Romeo and Juliet is a formula that somehow manages to work in Bollywood. The “will defy family for a lover” and “will run away from the world for love” and “will die for love” ideology has been a Bollywood stereotype that has made its way in real life for some unfortunate souls.
Making love immortal by dying is absolutely stupid in reality of course. But in fiction, it somehow works.
One such movie is Dhadak, a romantic drama released in 2018 starring Ishaan Khattar and Janhvi Kapoor in lead roles. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can stream it on ZEE5.
Dhadak is a remake of Sairat.
Sairat is an adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. So was Ek Duje Ke Liye. (Fun fact: Kamal Hassan wanted Sridevi, Janhvi Kapoor’s mother, to be the lead in the movie)
So was Qayamat se Qayamat Tak, So was Ishaqzaade, (the debut movie of Janhvi Kapoor’s stepbrother Arjun Kapoor)
So was Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram Leela (starring her cousin Ranveer Singh in the lead).
What’s with this family and Romeo & Juliet adaptations?
Anyway, one such adaptation is Sairat. And Dhadak is the official remake of Sairat.
What happened to Dhadak?
Most movies in that list were successes. Why did Dhadak receive mixed responses? Because Dhadak had baggage. It had the pressure of being a remake of a movie that received widespread acclaim. Many Bollywood masala movies with plots/scripts picked up from successful regional language movies, Sairat had surpassed the ‘regional’ tag to win hearts all over.
Also, the fact that you’re remaking or adapting a recent movie means the spoilers are already out there. Avoiding spoilers to kill the movie and of course, the need to make something similar yet different pushes the makers to make changes to the movie. A noble thought, but one that alienates the audience who showed interest despite having watched the original.
The conversations on nepotism, the “Romeo + Juliet = ☠️” plot, the backdrop of honour killing, the do-over of Zingaat and the backlash of the fans of the Marathi original also weighed Dhadak down.
When making a movie about a serious issue, you have to treat it seriously, otherwise, it becomes a parody. The movie felt confused and so was the audience. It has the plot and makings of contemporary cinema, but the build of commercial masala movies. In the process, it was neither.
The only thing the movie achieved successfully was building a following for Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khattar.
Ishaan Khattar was the standout in this movie because he played his character with great nonchalance. Maybe his performance will be appreciated better once he plays more versatile characters.
Since, you know how Romeo and Juliet ends or how Sairat ends, you expect the worst as the movie progresses. The makers build to the end very slowly, slow enough to make you forget about what could happen. It slowly builds hope and happiness and you’re scared for a sudden end. Hence, the climax was downright devastating. If you’re into those kinds, (you monster!) you’ll love it because it was shot really well. It builds up the anticipation.
Janhvi Kapoor looked and played her character well in the first half, but she struggled towards the second half. She needs a lot of polishing to play such roles. Maybe, she’ll learn on the job as most star kids do.
The trailer for the uninitiated showed a lot of potentially happy moments. Folks go to movie theatres for entertainment, unique stories, celebrations, with the aim to leave happier than they walked in. They don’t go wanting to be devastated. That’s not what you expect from a Karan Johar production. That’s not what you expect from someone who made Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania. (though they did deliver something strange in the form of Badrinath ki Dulhania) So yeah. This movie is a failure of marketing. If you strip away the build-up, drop the expectations and watch it, maybe you’ll have a better opinion.
Dhadak is a movie better suited for online streaming where you can watch it again and again. Dhadak will make its place in the annals of Bollywood history in a space similar to Saawariya of Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. That’s because some might find it to be a one-time watch, but it has the potential to hit the spot for many, making it rewatch material. It’ll also be known for this gem of a dialogue.
If tragic/gritty romances are your evening’s entertainment, you should also definitely check out Sairat, Fandry, Akaash Vani, and the recent Kedarnath on ZEE5 as well.
Also, if you’ve seen Dhadak, REVHUMAN would love to hear your thoughts on the movie. Do start a discussion in the comments section!