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Not using the same set-up as Sairat makes Dhadak less effective

Dhadak, directed by Shashank Khaitan, has Udaipur as its place of action, but does that serve the purpose?

bollywood Updated: Jul 21, 2018 21:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dhadak,Sairat,Janhvi Kapoor
Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor in a still from Dhadak.

Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khatter’s Dhadak is the Hindi remake of Marathi film Sairat (2016). The original film was directed by Nagraj Manjule who was very clear about the idea he wanted to showcase in the film. He maintained the focus on caste division, and he felt that a rural milieu would be integral to his theme.

Manjule shot the film in his own village in Maharasthra’s Sholapur district. In an earlier interview with Hindustan Times, he said, “I decided to let the story shine in an entertaining and honest narration. I think that’s why it’s clicked.”

Rural set-up provided Sairat the authenticity any good project would crave for. Without much of make-up, Parshya and Archie looked like common people -- they were youngsters we see around us everyday.

Watch: Dhadak Movie Review

Then there was the geography of Sairat, and Manjule took extra care in establishing the boundaries of the village. In Dhadak, Udaipur takes the centre-stage, literally and philosophically. It’s a beautiful city with amazing places and stunning lakes, but they also digress attention from what’s happening.

In an interview with Reuters, Shashank Khaitan, the director of Dhadak, explained why he wanted his film to be set in Udaipur. He said, “I wanted to set the film in Udaipur because of the people there. The germ of Udaipur is very royal. You will see that people have pride in their city and that is what I wanted to capture. I have heard of terms like ‘airbrushed’ but all I have done is put a camera on Udaipur. That is how the city looks. I didn’t want to unnecessarily desanitise it just to be fake. My effort was not to make a sanitised version of Sairat, it just came from where I wanted to set it.”

However, this probably made the project look more polished and urbane, something totally in contrast of Sairat’s realism. While the audience’s views matured with the progression of Sairat, they saw everything from a distance in Dhadak.

Actually, cities like Udaipur don’t have many barren spaces, there are always people around. Even if the director decides to not show them, you sense their presence. Otherwise why are there so many houses around? You know in your subconscious that there are going to be people behind those walls.

Sairat’s most memorable images had Parshya and Archie sitting in solitude far away from the prying eyes of the society. It was easier for them to remain hidden in Sairat, but in Dhadak, there was always a chance of things getting out of hand. The jungles, fields and old houses worked like a blanket in Sairat. The sense of something sinister happening was better conveyed in Sairat.

The fear of unknown is diluted in Dhadak to some extent. Sairat possibly scored over Dhadak in that region.

Further, Sairat’s village had a distinct environment. It was place where caste identities cemented over centuries. Udaipur, on the other hand, has a mixed population. There are people from different groups who are using Udaipur as a business vehicle. The city doesn’t have an orthodox nature.

Ashutosh Rana’s aggressive hotelier and political strongman definitely brought forth the royal pride of the yore to the forefront, but it was more like a class distinction than caste.

Then the director gave Ishaan Khatter’s family the same profession as Rana, and it changed the dynamics of the caste in the film. Khatter’s father kept calling Rana ‘Oonchi jaat waale’ (people of higher caste), but probably he meant people with better financial situation.

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First Published: Jul 21, 2018 19:05 IST