Dhadak Has No Pulse!
A vanilla remake of the hard-hitting Marathi film Sairat,
Dhadak is just an overly long story about a runaway couple.
While Sairat was raw and gritty, the caste divide between
the lovers very obvious and cruel, here it gets a makeover.
The first half has a romance made tolerable because of the
lad Ishaan Khattar, but the second half is like the girl (Janhvi
Kapoor) annoying and unable to get out of a scene intact.
How delightful is the boy Ishaan Khattar! You saw him shine in
Majid Majidi’s disastrous Bombay story, Beyond The Clouds, and
now here. He is Madhukar here, and we are told by his dad, ‘Stay
away from the girl… They are of different caste… You will be in
The girl is Parthavi, the local politician’s daughter sassy and pretty.
She knows the lad has been following her around, and just like
Sairat (set in a small town in Maharashtra), this film too makes the
same mistake. Udaipur is a small town – usually hotbeds of gossip
and telltale folk – and yet no one reports the romance to the rich
dad, not even to curry favor.
Well, the songs by Ajay Atul are sweet but Rajasthani they are not.
The kids are caught kissing and are separated and beaten up and
the girl comes to the police station and at gunpoint drags the lad
away to freedom. Of course they have not thought about the
Sairat really got gritty here, and took their penniless state to really
cringe-inducing levels where you could not pop a kernel of the
multiplex popcorn without feeling guilty. But these two runaways
find shelter immediately and then a way out. And yes, the awful
pointless reference to writer director Sachin Bhowmick is
unmissable. Did they not find a different Bengali name? Sachin
Bhowmick wrote way better characters than this film can count.
They needed a vertically challenged Shridhar Watsar who plays the
comic relief Purushottam to ham it out in every scene. Even
Parthavi’s brother (in Sairat, he’s called Prince, even though his
actions are anything but) is a cardboard bad guy. Ashutosh Rana
gets to glare at the camera and his ‘badness’ is unmissable. I wish
they had thought the story through to really adapt to the setting
The end is too long coming. And the iconic slapping scene in
Sairat shows us how poverty and helplessness can dehumanise
anyone and kill the storybook idea of romance, does not shock you
here at all. Anyone else in the lad’s place would have slapped the
boring heroine much earlier. You are relieved to leave the theatre,
hoping the young actress will sign up for acting lessons if she wants
to step into her mother’s shoes (she’s late Sridevi’s daughter). But
Ishaan shines, and you hope he gets better scripts than Dhadak.
There’s no heartbeat here, no pulse. Dhadak just flatlines.
(This review appears on www.nowrunning.com )