Dhadak isn't a remake, rather an adaptation—this statement has often been repeated by those associated with the film on various occasions.
Director Shashank Khaitan, after watching Sairat, said it was mind-blowing. "I wanted to keep watching the film in loop to understand it better," he said at the trailer launch on Monday.
Sairat, in the last two years after its release, has already inspired a Kannada (Manasu Malligey) and a Punjabi (Chana Mereya) remake, and has been a landmark film in Marathi. About two star-crossed lovers, the nuanced film by Nagraj Manjule, explores caste politics while also keeping it entertaining. The popularity of the song, Zingaat, from the film is such that no social event in Maharashtra is complete without playing the song a few times over.
The previous two remakes haven't been able to recreate the success of the original. But the trailer of Dhadak is emotionally charged and has a benefit because of the two lead actors who come from a family of established actors. However, if the grapevine is to be believed, the caste angle which added the heart-wrenching layer to the original, isn't a part of the Hindi version being produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions and Zee Studio (that produced the original).
Khaitan, however, says that his film is more of a homage. He wants to take it to Manjule to watch it. Almost taking a jibe at himself when Johar remarked that something like that would make him nervous, Khaitan said that since he started with a remake of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, he is not scared.
The film is set in the Mewari milieu. The actors, at least from what the trailer gives away, haven't been able to ace the Rajasthani accent. It also hasn't been able to recreate the rawness of the original in terms of the sets and the looks. It seems bigger and glossier, but we'll have to wait and watch.
The good part though is that the heart-throbbing beats of Zingaat remain intact with Hindi lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya and music by Ajay-Atul. Even Yad Lag La has been recreated from the original for the film besides two original additions in the album. Bhattacharya said that it was quite daunting to rewrite Hindi lyrics for a song that has almost become an anthem.
At the trailer launch, the two lead actors didn't talk much, especially Janhvi Kapoor, who confessed to being nervous and remained too shy to speak. But she mentioned watching the original with her mother Sridevi, and expressing her desire to do a role like Archi portrayed by Rinki Rajguru in the original. She said she understands that it is not possible to come close to the original but has tried her best to remain honest to the role.
Ishaan Khatter, who is reprising the role played by Akash Thosar in the original, during an interview with THE WEEK ahead of the release of his debut, Beyond the Clouds, had said, “It is definitely different than working on a film that is an original script completely. Having said that, I would also like to say that our film is an adaptation. It’s both similar and different to Sairat—the essence is the same, it’s the same story, but the characters are different. Shashank (Khaitan), our director, also felt it was important not to have too strong an image of the film that we are making from the original. Because then, we would not end up making something original, and not making something spontaneous and real, rather copying it. I think it’s important also to understand the film you are making but not scrutinise it any more than that.”
“The only way Sairat affects me is on an emotional level because I love the film and it moved me when I saw it," said Ishaan who was taken in and consumed by Sairat.
While it is for sure that Zingaat will again be the party anthem of the year, we will just have to wait and watch if a regional masterpiece can be given a new lease of life with a Bollywood adaptation which is obviously shot on a bigger budget and in fancier locales. Dhadak will hit the screens on July 20.