Review: A silly, sugar-coated copy

Dhadak

Dhadak follows the grand tradition of Bollywood where good regional films that did not get national attention ("Kyunki Hindi hi hamari rashtra bhasha hai, na?") are picked up, dumbed-down, sugar-coated for a vaster Hindi audience. You may, of course, choose to suck in the coating of sugar and spit out the pill.

Dhadak is the remake of the 2016 Marathi classic, SairatSairat stood out for an adorable sense of humour; realistic, likeable characters; an un-melodramatic portrayal of lower caste issues and Dalit crises, while still remaining very accessible to a commercial audience.

Dhadak, on the other hand, is what gets created when Karan Johar happens to a movie. Colours are pumped into it like steroids, less attention has gone into the script than to make sure Ishaan Khatter's and Janhvi Kapoor's clothes match, and there are more product placements in the film than expressions on Janhvi's face.

Sairat and Dhadak both tell the story of a couple, from different rungs in the caste hierarchy, who elope against the wishes of the girl's affluent, dominant family. So far, so good. 

But director Shashank Khaitan assumes that just because he gets the plot right, everything else will fall into place. While the film wants to make a statement on honour killing, Khaitan assumes the message will do its own job.

Sure, there's a token reference to the boy's lower-caste status, but there's not the slightest attempt to reflect that in the mise-en-scene. The gravitas of the honour killing theme is taken away by the fact that you need a microscope to find the caste politics.

What in Sairat was a couple slumming it (literally), in Dhadak become two brats fumbling in a rather comfortable middle-class lodging.

In effect, Dhadak reminds you of Khaitan's earlier Badrinath ki Dulhaniya than Sairat. And no one had asked for that! You had one job, Shashank!

A special mention must be made of Ishaan's acting. Given that the film is also a career-launcher by Karan Johar's nepotism factory, Dharma Productions, Ishaan makes sure he deserves the opportunity. Also a mention of Shridhar Watsar: the comic relief of the film, who does not get his comedy right and is a relief only when he is off-screen.

In conclusion: Dhadak is a remake for all those people to whom two pretty people going broke in Kolkata (of all places) is sadder than how the fabric of caste can destroy two individuals who only want to live together. Just go watch Sairat

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Review: A silly, sugar-coated copy

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