Shashank Khaitan’s Dhadak is a meta-Sairat. It’s a meta-film where Sairat has been released to an overwhelming response where young guns are flooding the theatres. Madhu (Ishaan Khatter) and Parthavi (Janhvi Kapoor) have seen Nagraj Manjule’s blockbuster film, but, here’s the thing – they’ve only seen it till the interval. They both don’t live the character, instead enact inspirational characters of Archie and Parshya just like Fans of Shahrukh Khan do his signature step. When Madhu and Parthavi are falling in love, it looks juvenile like it should be, but it never blossoms like it did in Sairat. That’s the misery of Dhadak, it’s heart beats with distant, typical and plastic development.
It’s all about Sairat vs. Dhadak, while two remakes have already failed to make a mark – a Kannada (scene to scene) remake, Manasu Malligey (2017) and Punjabi remake, Channa Mereya (2017). Dhadak caters to a nationwide audience, look at the excitement with masses – though a certain section who skip regional films solely on the unwillingness to read the Subtitles (they can’t entirely enjoy it, seems). Dhadak is set in Udaipur, retelling the original story amidst a politics instead of casteism. Sole point of Sairat is missing here, in a state where relationships are dictated upon caste system – Shashank Khaitan rewrites the part into old-school Bollywood drama. And there’s nothing new offered here, other than charming Ishaan Khatter.
Honestly, I enjoyed the first half – the juvenile romance was crafted in an entertaining way, to my surprise it didn’t come as cringeworthy. But, unlike Sairat which was confident while sweeping into an understatement, Dhadak is too plastic (more synthetic). It lacks the smooth flow, the timing of the songs and the blossoming romance is never engrossing rather it distances. Also, the contradiction between the two halves isn’t explicit and impactful. A rich and exotic first half was encountered by a dread and despair breeze in the second, here it’s neither of the two – just bland storytelling.
Udaipur, a rich and exotic city with palatial and cenotaph structures while Bittergaon, a rural village with natural beauty. Here’s the bait, as Nagraj and his Cinematographer Sudhakar Reddy romanticised the rural beauty, Shashank and his Cinematographer Vishnu Rao having a royal city in-hand don’t even try to make it look exquisite before turning tables of plastic raw reality in the second half. And then, Shashank re-designs the impactful climax (who’ve not seen Sairat, might get a thwack). On positive side, there’s Ajay Atul’s mesmerising background score (remake BGM by John Stewart)…uh, that’s it.
And it is evident during the end credits, it’s a launchpad even though Shashank and Dharma Productions have denied it – Dhadak introduces Janhvi and presents Ishaan. Ishaan Khatter is a charisma, most of the film works solely on his shoulders. Janhvi is a cringe laugh-riot, given her character development lacks the boldness and confidence like Archie (Rinku Rajguru won a Special Mention at the National Awards).
I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece, neither on a comparable standards of Sairat. The romance of Dhadak takes place besides Lake Pichola and River Hoogly, it’s all water just like the film.
Release: 20 July, 2018
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