim charitable hospital. Dharampal really wants to meet his father, who had given him in good trust to a relative before going to work in Quwait, but the hospital Imam stops him and says his father would be distressed to know he's not Muslim, so he should learn Muslim ways first. Mehmood starts teaching Dharampal basic Islamic rituals - meanwhile, a Hindu pandit has also started teaching Dharampal Hindu beliefs, so he can impress Shraddha's family!

Dharampal is utterly confused. He tries to join a prayer ceremony at the Islamic hospital but the Imam has him evicted. Amit sees him wearing a skullcap and is baffled. Just as he's telling Dharampal's wife about this, Dharampal shows up wearing a Christian cassock and says all religions are equal! His daughter Antara thinks he's suffering from stress. The pundit hints to his wife that he could be having an affair with another woman - or man. She finds him going to Mehmood's house surreptitiously for his lessons and thinks something's wrong. When she catches him, he convinces her first that he went to get her a rose, then that he went to get Yunani medicines.

Dharampal and Mehmood attend a Muslim family celebration where Dharampal, dressed as a cleric, impresses people with his wit and wisdom. One day, Dharampal and Mehmood go to the Imam, requesting he let Dharampal meet his father. When the Imam refuses, Mehmood gets angry and threatens legal action upon which they are asked to leave. The two friends have a furious argument on the way home. Then, Amit asks Dharampal to join a demonstration Baba is holding against some of his followers being beaten up outside a mosque. Dharampal shouts slogans too and by mistake, reveals he's wearing an Islamic cap. To cover up, he quickly announces he's setting fire to this and Baba's followers are very impressed.

Baba himself arrives at his home, arranges the Amit-Shraddha wedding, sings a bhajan in celebration and asks Dharampal to become a dharam rakshak -just then, a Muslim mob arrives and Dharampal is arrested for breaking the peace with a communal act. Faced with police action, he tells the mob he too is Muslim. They forgive him but his family is shocked and Baba disallows the Amit-Shraddha marriage.

His family having left him, Dharampal is shattered. The court tells him he can visit his father and repay his social debt by giving poor Muslim children new caps. Dharampal goes to the hospital but his father has passed on. Mehmood had managed to show him a picture of Dharampal wearing a skullcap but feeling very low, Dharampal starts drinking heavily. Mehmood rescues him and Dharampal discovers certain secrets when looking at the video of Baba singing a bhajan.

He and Mehmood go to Baba's ashram and confront him with the truth of all religions being equal and fundamentally about goodness. When Baba rejects them, Dharampal asks how Baba being Sikh can lead Hindus! He then reveals Baba is in fact Manchala, the famous former bhangra star who vanished after being charged with human trafficking, sexual crimes and hawala. Dharampal had noticed certain unmistakable similarities when looking at Baba's video. Baba tries to escape but is caught and his worshippers accept Dharampal's philosophy.

His family reunites with him and Amit and Shraddha are happily married while Antara introduces her boyfriend Peter to a heartily bemused Dharampal.

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