Filmmakers often feel banking on the success of the original is the easisest way to attract viewers for the remake. But what should they do when the remake is so horrible that the viewers wonder why the director even bothered? Don't be surprised if you come across moviegoers who tell you that Shashank Khaitan's Dhadak clearly fails to live up to the original Marathi film Sairat directed by Nagraj Manjule.
Despite being a Marathi film, Sairat earned a huge acceptance among the non-Marathi audience. Reason? Manjule didn't conform to the expected Romeo-and-Juliet cliches and was massively successful in breaking the norms which are usually linked with regional cinema. Unfortunately, the remake neither has an element of surprise in its screenplay; nor boasts convincing performances. As a result even though it’s only 137 minutes long, you find yourself worn out by the time the lights come back on.
Set in Udaipur, the story kicks off with young love blooming amidst politics and an overriding class divide. The much-in-love couple in Dhadak - Parthavi Singh (Janhvi Kapoor) and Madhukar Bagla (Ishaan Khatter) first meet as college students in Udaipur. While the óonchi jaati Parthavi is the daughter of an incredibly influential and immoral local politcian Ratan Singh (Ashutosh Rana) from Rajasthan, Madhukar is happy to help his parents in running a restaurant in the city. The two invite censure and wrath as they fall for each other - much against the wishes of their parents. The feisty couple decide to elope and the film shifts from Udaipur to Mumbai to Nagpur to Kolkata.
Agreed, actors Khatter and Kapoor do their best to make Dhadak as believable as Sairat, and even succeed in surprising the viewers, a bit though. But the performances aren’t as raw and natural as what we witnessed from Rinku Rajguru and Akash Toshar in Sairat. For instance, Rajguru could leave an indelible impact on the viewers with her performance. Even though she was a newcomer, she came across as an experienced actor who never looked uncomfortable exhibiting her strong emotions. Kapoor pales in comparison, she couldn’t act with the right power and intensity to pull off emotional scenes. Khatter doesn't disappoint. He can scream with excitement, look a bit timid, express his pain on feeling betrayed and dance flawlessly. Ashutosh Rana isn't bad, but deserved more screen time for playing evil with perfection.
Since the film's music has been composed by Ajay-Atul, it too doesn't disappoint. While the title track is a winner, Zingaat and Pehli Baar will get stuck in your head.
Like Sairat, Dhadak isn't a poignant story of caste conflict. The characters'evolution looks fake much like its climax. And by the end of it, all you say - Yeh kya tha?!