Frankly speaking, we were a little worried when Dharma's latest remake started rolling. The first ten minutes of Sairat's Hindi remake is an attempt at cashing in on the film even before it released with... PRODUCT PLACEMENT. So director Shashank Khaitan makes Ishaan Khattar stuff Haldiram sweets down his throat, wear flying machine clothes, win a Khaitan fan and ride the latest Suzuki motorbike aimed at the B towns. But what he also does is make the chemistry between Ishaan and debutant Janhvi Kapoor real and therein lies the fate of Dhadak. Post the product placements, Dhadak is all heart.
When Karan Johar announced that he would be adapting Nagraj Manjule’s highly acclaimed Sairat with star kids Ishaan and Janhvi, the audiences were taken aback. One, because Sairat had a raw appeal to it with new faces and two, KJo is notorious for glamourizing everything he touches. The trailer and the songs only validated the points. So it's only fair that we walked in with some preconceived notions. Now, you don't need to be briefed if you’ve already seen Sairat (Manjule's Marathi blockbuster) but for those who haven't Dhadak is a classic tragedy positioned in the cosmetically modern and tourist-friendly city of Udaipur still struggling with its caste politics.
Ishaan seeps into the character of an obsessed lover Madhukar with Parthvi, an upper caste girl, daughter of a Royalty turned hotelier turned politician (Ashutosh Rana) who with his Rajasthan Loktantrik Sena wants to rule Udaipur once again. The man’s finesse and expertise in portraying negative characters is a boon to the story, because you actually dread the sight of a man like him.
Our poor teenage lovers, oblivious to the trappings of leading a life in the big bad world, elope to Kolkata. Here the story gathers pace and we see the trials and tribulations faced by them.
Ishaan is the soul of the movie as he easily makes us laugh and cry in the first and second half respectively. Janhvi isn’t polished but shines nonetheless. Especially in the first half when their budding romance takes shape amidst the backdrop of songs like the title track of Dhadak, Zingaat and Pehli Baar. The music by Ajay-Atul hasn’t lost any of its sheen and gorgeously portray the cravings and desires of a young couple dying to explore.
The second half embarks on the adjustments and realities of life much like Sairat showcased. It’s here that we realize the earnestness of the lead characters and yes, a big shoutout to the supporting cast which includes Kharaj Mukherjee, Ankit Bisht, and Shridhar Watsar. Ankit, as the teeny-weeny guy Gokul infuses the comic element while Shridhar as Purshottam is here to provide a reality check.
Dhadak and Sairat bear umpteen similarities, but Shashank Khaitaan has brought to the fore, a story that is bound to reach out to a larger audience. A story that needs to be told, to make the common man realize about the real problems that still lay hidden in the nooks and corners of the country for couples wanting to lead a normal life. And while we hate to make comparisons with the original we must say that Dhadak pales in front of Sairat when it comes to delving deep into the social and political divide that exists even today. Khaitaan has picked up entire scenes from the original. That's fine it's a remake after all. But if you’re entering with a clean slate, you’ll possibly love those scenes even more.
Which brings us to the end of the film and this review. We choose to remain silent.
Film: Dhadak (July 20, 2018)
Cast: Ishaan Khatter, Janhvi Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana, Kharaj Mukherjee, Ankit Bisht and Shridhar Watsar
Director: Shashank Khaitaan