DHADKAN tells the story of Dev (Sunil Shetty) and Anjali (Shilpa Shetty), who are in love with each other. Anjali's parents (Kiran Kumar and Anjana Mumtaz) are against this match as Dev is not only poor but also a child out of wedlock, while Anjali belongs to the upper crust. Dev's dependence on Anjali is tremendous, as he has none but her to call his own.
When Anjali leaves Dev to marry Ram (Akshay Kumar), Dev is heart broken. His worries multiply when his mother (Sharmila Tagore) also dies, shocked to hear about her son's split with Anjali. However, Dev continues to hope for Anjali's return.
Dev feels that he lost Anjali to Ram because he had nothing to offer her in this materialistic world, so he decides to become rich and get her back. In the meantime, Ram and Anjali are anything but a perfect family. After all, Anjali's heart yearns for Dev, but she slowly starts loving and respecting her husband, Ram, whose love for Anjali knows no bounds.
Enters Sheetal (Mahima Chaudhary), a sophisticated girl from London, who falls in love with Dev, knowing fully well that Dev is in love with an already-married woman.
DHADKAN is a modern-day love story that talks about the lengths an obsessed lover can go to, to win his love. His obsession knows no limits; winning back his love is all that matters.
DHADKAN is an intense love story and director Dharmesh Darshan has handled it with the sensitivity it deserves. The initial few reels make the base for a love triangle. Sunil and Shilpa parting ways, Shilpa and Akshay's marriage and the turbulent times their marital life faces ? Dharmesh Darshan comes to the point straightaway, not meandering on various tracks at all. The re-emergence of Sunil Shetty at the interval is a turning point and one eagerly looks forward to the second half of the film.
The second half has its share of strengths and weaknesses. The intense sequences between Sunil and Shilpa have been handled with maturity, but the screenplay leaves several questions unanswered, like:
* From a humble beginning to a millionaire overnight, Sunil's rags-to-riches story has not been explained at all;
* Sunil's partnership with Mahima and how they got to know each other, also remains a mystery;
* The power games indulged by Sunil in reducing Akshay to a pauper, could've been simplified for the common man to decipher;
* For a man who is obsessed with Shilpa, his willingness to marry Mahima in the end seems a bit far-fetched too. Was he planning to enter into a relationship (with Mahima) on a rebound, is the feeling the viewer gets at the end.
The ending also leaves the viewer confused. Anpam Kher is introduced as Mahima's father and when she talks about her plans of marrying Sunil, Anupam gives a not-too-happy look at the mention of Sunil's name. But a minute later, the film ends abruptly.
Moreover, the goings-on get so grim towards the latter part of the film that the viewer yearns for respite from the goings-on. But there are hardly any light moments to balance the tense ones. Also, a few characters in the story tend to get loud and theatrical at times. The Sushma Seth ? Manjeet Kullar track, which looks straight out of 'Cindrella', should've been controlled for a better impact. Ditto for Naseem Mukri, who goes overboard in the second half of the film.
Yet, despite the flaws, one has to acknowledge the fact that Dharmesh Darshan succeeds in melting the heart at several places. The entire marriage song-sequence in the initial reels, prior to it the scenes involving Sharmila Tagore, Sunil's portions in the second half, clearly indicate that the director knows his job well. He relies more on close-ups to capture expressions, which is the hallmark of a seasoned technician.
Nadeem-Shravan's music is another asset. The film has haunting tunes and the ones that linger in your memory are 'Dil Ne Yeh Kaha Hain Dil Se', 'Aksar Is Duniya Mein' and 'Dulhe Ka Sehra Suhana Lagta Hain', rendered by the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, which is undoubtedly the best song of the film ? lyrically as well as impactwise.
The only song that throws a spanner in the smooth sailing of the film is 'Na Na Karte Pyar', which conveys Shilpa's feelings for her husband. However, Shilpa's change of heart would've had a better impact had it been revealed as part of a scene, with dialogues, rather than this song.
W.B. Rao's cinematography is top class yet again. The film is rich in visuals and the outcome is splendid. The background music (Surender Sodhi) is very effective. Dialogues are first-rate. They sound fresh to the ears and elevate the emotional scenes considerably.
And now to the performances! The life of the enterprise is undoubtedly Shilpa Shetty, who looks good, delivers her lines effectively and emotes with utmost conviction. DHADKAN should catapult her to the big league instantly and she should concentrate more on roles of substance henceforth.
Akshay Kumar shows vast improvement as an actor. He is very controlled and handles this difficult role with sincerity. Sunil Shetty scores yet again! His role has shades of grey and he handles this complex role with flourish. An actress of Mahima Chaudhary's calibre deserved a better role. Her characterisation is not well defined. She is wasted in an inconsequential role.
Sharmila Tagore leaves an impression in a brief role. Kiran Kumar is superb as Shilpa's doting father. Anjana Mumtaz is equally nice. Sushma Seth tends to get loud at places.
On the whole, DHADKAN is targeted at the gentry, not the masses, which will restrict its prospects to a major extent. Trimming the film in the second half is a must.