Dhadak Movie Review: Shashank Tries Telling a Love Story, But Without Casteism and Honour Killing

The film comes with double pressure for Janhvi, in particular, and is nowhere close to the projection of casteism and prejudices depicted in the original

By Neha Jha

Jul 21, 2018  Updated On : Jul 26, 2018

Movie: Dhadak

Cast: Ishaan Khatter, Janhvi Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana, Aditya Kumar, Vishwanath Chatterjee, Kharaj Mukherjee

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Rating: 2.5/5(✮✮✰✰)

What happens when you decide to make a remake of a regional film based on honor killing and casteism? You expect an underlying message, a subtlety showing you the ugly truth of India, hidden behind swanky malls and flyovers. As expected, Dhadak, at the outset, tries to go about it but fails. And miserably so. The only thing you look forward to are the performances of the new pair - Ishaan and Janhvi when you read Dhadak movie review.

Dhadak Movie Inspiration from the Original movie Sairat

For those of you who have watched Sairat, the original Marathi film directed by Nagraj Manjule, Shashank Khaitan’s remake provides nothing new in terms of story or plotline. It’s just the setting which has changed. While Parshya and Archie struggle to go beyond casteism and gender bias in rural Maharashtra, Dhadak’s Madhukar and Parthavi live amidst vibrant colors of Udaipur, Rajasthan. While Madhu’s family owns a humble restaurant, Parthavi is a high caste girl whose father has political ambitions.

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The way they fall in love is, of course, through a myriad of songs where we see an energetic Ishaan jumping through buildings with a kind of innocence in his face. The same vulnerability shows in Janhvi too, especially in those scenes where they struggle for a life in Kolkata. However, that is all you get from the film, which is a Dharma Production version of a middle-class life.

Dhadak Movie Star Cast

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What strikes viewers, especially those familiar with Sairat, is how the entire issue of casteism, so relevant to the problem of honor killing pervading in India, has been brushed under the carpet in Dhadak. Yes, caste is a sensitive issue and Karan Johar would not dare touch anything which can remotely bring any more controversies to him or his business. You don’t find any of the subtleties and nuances of the original in the remade version, at all. The deep-seated prejudices, of caste and gender, find very little mention in the easy-breezy version of Sairat. Yes, a section of people believes it`s an entirely different story. But, well, no, it`s not.

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You have Madhu jumping into a pool of water (instead of a well, because hey, that’s so tacky!) after a slow-mo “Pehli Bar” picturized beautifully on screen. And "Zingaat" comes in the same context, post which the plot takes a turn from beautiful romance and comedy to tragedy. The climax, too, is gut-wrenching. But, you can know that something is amiss and hurried when you sit to write the Dhadak movie review.

Caricatures, not characters

What is further bothersome is how insignificant Madhu’s friends are in the film. In Sairat, Parshya’s friends played a huge role in elopement of the couple as well as in their love story. They, too, had their own lives though. We remember a polio-affected Balya who was called Langdya because of his deformity trying to have his own love story which fails to make him acutely aware of his limitations. In Dhadak, you have a dwarf who isn’t a character, but a caricature meant only to induce laughter.

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That’s where the huge difference comes in. Sairat portrayed a lot more than a tragic love story - it shows prejudices against women, people with disabilities and how they are viewed in the hinterlands of India. There is no such realism in Dhadak. Even Ashutosh Rana fails to show us anything different than what he had shown as a strict father in another Shashank Khaitan film ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’.

Janhvi’s Double Dilemma

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Coming to performances, Janhvi is the one making a debut in acting with this film. Ishaan had already debuted with the film ‘Beyond the Clouds’. Life on film sets is also not new to him, he had been an AD at his brother’s film ‘Kaminey’. For Janhvi, unfortunately, the film comes with double pressure. Sridevi’s demise left people developing high hopes from her, especially from her mother’s fans. On top of that, she debuts with a remake of a film which won the National Award and was highly successful. Not to forget, Archie in Sairat, played effortlessly by Rinku Rajguru, was a headstrong woman with masculine hobbies like riding a bike and driving a tractor. When she decides to elope with Parshya, there’s no such surprise. Parthavi is not Archie though.

Image Credit © YouTube

Janhvi’s limited facial expressions prevent any such possibilities even when the director has given the lead pair the required space to perform. Months before her demise, Sridevi had said in an interview how comparing her daughter to her is unfair since Janhvi is entirely new to films while she had been in show business since her childhood. Maybe, the pressure would have reduced a bit had Janhvi been introduced in an original love story instead of a remake where comparisons from the original are unavoidable.

Dhadak Movie Songs with Ajay-Atul’s Magical Touch

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The great solace Dhadak provides is in the music by Ajay-Atul. Karan Johar did the right thing by retaining the music composers from the original. For those who are unaware, Sairat’s music is orchestra made and was created with artists and musicians from America. Ajay-Atul have kept the essence of love and longing alive in the music - with Dhadak’s title track, the reminiscent Pehli Bar, and the super-energetic Zingaat. Like any Dharma Production movie, Dhadak, too, relies heavily on the music to take the narrative forward.

Watch the movie for the songs and the freshness the lead pair brings. The accent is heavily Marwari and might be incomprehensible for some. One would wish they could have just spoken Hindi instead of a made-up accent. Dhadak has many flaws, and for those who are fans of the original Sairat, it can be missed easily.

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