Leave your judgements aside and give Janhvi and Ishaan, a chance
Before I begin offering my two cents on ‘Dhadak’, the official adaptation of 2016’s Marathi super-hit ‘Sairat’, I have a confession to make. I’m as guilty as everyone else to have been presumptuous about the credibility of the film based on the casting of two new star kids. (Yeah, nepotism can go to hell) That the makers chose to credit Janhvi and Ishaan without their surnames towards the end of the film, serves as a reminder that we need to watch this film for them and not for the backgrounds they come from. Here’s where ‘Dhadak’ succeeds. Sure it’s the remake of director Nagraj Popatrao Manjule’s National Award-winning film but director Shashank Khaitan has other plans that will make you care for his recreation.
‘Dhadak’ begins in Udaipur, where we meet Madhukar (Ishaan), a simple lad who is studious but also helps his parents run a humble restaurant frequented by tourists. He is head over heels in love with Parthavi (Janhvi), the daughter of an extremely ambitious politician Ratan Singh (Ashutosh Rana). Both the lovers rise above the sheer ridiculousness of caste hierarchy and succumb to their blossoming romance. But they are caught by their families and hell breaks loose. Madhukar and Parthavi elope and their journey takes them from Udaipur to Mumbai, Nagpur and ultimately Kolkata.
Now there is no given rule that a remake should be a frame-to-frame copy of the original. Director Khaitan brings his own gameplay to the forefront with minor changes in the new film. Unlike the original, the screenplay is tightened and hence, the film’s running time feels shorter. The first half of the film coasts nicely along with humour and clap-trap lines that will strike a chord among the single-screen audiences, for sure. The second half gets a tad dramatic with too much screen-time dedicated to Madhukar and Parthavi’s fight for survival in Kolkata. But it’s the bone-chilling climax that will move you much more than the original. My only complaint with Khaitan is why he chose to not offer telling scenes about the caste system, like he did with ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’. In the latter, Alia Bhatt’s character repeatedly questions patriarchy. But none of that can be expected in ‘Dhadak’. Ajay-Atul’s music is the biggest strength of the film though I personally prefer ‘Zingaat’ in its Marathi version. The title track is a treat to the ears. DOP Vishnu Rao offers us breathtaking views of Udaipur and Kolkata.
Coming to the performances, a huge shout-out and much love to Janhvi and Ishaan for bringing innocence and confidence in equal measure to their parts. Despite the unbelievable pressure of public scrutiny and overcoming the loss of a loved one, Janhvi exudes grace and grit. Ishaan is charming and energetic and is much likely to become more popular than his elder sibling, Shahid Kapoor, in some years. Ashutosh Rana, however is one-note. His performance is reminiscent of his earlier role in Khaitan’s ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’. A special mention goes to Sridhar Watsar as Madhukar’s vertically-challenged friend Purshottam. He replaces the crippled Pradeep Bansode (Tanaji Galgunde) from the original but offers us plenty of laughs. Kharaj Mukherjee as the landlord Sachin Bhowmick is endearing too.
Leave your love for ‘Sairat’ behind and keep a clear head while watching ‘Dhadak’. Trust me, you’ll discover the birth of tomorrow’s superstars.
Watch our exclusive interview with the stars below.