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 trouble...'
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 consequences.
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 Bhowmik 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 in Rajasthan.
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, Dhadak just flatlines.
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