‘Dhuin’ Ending, Explained: Will Pankaj’s Dream Of Becoming An Actor Come True?

Stiff figures of stagnancy stand upright on one side of more than a handful of Achal Mishra’s murky frames. As if epitomizing the besiegement of all things hopeful, the stern forms mirror the limitations that go hand in hand with the despairing realities of the underprivileged. And then there are moments in the smothering aspect ratio where the door is cracked open ever so slightly, and the guard seems distracted.

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Mishra’s wounding narrative traces the faltering state of Pankaj’s dreams through the pastel minimalism of his dreary surrounding. More telling of the plights of the everyman’s depravities than the dialogues, the prosaic imageries of a disillusioning little town in Bihar shape a poetic agitation. The wretched highs and lows of Pankaj’s dream of making it as an actor can almost find a metaphorical parallel in the patterns of a manipulative relationship where the victim is led on, only to be devastated in the end. Only in Mishra’s exquisite understanding of the muffled dread that lay low in the tepid air of heartbreaking pragmatism, the malefactor is the inescapable socioeconomic condition that Pankaj is unfortunately born into.

Spoilers Ahead

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‘Dhuin’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The 50 minutes of heartache open on the chattering grounds of Darbhanga railway station, where a group of unenthused regulars languidly applaud a group of street performers. About to take part reluctantly in the corporation-issued street play is Pankaj, an aspiring actor whose dreams are tortured in a performance that is unbefitting of his talent. Mishra has only inflated the undercurrents of Pankaj’s ineludible financial struggle by haplessly placing him in an India freshly out of Covid restrictions. His dream has stealthily inflated itself, forgetting that his roots are tethered to the gritty realism of his unavoidable responsibilities. The theater actor is made to take part in measly street acts to earn the bare minimum so as to support his ailing parents in the sunset of their lives.

The chipped paint on the walls of his desolate home elucidates the cracks in his predictably glum future. His ailing father is promised a dicey job in Muzaffarpur. The amount he would need to donate, along with the travel fares, adds up to a sum that is hard to come by laying around in the ruins of a home overlooking the rail tracks. Having been a victim of the abrasive necessities of survival, Pankaj’s father hasn’t had the space to discover the finer things in life. The bleakness of the generational distance berates what Pankaj does for a living. His father hopes for him to squash his no-good daydreams and prepare for the stability of a railroad job.

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Why Does Pankaj Want To Go To Mumbai?

With his friends who share the same aspirations, Pankaj dreams of fleeing to Mumbai, the wonderland of Indian cinema. He can’t, however, get himself to readily give affirmation to his friend, who is supposed to buy the tickets. Feeling the dreadful pull of reality’s chains, Pankaj restrains himself from proceeding with his half-baked plans. He cuts through the thick layer of fog to reach a place he would rather not call home and adds a speck more to his savings that he stores in an old phone case.

Sitting before the watchful cutouts of Hollywood stars on his wall, Pankaj seeks the expertise of an online tutorial to polish his skills of being able to break out in tears on cue. The howls of his devoted exercise get buried under the screams of a passing train. The unceasing animosity of the universe makes Pankaj’s life increasingly difficult with every weapon at its disposal. It isn’t just the promises of the city, where dreams are known to come true, that draw Pankaj to the charms of Mumbai. The claustrophobic context of his miserable existence in this hopeless town is what Pankaj desperately wants to escape. He climbs over the arched skeleton of a tree to reach the closest possible proximity to a plane flying overhead. His open-armed posture for a picture soaks in the unattainable allure of a better, freer life.

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Where Does Pankaj Stand In His Town’s Theatre Scene?

Pankaj’s path that leads him away from the airlessness of his home bears staggering signs of privileges that he has never had. He struts ahead with a conscious determination to be unaffected by the sights of lives that are poignantly more carefree than the one he has been assigned. A casual hang with his theater buddies is ambushed by an awkward introduction to their chieftain, Prakash’s NSD graduate friend Nikhil who will be staying in the town for a couple of months. Both parties fight tooth and nail with their mutual unease to find words to say to each other. A man whose roots are in the humble destitution of Darbhanga has been made too conceited to share his digits with earnest Pankaj. The deafening irony of the same man praising actor Pankaj Tripathi for not letting go of his salt-of-the-earth personality even after his massive success rippled over the fascinated faces of the group.

