Dunki: Ending Explained (In Detail)

What happened to the immigrants in Dunki? What was Hardy and Manu’s fate at the end of the film?
Dunki: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Twenty years after they were first supposed to collaborate on a film about a goon who becomes a doctor to win over his disappointed parents, Shah Rukh Khan and Rajkumar Hirani finally came together on a comedic drama about illegal immigration from Punjab to the United Kingdom, a classic Hirani idea that rode on Khan’s growing larger-than-life persona which had been cultivated by successes like Pathaan (2023) and Jawan (2023) earlier in the year.

Journey Source: Laltu

Dunki (2023) opens in London, where three elderly friends – Manu (Taapsee Pannu), Buggu (Vikram Kochhar), and Balli (Anil Grover) – make plans to return to their hometown Laltu in India after 25 years abroad. When trouble crops up in the shape of their inability to acquire visas, Manu hits upon an idea to get back home the same way they left it, and to execute her idea she needs one Hardy (Khan), a lover and guardian angel she hasn’t seen since he was deported from the UK.

Hardy, too, has spent the last quarter of a century waiting for news of Manu, and when he gets it, he abandons a chance at completing a hat-trick of victories in the local elderly athletics competition and dives headfirst into making preparations for her and the other two to make their way back to India.

Dunki then flashes back 25 years to Laltu, where Manu, Buggu, and Balli are all desperately trying all sorts of schemes to make it to the UK, including paying an agent who ends up duping them. Enter Hardy, or Hardayal Singh Dhillon, a soldier recently discharged from hospital, where he was recovering from wounds sustained during combat. It turns out that Manu’s brother saved Hardy’s life whilst losing his own, and that’s why Hardy is in Laltu. He swiftly becomes a part of the group, which soon collects Sukhi (Vicky Kaushal), who wishes to help the love of his life escape her abusive husband in London. The group joins an English-language class as preparation for the IELTS, but only Balli gets through the final exam, leaving the other four in a fix.

From London, Balli calls Sukhi to break to him the news of his lover having committed suicide. In turn, Sukhi douses himself in kerosene and commits self-immolation, devastating Manu, Buggu, and Hardy. At the funeral, the latter vows to get Manu and Buggu into the UK by the last resort available: the Dunki route.


Dunki then traverses through Pakistan and Afghanistan as Manu, Hardy, and Buggu make their bid for the UK, joined by three more village folk from Laltu. Whilst crossing through Iran, they run into a ruthless border patrol that kills their three companions. The patrol detains the three survivors but when they attempt to assault Manu, Hardy’s soldierly instincts kick in and he retaliates, eliminating the patrol.

They hop aboard a train, travelling through the scorching desert and encountering snowy mountains, and finally board a cargo vessel bound for the UK, where they are shocked to find Balli barely scraping a living and living in cramped houses with fellow illegal immigrants.

A lawyer of Indian origin, Puru Patel (Deven Bhojani), advises Manu to marry an Englishman to hasten the process of naturalisation, and she goes through with it despite her feelings for Hardy. During the ceremony, however, the groom’s behaviour with Manu irks Hardy and he attacks him, resulting in the whole group being arrested.

Up before a judge, they are advised to claim that their lives are in danger in India, which is why they are seeking asylum in the UK. Hardy makes a moving speech to the judge about being unable to say what is required of him, but the others follow through, rationalising their decision by pointing out the hardships they have all faced in making it so far, and the financial consequences of leaving the UK. They are granted asylum, and Hardy is deported.


The final act of Dunki opens in Dubai, where Hardy is awaiting the arrival of his three friends from London. Once the group has caught up on each others’ lives, Hardy visits Bakir, a local agent who arranges for them to return home.

Armed with all Indian paraphernalia, from clothing to cellphones to newspapers, the quartet board a container bound for London, a ruse to trick the local authorities into believing they are Indians seeking to enter the UK illegally. Hardy, having planned with Bakir to have his three friends impersonate the three compatriots of theirs who died at the hands of the Iranian border patrol, convinces the authorities of the story, and the quartet are promptly deported to India by air. They arrive in Laltu soon after to find the families they left behind hale and hearty courtesy the money they earned over the years.

Towards the end of Dunki, Hardy confesses to Manu that he never married because he continued to love her for the time they were separated. He proposes to Manu there, only for her to succumb to the brain tumour that has been eating away at her and which prompted her desire to return to Laltu. Hardy, stricken by grief at her sudden death, puts an engagement ring on Manu’s finger and embraces her body.

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