Some films are best suited for independent genre. When you try to convert them to full-blown mainstream films, most of the time things can get lost in translation. Dhadak is a classic case of this loss even when the makers have literally copied the original film, Sairat, scene by scene. The content is the same, the scale is obviously magnified many times given it is coming from Dharma Productions, yet it fails to deliver.
Madhukar Bagla (Ishaan Khatter) and Parthavi Singh (Janhvi Kapoor) are youngsters who are different like chalk and cheese. Yet they are attracted to each other unmindful of the difference in their caste and class. Their young love doesn’t understand the cruel play of machismo, ego, politics and “so called” honour. There is nothing new about the story and many variants have been told in many films before. What Sairat was able to gain through its simplicity and realism, Dhadak loses by its glamour. In Sairat, the viewers were immediately drawn into the lead pair’s life. You loved with them and grieved with them. There was palpable tension even when the couple had escaped far away to Hyderabad. That’s why the ending of the film was particularly hard hitting. Dhadak fails to pull the viewers in the story. Instead it feels slow and boring.
Dharma Productions has its favourite cast and crew. Direcion of Dhadak was given to insider Shashank Khaitan who has made hits like Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Badrinath Ki Dulhania. These films have a completely different sensibility than a film like Dhadak. Not only does Shashank direct it, he also wrote the screenplay. Though he tried the easy way out by faithfully copying the original, he still manages to mess it up. He trivializes the whole politics, caste and class difference that was so critical in Sairat.
Given the lack of strong screenplay, the film depends a whole lot more than it should on the young leads. Ishaan is energetic and soulful, a natural performer but Jahnvi is mostly vague, as if she is really somewhere else. Jahnvi could improve with time, Ishan has shown great potential through his two films so far.
Big money can add gloss and sheen to a film but the story has to come straight from the heart. A story chosen because it has made over a 100 crore will not be the same bereft of the original authenticity. If only Dharma productions could have bought the soul of Sairat as well.