It is only his discernible attempt at establishing his superiority over the people that will most likely never be important enough to get a tap on the shoulder from a star actor. The faint actions of asserting the power dynamics within the group are achingly obvious throughout the unfolding of a carefully woven scenario. When asked by Prakash to fetch some tea, Pankaj groans at the thought of spending his hard-earned money when times are already excruciatingly tough. Tagging along is Rishav, a humble guy who looks up to Pankaj and wishes to pick his brain.

The scene at the tea stall is Mishra’s masterful way of observing the way people cling to the superiorities that come with their specific echelons. When asked for his suggestion, which newbie Rishav deems fairly experienced, Pankaj gloats about his relatively deeper understanding of the art of acting. The man who not so long ago was seeking help from internet tutorials about how to cry as an actor is now compelling his underling to read the script at least 50 times to truly bring out the authenticity of emotions.


‘Dhuin’ Ending Explained – Will Pankaj’s Dream Of Becoming An Actor Come True?

Pankaj fights off a griper as he hops an enormous gate to meet three directors. He was asked to bring a packet of expensive cigarettes that he was too gallant to take the money for. One of the directors has planned a docudrama that will capture the bona fide image of Darbhanga and will only require non-actors to participate. A meta disdain toward the disappointment that comes Pankaj’s way finds a supportive footing in Mishra’s film, which consists of actors and non-actors both. An unreliable promise of giving him a fair shot in their upcoming ventures momentarily soothes Pankaj. He is flustered to be asked about his plans after relocating to Mumbai. All his hollow hopes have allowed him to imagine are the living arrangements. The vile dejection in their voice is prominent as they inquire after his plans with no urge to lend him a helping hand.

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Isolating his unsophisticated small-town life’s limitations, the three get immersed in a conversation about Kiarostami and his works. It would be laughable to hear their frivolous dialogue that lacks any trace of fruitful cognizance if they weren’t furiously denigrating Pankaj’s sparsity of knowledge. There’s a paralyzing look of vacuity on his face as their elitist tete-a-tete presents him with the dehumanizing realization of just how little he knows of the world of cinema. Fighting a battle with the vicious beast of poverty hasn’t particularly allowed him to broaden his horizons. When the flatulent flagbearers of cultural aristocracy ask him about his opinions regarding the pros and cons of an actor’s limitations in a film, the 25-year-old, who hasn’t had the privilege of accessing such snobbish technicalities, can’t wrap his head around the question. Their conversations go on overlooking Pankaj’s puzzled state, which is mirrored in the nauseating spiral of a learner’s car right by him. Pankaj may not be too proud to ask them for a simplified explanation of their question, but the snobs don’t want to waste a second of their lordly existence on someone they look down on. He is scornfully told to keep climbing trees and looking at planes.

Brutally patronizing Pankaj and practically murdering any hope he had of making it big is how the three directors pay him back for his time and the pack of cigarettes. The smoky mist engulfing the dark road is only challenged by the faint headlights of a car as the disillusioned theater actor grieves the death of his dreams on his way home. He hands over the money he has saved to his mother. For the sake of securing a comfortable journey to Muzaffarpur for his father, he has even called up a friend to borrow his motorcycle.

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As Pankaj’s hope of a gleaming future takes its dying breath face down in his pillow, I’m reminded of the white cloth hung over his window, flowing morosely in the wind–almost as if the house dressed up in the color of mourning. There’s a soothing sense of camaraderie when his friend shows up first thing in the morning to hand over the bike, that too with a splitting hangover that Pankaj offers to cure with a bowl of curd. The Muzaffarpur-bound motorcycle slices through the chilly fog, leading to what I hope is a reliable job. We aren’t provided with the comfort of closure. And that only makes sense in the drab realities of the world, where someone like Pankaj is too busy surviving to ponder over the uncertainty of the future.


“Dhuin” is a 2022 drama film directed by Achal Mishra.

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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjeehttps://muckrack.com/lopamudra-mukherjee
Lopamudra nerds out about baking whenever she’s not busy looking for new additions to the horror genre. Nothing makes her happier than finding a long-running show with characters that embrace her as their own. Writing has become the perfect mode of communicating all that she feels for the loving world of motion pictures.

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