Dunki Movie Review: Dunki is a 2023 Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film that explores the illegal immigration technique known as “donkey flight.” The film is co-written, co-produced, edited, and directed by Rajkumar Hirani under Rajkumar Hirani Films, in collaboration with Jio Studios and Red Chillies Entertainment. The cast features Shah Rukh Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal, and Boman Irani.

The film was officially announced in April 2022, with principal photography beginning the same month and continuing sporadically. Filming wrapped by late April 2023, with locations including Mumbai, Jabalpur, Kashmir, Budapest, London, Jeddah, and Neom. The music was composed by Pritam and Shekhar Ravjiani, with the background score by Aman Pant. Cinematography was handled by C. K. Muraleedharan, Manush Nandan, and Amit Roy, while Rajkumar Hirani oversaw the editing.

Dunki was released worldwide on 21 December 2023. It received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. The film grossed around ₹470.6 crore globally against a production and marketing budget of ₹120 crore (US$15 million), making it the fifth highest-grossing Hindi film and the ninth highest-grossing Indian film of 2023. At the 69th Filmfare Awards, the film received nine nominations and won Best Supporting Actor for Vicky Kaushal.

Dunki Movie Review - The Celeb Guru


In 2020, elderly Manu Randhawa escapes from a hospital in London and contacts immigration lawyer Puru Patel, who helps her reconnect with her ex-lover, Hardayal “Hardy” Singh Dhillon, in Laltu, Punjab. After 25 years, Hardy is overjoyed to hear from Manu, who asks him to meet her in Dubai and help her return to India via the Dunki route since she cannot obtain an Indian visa.

In 1995, Manu and her friends Buggu and Balli, living in Laltu, dream of immigrating to London for a better life. Poor and uneducated, they struggle to get visas until Hardy, a former soldier, arrives. Hardy, indebted to Manu’s late brother Mahinder for saving his life in combat, promises to help her reach London. Learning that passing the IELTS test facilitates obtaining a UK student visa, they enroll in a coaching class led by Geetu Gulati, where they meet Sukhi Singh. Sukhi wants to travel to London to rescue his ex-girlfriend, Jassi, who suffers abuse from her NRI husband. Balli passes the exams, but the others fail.

Once in London, Balli informs Sukhi that Jassi has died by suicide, leading Sukhi to immolate himself in despair. Shaken by Sukhi’s death, Hardy decides to personally take Manu and Buggu to London via the Dunki route. They endure a perilous journey through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, losing three of their companions along the way. They eventually reach London and discover Balli living as a struggling illegal immigrant, contrary to his previous claims of success.

Lawyer Puru Patel suggests Manu enter a sham marriage to gain UK citizenship. She agrees to marry a drug addict, but during the wedding, Hardy is enraged by the addict’s behavior and they fight, resulting in their arrest. In court, Puru advises them to seek asylum by claiming their lives are in danger in India. Hardy, an ex-soldier, refuses to betray his country, but the others agree, becoming British citizens while Hardy is deported to India.

Back in 2020, Manu reveals to Hardy that she wants to return to India as she is dying of a brain tumor. They attempt to leave for India via cargo containers, convincing immigration officials that they are Indian citizens traveling illegally to London and using the identities of their deceased cohorts. This leads to their deportation to India. In Laltu, Manu learns that Hardy never married out of love for her. Moments after he proposes, she succumbs to her illness. Heartbroken, Hardy places an engagement ring on her hand and embraces her.

A few months later, Hardy, Balli, and Buggu meet an agent offering to take them to London through the Dunki route. Hardy throws the agent to the ground, and the three friends walk away together.

Main Casts

Shah Rukh Khan Hardayal “Hardy”  Tapasee Pannu Manu Randhawa
Vicky Kaushal Sukhi Singh Boman Irani Geetendar “Geetu”
Vikram Kochhar Balindar “Buggu”


In late November 2020, Rajkumar Hirani, who had previously approached Shah Rukh Khan for roles in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) and 3 Idiots (2009), which Khan had declined, was reported to be teaming up with Khan for his next directorial venture. Hirani narrated the story to Khan during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. This film marks their first collaboration. By August 2021, the screenplay was completed, and the film was officially announced in April 2022. Hirani co-wrote the film with Abhijat Joshi and Kanika Dhillon.

Initially, Amit Roy was chosen as the cinematographer, but he left the project due to creative differences with Hirani and was replaced by C. K. Muraleedharan. This collaboration marks Muraleedharan’s fourth with Hirani, following Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), 3 Idiots (2009), and PK (2014). Additionally, Manush Nandan, Amit Roy, and Kumar Pankaj also contributed to the film’s cinematography.

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