Call me sappy, but Jhanvi’s touching tribute to her mother, Sridevi, had me reaching for tissues and rooting for her daughter who at the tender age of 21 looks all set to rule the Hindi movie industry. Ishaan is neck to neck though, his wide eyed affection for his heroine winning the hearts of young and old alike in the near packed theatre.
The story line of Dhadak, a remake of the 2016 Marathi film Sairat, is simple-upper caste (English speaking to boot) Parthavi and “lower caste” Madhukar fall in love in picturesque Udaipur(such beautiful lakes!) despite multiple warnings by Madhukar’s father who presumably knows how caste plays a huge role in Indian culture-our modernity is only a façade for our deeply orthodox core. But young love knows no restrictions and finds each other even in the worst of times. And so, Madhu and Parthavi prance around in careless, childlike abandon only to be caught by Parthavi’s father(played by Ashutosh Rana) and brother who have an election to win around the corner(are all Bollywood politicians ruthless quashers of love?). Madhukar and his friends are beaten up by the police and Jhanvi is put under house arrest. Jhanvi is distraught on hearing Madhu’s travails and frees him in dramatic fashion. Both flee and start a new life away from Udaipur. Do they succeed in their journey? Do their parents accept them? Can love trump all odds and emerge victorious? You will have to watch the film for this!
Dhadak is almost exclusively a Jhanvi and Ishaan launch vehicle with other characters playing support functions. But the vehicle is creaky and has too many plot holes. There isn’t much attention given to detail-which castes do Madhu & Jhanvi belong to for instance, or how did they manage to survive a train journey in modern India without money. Or even how Madhu and Jhanvi with their meagre earnings start earning enough to sustain a family. How the movie concludes also reeks of playing to the gallery and is perhaps, an attempt in covering up for the lack of depth. Everything seems too convenient, contrived and glossy. There is also director Shashank Khaitan’s obvious reaching out for tropes, though, to his credit, there is far less than there was in his appallingly backward Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya.
Despite the obvious failings of the film, you will not be disappointed by the strong performances pitched in by every caste member. Ashutosh Rana’s Rana Singh has a quiet menace which can be juxtaposed against Govind Pandey’s portrayal of a father’s desperate love and a hopeless quest to protect his son from all odds. Madhukar’s loyal band of friends played by wonderful actors Ankit Bisht and Shridhar Watsar are a joy to watch as well, despite the thread bare and logic-less characters that they are forced to prop up. Kharaj Mukherjee playing Sachin Bhowmick, one half of an adorable Bengali couple in the movie, is cute and will leave a smile on your face.
The crowning glory, however, belongs to Ishaan and Jhanvi. Jhanvi especially, comes in with huge expectations and she delivers handsomely. From playing a rebellious and madly in love Parthavi in the first half of Dhadak to reducing to a scared and angry one after the interval, she displays an expansive emotional spectrum that would be difficult to pull off for any young actor out there. Ishaan is also a revelation with his fresh faced awe and admiration balancing it later with a rock solid turn. His believability when his silver armour cracks, and then the utter remorse on his face is a sign of greater things to come for this guy 🙂
In conclusion, Dhadak might not be a faithful or a nuanced remake of Sairat, but it definitely deserves a watch!
Ankita Singh for nearbuy.com
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