Director: Shashank Khaitan
CAST: Ashutosh Rana, Ishan Khattar, Jahnavi Kapoor
Rate: 3* out of 5*
In Dhadak made by Shashank Khaitan, Jahnavi seems to have grown up under her mother Late Sridevi’s shadow.
“I love you Mom. This is and always was, for you,” was Jahnavi’s message to her mother before starting her debut Film ‘Dhadak’.
Everybody knows that at the time of the film’s production Sridevi was present in Udaipur where the first seen was canned. Jahnavi admitted that her mother had observed the scene and had given some positive inputs. So, every person, who is attached with this film, thinks it is dedicated to the loving memory of Sridevi, who died this February at a Dubai Hotel.
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In the film Dhadak, Madhur Kar (Ishan Khattar) and Parthavi (Jahnavi Kapoor) fall head over heels in love with each other, but the fact that they belong to different castes, becomes an obstacle in their romance. The lovers dare to go against societal norms and battle all odds for the sake of their love. The narrative of the film touches the issue of honour killing and caste system.
The plot, of Dhadak is similar to films like NH10, Khap, Aakrosh, Sairat (Marathi), Ankur, and Sujata.
The strength of Dhadak lies in its brimming freshness and innocence. That this film presents the new facts of Ishaan (one film old) and Jahnavi (who marks her debut in Bollywood) works in the favour of its narrative.
The film follows the Sairat template for most part, but it does change a few scenes and the setting. While it lacks the grit and detail of Manjule’s original, director Shashank Khaitan’s Hindi adaptation still makes for a compelling watch.
Set in Udaipur, the story begins with young love blossoming in the midst of politics and a dominant class system. Parthavi is a girl of a local politician Ratan Singh (Ashutosh Rana) while Madhukar is the son of a middle-class restaurant owner. Against the norm, Madhu and Parthavi fall in love, and when her influential family finds out, they tear the lovers apart. The spirited young couple still find a way to elope. The film moves from Udaipur to Mumbai to Kolkata, which is a departure from the original. It’s an engaging journey, but the treatment isn’t consistent all through.
With Dhadak, Shashank Khaitan steps out of the ‘Dulhania’ mould for the first time. Yet his third outing has many visual similarities to his earlier films. Owing to the source material, Dhadak is his darkest film yet, but it is a change in storytelling tone and setting that works for Khaitan.
The director presents the naive romance with sensitivity, even while fusing the story with ample dramatic highs. But at times, Dhadak looks a little too polished and slick. Even when the lead pair is struggling to make both ends meet, they never lose their fashion quotient, always appearing prim, and proper in almost every situation. For a film that stem from harsh reality, the glossed over aspect makes it rather unbelievable.
When it comes to the performances, Ishaan’s personality has the energy and zest of a newcomer, while his performance displays the cool confidence of a seasoned actor. He is pitch perfect in dramatic scenes and his puppy eyes keep the innocence of this love story alive.
Jahnavi, on the other hand looks radiant and beautiful; her innocence makes you believe in the love story. Well, she does come across as a little raw in comparison to her co-star, especially in dramatic scenes that demand a powerful performance.
The film overall was looks well-made, but more attention to detail and delving a little deeper into the subject, would have given the movie an edge. There is also a hard hitting climax, and the build up to it has a palpable tension.
With all its strengths and weakness, Dhadak attempts to highlight some shocking truths about our society, and for this, it makes it a worthy watch.