Dhadak – A new dark chapter of honour killings

‘A pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives’ – excerpt from William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy ‘Romeo-Juliet’

The word ‘Dhadak’ means beat of heart. Heart skips a beat when you glance at your sweet heart every time she passes through your sight. Love happens, love birds swear to stay together till the last breath of life. Only the lucky ones survive to tell their love stories to their grandchildren. Not everyone is lucky as Raj and Simran from movie – Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenege where Simran’s understanding father allows her daughter to elope with her lover. Had Raj and Simran been killed, the movie wouldn’t have got the universal appeal. Real love stories are different from reel love stories. There may be a happy ending in a romantic Bollywood flick, but in realistic love stories, such instances are rare.

Out of 100%, 80 percent of love birds become victim of honor killings. Taking this issue as a topic, Producer Karan Johar is all set to release his new tragic love story – Dhadak featuring fresh debutants Ishan Khattar and Jahnvi Kapoor as the love birds struggling to survive in the hate-driven society obsessed by caste, custom and orthodox beliefs.

Dhadak is remake of 2016’s blockbuster Marathi movie – Sairat which highlighted the dark horrors of honor killings. The movie was applauded by both critics as well as audiences. A fisherman’s son Parshya falls for Archi, a politician’s daughter. Obviously, this relationship is not accepted by the politician. The lovers elope, rebel and get married secretly. The climax ends on a disturbing note when the girl’s family kills both Parshya and Archi. Movie Sairat had two remakes – One in Kannada and other in Punjabi. The Punjabi movie – Channa Mereya was equally entertaining as the original. The 2018 movie Dhadak has a different climax which is more chilling and disturbing than the original movie.

Movie – Sairat is inspired by several honour killings case. Even today inter-caste love is a taboo in India.

The premise of movie ‘Dhadak’ is based in Rajasthan where a commoner boy Madhukar played by Ishan falls in love with a politician’s daughter Parthavi played by Janhvi Kapoor. Tension erupts when the politician gets a wind of the love affair of her daughter with a petty middle class boy. The boy is thrashed by the politician’s goons but the girl rebels against the father and elopes with her lover. The real test of love begins when Parthavi and Madhukar escape to a new city away from their family, facing hunger and loneliness. They fight, quarrel and separate only to realize that love can endure any hardships. Madhukar and Parthavi get married and start living a happy married life. Little do they realize that a dark past from their life will come chasing to break their nest of love. Will Madhukar and Parthavi face the same fate as Parshya and Archi in original movie ‘Sairat’? Will the families of Madhukar and Parthavi unite? Is family value, tradition, religion above everything? The upcoming movie Dhadak will highlight the dark chapter of honor killings this July.

William Shakespeare was the first author to highlight the issue of honor killings in his romantic tragedy – Romeo & Juliet. Despite aware of their warring families, their children fall in love only to die horrifying death. The circumstances force the lovers to end their lives on a tragic note. Even today, love marriages are not acceptable, especially in India. Though Romeo-Juliet’s story ended with suicide of lovers, today’s young lovers are killed miserably by their parents. This heinous action is termed as ‘Honour killings’. Even today inter-caste love is a taboo in India. Every year several lovers are brutally murdered somewhere in the name of honor killings. According to statistics, 1000 honour killing cases are reported every year in India.

Though love starts on a happy note, it definitely ends on a violent note in India. Even after several years of independence, our people are still stuck to false honors, customs, religion and traditions

In countries like U.S, children are left free at age of 16 by their parents. They are free to choose their partner. Once the son completes his graduation in U.S, he is gifted a car by his father. There is open-mindedness among parents and children in foreign nations. Even a girl is given freedom to choose her partner. She can learn, travel and party freely with her friends. But in a conservative family of India, a girl has to reach home by 7 pm. Even if she mistakably decides to marry a boy of a different caste, either the girl is severely thrashed or the boy is kidnapped and beaten to death. For a family in India, their honour is greater than their child’s happiness. They would prefer to kill their daughter, but never sacrifice their emotions for their child. This is grim fact that honor is greater than emotions in rural and urban areas of India.

The most shocking case of honour killings occurred in India in 2007. A newly wed lovers – Manoj and Babli were kidnapped and brutally murdered by the girl’s family.

Manoj and Babli had rebelled against their families and got married. Even the boy’s family was against this relationship. The killing of this couple was ordered by a khap Panchayat, a religious based council in rural villages of Haryana. Though the accused were arrested, but the lovers paid a high price at the cost of their lives. Especially in rural areas of India, such heinous judgments are passed by the Panchayat. I strongly feel that law system should take severe actions against honour killings and put a stop to these violent brutalities.

The 2015 movie – NH10 was loosely inspired by Manoj and Babli honour killing case in which couple witness an honour killing. Though the couple tries to protest against the incident, the killers become hell bent to kill their witnesses. The 2012 Yashraj movie – Ishaqzaade was based on inter-caste love conflict where the couple shoot each other to avoid falling in hands of their blood thirsty families. Even the 2010 movie – Aakrosh focused on topic of honour killings.

Produced under the banner of Dharma Productions, Dhadak is scheduled to release on 20th July 2018 and marks the debut of late actress Sri Devi’s daughter Janhvi Kapoor in Bollywood.

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4 Replies to “Dhadak – A new dark chapter of honour killings”

  1. Nice and intriguing article on honour killings and how they have made for some of the most heartbreaking stories on the silver screen. I would just like to point out that Romeo and Juliet did not really portray the deaths as ‘honour killing’. For the record, the two families were in a state of war and what the two lovers do is to unite them together. There was no honour involved and even the families were not involved in killing their children.

    Have my doubts about ‘Dhadak’ as a film but i loved that you highlighted ‘NH10’. Most people forget the horrific honour killing angle in that brilliant film. That scene of Deepti Naval’s devilish matriarch sorting out the private belongings of her daughter after she has been killed on her own orders is spine-chilling.

    Still, what was missed was Dibakar Banerjee’s LSD. The first story of that shattering film was just unbearably painful in its bitter climax. Till today, that conclusion to what was a romance as heady and lusty as Bollywood breaks me to pieces.

    1. Thanks for your honest reviews. Yes, Romeo and Juliet was not about honor killing, it was a fight between two warring families. But still somewhere the Montagues and Capulets were boastful of their status. NH10 had highlighted about the honor killings which captured my attention. It was NH10 that inspired me to rewrite this story on honor killings. Once again thanks for your earnest review.

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