Dhadak Movie Review: It Leaves Much To Be Desired

Dhadak

Starring Ishaan  Khattar, Janhavi Kapoor

Directed by Shashank Khaitan

Rating:** ½(2 and a half stars)

Like all great  love stories Dhadak ends as a tragedy.  Which is not to say that it is  a  great love story. Replicating , almost echoing all the conventions  of a  love-at-first-sight-doom-at-a-later-stage  yarn  Dhadak makes all the right noises(includes a  super-melodious  title song) and is still unable to create a concordant musical symphony.

A   film about honour killing  , it is  aptly an honourable  failure,giving us some of  what is  desirable  , but largely  leaving much  to be desired.

What  goes wrong?  Well, for one  this Karan  Johar production has resolved to do a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai on  Sairat, the hardhitting Marathi film on which Dhadak is based.  The remake extracts all the juice from the original and then squanders it  in irrelevant  plot  conversions. The changes made in the original  made no sense to me.

The cricket match that opens  Sairat turns an into eating competition  in Dhadak so clumsily shot  I wondered if  director Shahank Khaitanhd  decided to turn  Sairat into a comedy.

Before I could exclaim, ‘Burp Re Burp’  after the eating contest big-time passion erupts  between  the  rich politician Ashutosh Rana’s haughty  daughter  Parthavi(Janhavi Kapoor) and the affable boy next door Madhukar(Ishaan Khattar). Ishaan, God bless his effervescent spirit, is all over  the place wooing and wowing  the girl with all the tricks up his sleeve. He is like  a peacock in  Udaipur trying to impress his partner  during the mating season.

And very effective at that. Ishaan carries the film which is stricken by underwhelming  performances. The heroine’s  docile  mother in Sairatleft  a mark in spite of her limited dialogues. Her counterpart  in this film is stuck with her  artificial anxieties and fake  makeup.

Janhavi Kapoor has a quiet charm  about her. But she has a long way to go. She is effective in the scenes  after the elopement when she has to  cope with  “poverty” and  “hardships”. That is,  Karan Johar’s concept of poverty which means  the couple has to slum it out in Kolkatawith  a kindly Bengali couple  serving as  their guardian originals.

This brings me to the cinematography . Vishnu Rao shoots Udaipur and Kolkata like entries on  tourist brochure. A mediocre film  like Lion captured the brutal dispassion of  The  City Of Joy.

Dhadak changes characters as  if they were In  Sairat it  was a benevolent Auntyji from the slums who gave the on-the-run couple  a room and respite.The rawness and immediacy   of  the  original is completely lost in the remake as the  protagonists  seem  to subscribe to  the  plot ideas  from Sairat without being able to fit them into the environment  provided  in  the remake.

The finale  which shocked everyone in Sairat here seems  force-fed  to serve up a brutal lesson  on honour killing. If I say , nothing in  the film prepares  us for  the gruesome ending I don’t mean it as a compliment. If Dhadak is still watchable in parts  it’s because  Ishaan Khattar is  constantly injecting his  exuberant conviction   into every scene. He doesn’t question  why things are what they are. He  trapezes across the  tides of  designer wear-and-tear  hoping the doomed love story would finally make sense.

Tragically , it doesn’t. The  situations and  incidents seem way too artificial  in this South  Bombay version of  a Marathi film that changed the course of regional cinema. Dhadak changes  nothing. It aspires to serenade the status quo with the sole purpose  of launching  Sridevi’s daughter. But why Sairat? Karan Johar  could’ve chose  any story.This is  a pointless remake, more remarkable for what it fails to achieve with the original than what  it actually manages  to put forward.

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