Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khatter, Ashutosh Rana, Ankit Bisht, Aditya Kumar, Aishwarya Narkar.

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Rating: 2.5/5

The much awaited Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter starrer Dhadak has finally hit the big screen now. Produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and directed by Shashank Khaitan, Dhadak is an official adaptation of the Marathi blockbuster Sairat.

Story: Madhukar (Ishaan) and Parthavi (Janhvi), daughter of a hotelier fall head over heels in love, but their caste difference becomes a major barrier in the romance. The lovers go against all odds and societal protocols to save their love.

Review: Dhadak attempts to highlight some of the shocking flaws of our society. Set in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Dhadak pin-points the society where the population is not free to fall in love outside the societal boundaries and norms.

The essence of playfulness which made the young leads stand out and was quite prominent in Shashank khaitan’s previous projects (Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania and Badrinath ki Dulhania), was missing in this venture. The film rather tasted quite bland in the palate.

The evolution of the surreptitious and risky college romance and the lovers’ forced flight when the girl’s merciless class-conscious family comes to know of the affair, doesn’t quite jump out of the screen and make the audience’s heart cry for the two lovebirds in Dhadak, like it did in the original Sairat. The universe created by Dhadak is way too artificial and lacks in the effort to arouse empathy.

The film deviates a lot from Nagraj Manjule’s narrative Sairat, which was sorted and built upon the anxious personal understanding of the backdrop. Dhadak takes away the focus from the lovers’ plight. The two are never out of the harm’s way even when they run away and settle in Hyderabad. Caste is a heating issue and that is the central theme of the film. It is used a couple of times in phrases but Dhadak does not offer to dive into the complexities and miseries of what it actually means to be of lower caste in our country. Dhadak divides the plot around which Sairat swiveled and takes the chord out from the film’s climax.

Neither the kachori-eating contest which replaces the village cricket match of the original Sairat nor the stolen kiss that releases the chaos, nothing that director-writer Shashank Khaitan creates, is able to save Dhadak from its unconscious state. Dhadak lacks the relevant drama and authenticity. The scenes are underlined with roaring background music, dictating us how to feel.

Great love stories go after deep-seated prejudices of caste, religion or other such barriers and show how love triumphs over all odds. Sairat has all these elements to be marked as a gem of a love story. Dhadak on the other hand lacks in the fundamental screen-burning passion which any love-story should have and also fails to bring out the socio-political issues that Sairat was based on.

There is very little visible chemistry between the leads though some flirty ‘nonk-jhonks’ can be spotted. But neither Khatter’s nor the late actress Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi’s performance lives up to the mark to show us that the characters would make ends meet for their love.

Farah Khan choreographed Zingaat (remake) turns out to be a peppy number. The title track Dhadak, Pehli Baar and Vaara-Re prove to top the charts in the Box-Office and are the new top romantic numbers to hum.

Sairat was set in rural Maharashtra and the second half was based on a slummy locality in Hyderabad. It shifted the spotlight towards how the couple had a hard time living in Hyderabad with the hardships they had to face. Thus, they learnt that you can run but save hiding and this becomes one of the most heart-wrenching climaxes. Dhadak on the other hand, is set in Udaipur and Kolkata and does throw some tough times on Madhukar and Parthavi which they overcome pretty easily. This makes the climax pretty hollow and makes it look like the end is not quite worthy.

Ishaan has a portable and expressive face. He turns out to be quite charming on-screen. However, Janhvi has a hard time emoting out to the audience. Though the film has the high-spirited Zingaat still there is no apparent ‘zing’ in the film. Before the release, there were high-spirited hopes that it would be a modern contemporary displaying the harsh social barriers that lovers have to face, but the film fails to do so. Dhadak sadly doesn’t match up to the expectations one gets after watching Sairat.

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