No zing!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Jul 2018 12:17:58


FILM REVIEW

Dhadak

By Aasawari Shenolikar,

The moment someone inserts the word ‘remake’ in their creation, comparisons become inevitable. Be it a song or the entire movie, incessant arguments are put forth by the aye sayers and the nay sayers. So when Dharma productions picked up the rights of Sairat, the sleeper Marathi blockbuster of 2016, it was inevitable that Shashank Khaitan’s caliber of remaking a film that delves into the cruel reality prevalent in the society, will be put to test and inspected under the microscope by critics.

Dhadak is about two youngsters - belonging to different castes. It is only when Madhukar Bagla’s (Ishaan Khattar) father warns his son to stay away from Parthavi (Janhvi Kapoor) ‘kyuni woh unchi jaat ke hain’, the audience realises that the issue of caste is being addressed here. Else if you take a look at the two families - while Parthavi’s is rich and influential with her father Ratan Singh Rathore (Ashutosh Rana) trying his hand in the field of politics, Bagla’s are not steeped in poverty. They run a restaurant in Udaipur, and are pretty well to do. The two youngsters, from different castes, lock eyes and Cupid strikes. The boy and girl elope when the girl’s family wants to put an end to their relationship. The journey takes them to Kolkata where they settle down and start living happily. But not before going through a bit of struggle. This, thus, forms the crux of Dhadak.

Helping Khaitan recreate the tender romance and later delve into the ugly reality of life are the supremely talented Ishaan Khattar and the gorgeous Janhvi Kapoor, both of whom who also are saddled with the tag of nepotism. Did the trio pass the litmus test? Well, they don’t score a hundred percent!

By setting the movie in Rajasthan where everything is ‘rangilo’ Khaitan splashes dollops of colour making it glitzy and glamorous than the original. In the colourful milieu, the content is diluted and the starkness that made Sairat stand out, is sorely missing here. Khaitan’s Dhadak is overly cosmetic and even when the duo is struggling to make ends meet, the frames are picture perfect with not a hair out of place and not a blemish on the face. In the original you could feel the heroine's sheer disgust when she goes to the public toilet, you could empathise with the duo’s frustrations when they argue and bicker over issues, you could relate that for many star- crossed lovers life is not a bed of roses. In Sairat, Parshya’s sidekicks Pradeep and Salim, were real - and they were not there for providing comic relief only, they had author backed roles. Parshuram, Madhukar’s friend in Dhadak tries to force the laughs and most of the times fails miserably.

Sairat scored because it brought to life the caste equations that are enmeshed deeply into the social milieu. It worked because all through the narrative, a cloud of terror hung over the lives of the two youngsters who dared to defy their families. Dhadak, unlike Sairat, does not address the caste politics in detail, it only superficially skims over the issue and that is where it falters. The climax is such a letdown. And a note at the end about honour killings fails to strike home. The last scene in Sairat stays with you, for it depicts the reality prevalent in the society and how for some, honour is above everything else

The first half is breezy and imminently watchable because of Ishaan Khattar - as he falls completely in love with Janhvi, the audience falls in love with him. You feel for him, you smile with him and for him. The second half is a drag because Khaitan just doesn’t get anything right here. The strifes and struggles that Sairat’s Parshya and Archi faced, their struggle to overcome the extreme situation that they found themselves in when they settle down in Hyderabad, their fears, the sheer anguish is completely given a go by in Dhadak. For the duo of Madhukar and Parthavi, when they reach Kolkata, things fall into place very comfortably - house, job, marriage - everything is a breeze.

Ishaan is certainly the wow factor in Dhadak. He is the soul of the movie - free, spirited, uninhibited - displaying a spectrum of emotions - from love to dread, with equal ease. He even excels in the dancing department. Watch him groove in Zingaat, watch him convey his feelings through his expressive eyes. A true star in the making. In her debut, Janhvi shows a lot of promise. But she has many miles to go before she can be counted among the performers of Bollywood. On the screen, she doesn’t come across as a natural as Ishaan is. The talented Ashutosh Rana hardly gets any footage.

Cinematography is top notch and Udaipur is captured beautifully by Vishnu Rao in his lens. Atul Ajay have also done a commendable job and the songs along with the background music gel completely with the tone of the film. Pehli Baar and Marhami are songs that bring out the essence of romance, and Zingaat is sure to make one shake a leg or two.

Every day we read and hear of khap killings and honour killings and are aware that love across castes is still a taboo, still frowned upon and forbidden in our society. The outcomes of such liaisons, more often than not, end up in tragedy. Tragedy strikes in Dhadak too. But this story of doomed lovers is not as evocative as the original. Zingaat might compel you to be a part of the dancing crowd, but the narrative lacks a zing. It is just not compelling enough!
Watch it for the magic that Ishaan spins on the screen, if not for anything else.

The Hitavada Rating: O O O