The story is similar to the original, where two youngsters fall in love, one of a lower caste, the other from an upper caste. Despite the evident divide in class and status, they fall in love and all hell breaks loose, forcing them to elope. And while they leave their homes behind, only then it hits them the tenacity of their rather rash decision. Should they have fallen in love or was it all worth it?
The original had a sense of rawness that smacks you in the face each time you realise that their love will end tragically and yet you root for them to soldier on. In Dhadak, however, it’s almost too farcical. The two leads, as fresh as they might look, exude all the energy but that barely gets translated into good acting. More often than not, they forget their put-on accents whilst indulging in all things melodramatic. Granted the theme of the story is ‘honor killing’ but their love story barely convinces you in order to stay invested in the film.
While Ishaan still tries, transforming from the lovestruck teenager to an obsessive angry lover, Janhvi takes a while to get her expressions right. Appearing a tad bit confused, her role as a Rajasthani upper class girl takes a while getting used to because till then, you’re convinced she’s just another girl from Mumbai’s Bandra. She tries, but it’s hard to ignore who the real misfit in the film is.
There are scenes in the film that work, such as Ishaan’s Madhu spending time with friends, Janhvi’s Parthavi breaking down upon hearing her mother’s voice, and the general camaraderie that some of the supporting casts share. And while the effort is appreciated to adapt a heartbreaking Marathi film for Hindi cinema, one can’t let go of all the typical Karan Johar elements that remain intact such as perfect hair, perfect make-up, perfect clothes despite being penniless, villains that are more villainous than you would imagine, and songs that are too perfect for revelry. At the end, you’re left craving for some imperfection, for some reality to set in a story based on a far too real subject.