First things first. Going by the trailer, Karan Johar‘s production and Shashank Khaitans directorial “Dhadak” is nothing like the original film “Sairat”.
“Dhadak” is not an adaptation. It is a different beast altogether. Far more flamboyant and feral, filled with noise, colour and drama, leaving behind the comparatively compact world of “Sairat” where the stress was on the friction between the two castes which clashed over the lovers’ audacious crossover from into each other’s forbidden territory.
This is a more generic world of colour, drama and music undercut by an overweening innocence and a ruinous oblivion to the ground reality that makes the lovers look as pristine as Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia in “Bobby”.
Indeed, Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor bring into play the same non-sexual dynamics of intense love that William Shakespeare and then Raj Kapoor mastered in their versions of “Romeo and Juliet”. While Janhvi plays the more knowing half of the couple, Ishaan makes innocence and surrender to the passion of first-love look convincing, sincere and heartfelt even in today’s age of unrelieved cynicism.
In Janhvi, we see heartstopping flashes of her legendary mother Sridevi, specially in the way she projects the arrogant proprietary pride of ownership every time she looks at her utterly smitten other.
I don’t know how much of Nagraj Manjule’s “Sairat” is preserved in “Dhadak”. No much, I suspect. I am sure Manjule would find it hard to recognise his own film in this hybrid avatar of colours and emotions that leap at us with enticing fervour.
But there is one proud mother up there smiling every time her daughter smiles on-screen.
A star is reborn.
By Subhash K. Jha