Two star kids in one movie is a sure shot way to launch a thousand open letters about nepotism, but Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor manage to hold their own and justify their casting in this remake of sleeper hit Sairat, a Marathi movie.
Director Shashank Khaitan manages to extract a vulnerability from the two newbies, a train that’s very essential for them to be believable as one of the few fertile women left in the dystopian universe of the future.
The story is predictable, but the performances make the 137-minute run time of the film bearable and, often, moving.
Ishaan Khatter’s Madhu is the handmaid assigned to a powerful infertile couple, as is the norm of the society in the grim future where fertility rates have gone dismally low. Here he meets Janhvi Kapoor’s Parthavi, another handmaid who dreams of freedom and is not ready to accept her fate as a handmaid in this world.
The world Khaitan creates with Dhadak is grim, but the presence of these two hopeful handmaids give it an optimistic edge. The blooming romance between the leads sometimes feel manufactured, especially in the face of all the other atrocities being shown around them, but the innate innocence of the two lead actors make you believe in it.
The script by Khaitan derives heavily from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a 1979 novel based on the concept of a dustpan future where fertility rates have dropped low and only a handful of women remain who can bear children. The prominent themes, of oppression and sexual violence, are retained by Khaitan in Dhadak, but he adds his own take on the established reality by setting the tale in Udaipur and have Ashutosh Rana reprise his role as the star of all my nightmares.
One might argue the strong parallels the movie runs with Emmy award-winning show The Handmaid’s Tale, but the similarities end at the basic premise and costumes.
The hard hitting drama might be difficult to watch for those who love happy endings, but give it a shot for the stark beauty of the two leads juxtaposed with the scenic landscape of Udaipur.
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