Story: Parthavi (Janhvi Kapoor), the daughter of a politician and Madhukar (Ishaan Khatter), the son of a restaurant owner fall deeply in love with each other. However, the fact that they belong to different socio-economic classes of society proves to be an obstacle in their romance. They dare to go against the norms of society leaving behind their past lives to keep their love alive. The story revolves around how the lovers face the harsh realities of life but are unaware of the extent their families will go till to keep their family honour.
Review: Dhadak brings a fresh take to Bollywood’s typical rom-coms. With its strength lying in the freshness and innocence it brings to the screen, presenting the new faces of Ishaan (as Madhukar) and Janhvi (as Parthavi). Do not go in the theatre expecting the stereotypical ‘guy meets girl but father has problem’ scenario. The film explores both the positive and negatives effects of love, allowing the audience to reflect upon this, making it all the more engaging. Like its inspiration, Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat, Dhadak dwells upon the facet of love trying to survive in the vicious world of politics and societal pressures. However it doesn’t deliver the grit and raw detailing depicted in Sairat.
Set in Udaipur, the movie begins as a light-hearted romance between the leading couple as they learn to fall in love. The first half is full of happy, cheerful scenes as Madhukar attempts to express his love for Parthavi, who instead decides to tease him further. As the movie progresses, the difficulties faced by the lovers get more prominent as Parthavi’s influential father (played by Ashutosh Rana) finds out about their love and attempts to tear them apart. Against all the odds, the couple find a way to elope. The movie shifts from Udaipur to Mumbai to Kolkata, unlike the original. The second half though remains dark throughout as it describes the challenges the couple face to make their place in a new environment.
Shashank Khaitan has done a praiseworthy job, directing Dhadak as he steps out of the light-hearted rom-coms for the first time. Dhadak marks Khaitan’s darkest film to date as he describes this naïve romance with sensitivity, incorporating highs of drama and suspense with an unexpected end. However, the journey isn’t consistent throughout.
The music by Ajay-Atul was definitely one of the strongest aspects of the film backed by the background scoring (John Stewart Eduri) adding a lot more depth to every scene. The title song ‘Dhadak’ and ‘Zingaat,’ a re-invention from Sairat, have been largely popular with the audience. Owing to its cinematography by Vishnu Rao, the movie is pleasing to the eye, making the most of Udaipur’s landscapes. Monisha R. Baldawa has done a good job with the editing, keeping it crisp in the first half but the pace slackens in the second half to highlight the problems they face in society.
Finally, coming to the performances, Janhvi of course looks beautiful throughout the movie with her rawness adding a lot to her characters performance. However, this being her debut film, she comes across as a little rough around the edges in the dramatic scenes in comparison to her co-star, but it’s a good start to her promising career in the industry. Ishaan (his second film) shows his maturity while playing his role as Madhukar, delivering powerful performances consistently throughout. Yes, it is possible to see that he is new to the industry with his performance but only if you scrutinize every scene. He brings the energy and passion of a newcomer to the screen. His talent and puppy dog eyes are perfect for the dramatic scenes in the movie. Ashutosh Rana plays his role as a merciless father and political figure with perfect intensity, being an experienced actor in the industry. While, Shridhar Watsar (Madhukar’s friend) never fails to make you laugh and is essential to balance the dark theme of the film.
Overall, if compared to the Sairat, it does not have its honesty, realism and depth but Bollywood is more of a commercial cinema in the end. The slow build up tension and suspense towards the shocking, forthright end leaves the audience with something to think about. Dhadak is a pleasant watch taking its audience through a journey of varying emotions with a light-hearted first half but a dark second half, definitely making the movie a worthy watch.
P.S. – DO NOT go for a morning show, trust me, I’m speaking from experience. Not only does the end affect your whole day but – young couples who go for a morning show – not the most pleasant atmosphere.