rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Movies » Dhadak Review: Many scenes brought tears to my eyes

Dhadak Review: Many scenes brought tears to my eyes

Last updated on: July 23, 2018 18:11 IST

To those who feel that Dhadak doesn't measure up to Sairat, Kshamaya Daniel, 18, has one piece of advice: We're talking about wine here, not scotch.

Imagine this: You're having a get-together at your place.

A friend brings a token bottle of wine.

Ever the gracious host, you thank them kindly, but when you're in alone in the backroom setting it aside, you glance at the name and the year.

It's just an average branded, young bottle of wine; not too cheap, not too expensive, but definitely not something you'd order at a restaurant.

Years pass.

One Friday night, you've just gotten home from work, you're spent and weary. You could do with a lie-down and a nice glass of wine.

You spy the gifted wine bottle.

Hmm, it's been a few years, the wine may have matured.

You grab it and pour yourself a glass. You swirl it around, sniff it, sip it.

The liquid leaves a pleasant aftertaste of surprise at the back of your mouth.

Why haven't you ever tried this brand before? It's pretty damn good!

 

Last night, I opened this figurative bottle of wine: The movie, Dhadak.

A glance at the poster and brief synopsis posted on a Web site told what I was in for -- a typical dramatised love story with a hackneyed plotline and item numbers.

In other words, every Bollywood film ever.

In my mind, the film was no different from that poor, dismissed bottle of wine.

The movie follows the journey of Madhukar Bagla, the boy born on the wrong side of the tracks, who falls in love with Parthvi Singh, the daughter of a corrupt, powerful and wealthy politician.

Despite these 'tracks' of class between them, the pair fall in love after a cringeworthy, yet comical, courtship.

But...

Once Parthvi's father Ratan Singh discovers their love affair, this romantic comedy descends into dark themes of domestic violence, police brutality, economic inequality and sexism.

More or less following the events of the original Marathi film, Sairat, the pair elope to escape Singh and are lead on a tumultuous adventure that teaches them cardinal lessons about life -- one of them being love. And the other, loss.

The first 45 minutes of the film is just as expected: The story is predictable; the acting, lukewarm.

Any fascination I had was focused on the debut of Janhvi Kapoor, daughter of the iconic actress Sridevi.

Despite the pressure she undoubtedly felt, knowing she would be compared to India's first female superstar, Janhvi holds her own, even making a touching tribute to her late mother at the start of the film.

Slowly and steadily through the movie, one can see Janhvi's confidence building, as she somehow grows the role, despite her privileged Bombay lilt warring with her character Parthvi's Marwari words.

While Janhvi's style of acting takes a little getting used to, Ishaan Khatter wows me from the beginning. He completely owns his role.

As far as I'm concerned, there was no Ishaan in sight because Ishaan was Madhukar. You couldn't tell where one began and the other ended.

In comparison, Janhvi's portrayal of Parthvi was not as smooth, but I will applaud her performance in the second half of the film where she nailed quite a few emotional scenes.

Each character's costumes are very appropriate to their financial status.

Parthvi, who comes from a wealthy family, is always portrayed in tasteful Indian attire. She looks stunning.

Madhukar has a middle-class background, one can deduce that by looking at his outfits -- decent quality, simple clothes, some ratty Kolhapuri chappals with one or two special outfits that he throws in to impress the lovely Ms Singh.

Once the two lovebirds have flown the coop, they have significantly less money, and are more dressed down indicating their monetary shortage.

It's the smaller details like these that give the film more depth and sharpen the underlying messages like the class differences.

This could not have been touched upon more poignantly than in the scene where Madhu gently teaches Parthvi how to sweep the floors of their new 'room'.

The supporting actors played a large role in setting the mood of the film and their acting deserves a hat tip.

Ashutosh Rana plays Ratan Singh so well that I positively hated him; Kharaj Mukherjee plays a fun(rum)-loving Christian man who takes Madhu and Parthvi under his wing and Shridhar Watsar plays Madhu's hilarious sidekick and brings some cheer into the dreadfully boring first half of Dhadak.

While the dialogues are appropriate, it would be pertinent to point out that the language used is a Hindi-Marwari mix with even some Bengali thrown in. It might be difficult for some to understand.

Before we get to the music, I should mention that my views are coloured by my teenage sensibilities and I probably don't have the same taste in music as that of older generations.

Like any other Bollywood film, Dhadak, is not without its musical numbers and if radio stations are an authority, the movie's title track Dhadak -- sung by Ajay Gogavale and Shreya Ghoshal -- is already quite popular as well as the remake of the song Zingaat, from the original movie, sung by Ajay and Atul Gogavale.

The film is shot mostly in Udaipur and then Kolkata, with a little cameo from Mumbai sandwiched between them.

The forts of Udaipur against Lake Pichola make for a marvelous romantic backdrop.

The narrow streets of the whitewashed city charm you as you watch Madhu racing through them to get a good look at his lady love.

The Lake Palace, of course, got its five minutes of fame.

Later on, we get a refreshing taste of Kolkata with its bustling streets full of signature yellow taxis, chaat stalls in front of the Victoria Memorial and several wonderful shots of the Howrah Bridge.

The film, unlike my bottle of wine, didn't take anywhere near years to mature and my initial reckoning was soon turned on its head.

Having not seen Sairat, Dhadak is quite delightful, as the plot twists and then completely veers off the well-worn, hero-heroine-ka-luv-ho-gaya-ab-nacho path. The latter half of the movie makes up for the former.

As the film progresses, the acting gets better and story, more interesting. I was hooked. By the end, it had left me on the edge of my seat.

To the naysayers who feel that this movie doesn't measure up to its Marathi counterpart, Sairat, I have one piece of advice: We're talking about wine here, not scotch.

It would be best to realise that the target demographic for Dhadak is the younger generation. And many of them, like me, have never seen Sairat and probably never will.

All of us know about inter-caste/class tensions, but the sheer brutality of it never hit me until I saw Dhadak.

Producer Karan Johar has used young actors like Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter and the frivolous dialogues between them as vessels to, for want of a better word, dumb down a 'heavy' concept for young movie-goers, who would ordinarily avoid or dismiss films on dour matters.

Even though the film is a remake, there is a need to compliment its director.

Many scenes brought tears to my eyes, while the final scene was so artfully done that I could barely breathe.

Despite the rocky start, this tragic romance comes to life under Shashank Khaitan's direction and gives a powerful message to the audience.

And if the gasps and chuckles I heard in the theatre were any indication, I'd say I am not the only one who enjoyed Dhadak.

Rediff Rating:
Kshamaya Daniel