Verdict - Dhadak Works As A Standalone Film And That Is Its Biggest Achievement
Ever since Karan Johar announced the remake of the Marathi modern classic Sairat, it has been one of the most talked about film ever. The fact that it was to be the launchpad of two star kids, one of them being the yesteryear diva Sridevi’s daughter, Jahnvi Kapoor and another being the son of Neelinam Azam and Rajesh Khattar’s son and more importantly Shahid Kapoor’s brother Ishaan Khatter also added to the buzz.
The opinion on the film was largely divided from the very beginning, while some were excited about to watch the Marathi classic that not only won the national award but also garnered widespread recognition and appreciation being adapted in Hindi, some were concerned about the original getting tainted by glossy Bollywood makeover that it was bound to receive.
It is not easy to live up to such mounting expectations or such compelling scrutiny and thus Dhadak surely had a tough job at hand, especially with two newcomers and a director who is just two films old.
So here is the deal with Dhadak, it is one film that manages to sail through, with some hiccups but its biggest achievement is the fact that it is not crushed under Sairat.
The story of the film or at least the outline of it is same that of the Marathi original. Small town lower caste boy meets a higher caste girl, girl’s egoistic father gets to know about the romance, shit hits the fan, the couple runs away, start a new life in an unknown city, have a tiff with each other haunted by the morbid realities of life and relationships, finds their balance and go ahead in life only to succumb to a tragic, soul crashing ending.
While Sairat and Dhadak share the same outline, Sairat's Parshya and Archie is not the same as Dhadak’s Madhukar and Parthavi. While Parshya was naïve but resolute who was the local cricket hero and a brilliant student, Madhukar, in most parts, is a naïve and bumbling fool who wins a local eating competition and that’s about it. In case of Archie who was a firebrand, Jahnvi’s Parthavi fails to incorporate that fierceness and abandon in her character, but to her credit is given a character arc that is a little different than that of Archie. The difference of backdrop has a lot to do with it and not just culturally. While Sairat was set in rural Maharashtra, Dhadak is set in semi-urban Udaipur, thus the although the soul of two films is same, the essence is very different.
Ishaan Khatter as Madhukar is almost close to flawless. His super cute looks help him a great deal to bring the much-needed naivety to the character, but he is not afraid of making a total fool of himself. He is also exceptionally well in tricky scenes and maintains a balance of drama and subtlety that very actors are usually capable of. Although not a mimicry to any extent, but you do see glimpses of Shahid in Ishaan certain places and it reminds you of Shahid from Ishq Vishk with perhaps a better acting ability than what he had at that point.
Jahnvi Kapoor, who was perhaps bearing the heaviest burden on her shoulder is impressive at her best and inconsistent at her worst. The first half of the movie her rawness is almost difficult to watch, but something happens right before the interval and we see a totally a new Jahnvi from then on.
Coming to that, this is the perfect opportunity to bring the man helming the affair, Shashank Khaitan into the picture. After films like Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya and the superhit Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, one would expect him to handle the romance between Madhukar and Parthavi in a way he did in Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, but surprisingly that is the part that is unbelievably weak in the film, especially when it’s a backdrop that he has worked with and aced before. In fact, the moment the crisis of the films comes into, just like Jahnvi, we see an entirely new Shashank who handles the pressure on him wonderfully well. The first 30-40 minutes almost plays out like Sairat as imagined on the sets of Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya but becomes a heart touching saga that totally works as a standalone film.
Talking about the supporting cast, Ashutosh Rana plays the menacing and egoistic father brilliantly as you expect him to be, but Bengali actor Kharaj Mukhopadhyay playing Sachin Bhowmick, Madhu and Parthavi’s anchor in Kolkata, in his limited periphery, is one character that makes his roles significant by sheer strength of his performance. However, his Hindu character married to a Christian Bengali woman is one angle of the story that was perhaps introduced for a reason but director completely forgot to explore it.
Just like Sairat, Dhadak also majorly benefits from Ajay-Atul brilliant music. In fact, the music and background music of the film is so strong that sometimes it comes to the rescue of the film when the screenplay in the first half falls flat in many places.
Putting an end to all the comparisons with the original Sairat, it would probably be wrong to write off Dhadak just because Sairat was an exceptional piece of cinema. If Dhadak was to be exactly like Sairaat then probably there was no reason to make it. Dhadak is Bollywood’s unique way of telling a fascinating tale of love in its own unique style. While we loved the rawness and grit of Sairat, Dhadak is probably not to be criticized only because it is glossier and more dramatic. Bollywood thrives on drama and there is nothing wrong with that. Dhadak works as a standalone film in many ways and for that alone only it should be applauded and for not getting crushed under the magnanimity of Sairat. Every film, remake or not, deserves a chance to be judged for its own content, while nobody will ever question the supremacy of Sairat, one should give Dhadak a fair chance as just because Sairat was exceptional, Dhadak doesn't have to bad. Watch it with the heart of a Bollywood lover and you will come out with the feeling that is very akin to that of Sairat, heavy and powerful