Before I begin writing about Dhadak, let me make a confession about a few biases and insecurities that I harboured regarding the film as I made my way into the theatre. Also, kindly be informed that there are spoilers ahead.I haven’t seen Sairat. I believe a state is only as good as the cinema it makes and I take pride in being a Maharashtrian, the land of Jogwa, Court, Fandry and Natrang. My thoughts were not coloured because of Sairat, however, after Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, and the infamous male-rape joke and flawed production, I have little respect for Shashank Khaitan as a director.I really felt that Janhvi, the daughter of my beloved Sridevi, could have had a better launchpad. I was concerned for her. Though I hate to admit, I also assumed that Ishaan Khatter’s youthful energy would be difficult for Janhvi Kapoor to match and that she would fall flat on her face after her first film. Looking at the promos, it almost seemed like Ishaan is a far better actor than Janhvi. I assumed that she would be reduced to a glam doll or may really turn out to be a non-actor.Despite all these thoughts I walked inside the theatre with the hope of being proved wrong. And boy, I was so wrong about Janhvi. She was real and earnest. Her mother could eloquently speak in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, and Janhvi nailed the Rajasthani bhaasha effortlessly. Truth be told, it is more difficult to play an understated character than playing a loud one with squalling eyes. Janhvi as Parthavi turned out to be a symbol of bravery. She held her own right from the first frame. She submitted herself to the role. She was exquisite, exasperated, hassled and yet, restrained. Her eyes revealed the war raging within her.Parthavi conveyed a rare combination of vulnerability and confidence as she spoke the Rajasthani royal language with as much ease as she muttered lines in Bengali. In real life, Janhvi is eloquent in English. In Dhadak, she infused the language with a heavy Marwari accent.Parthavi is a strong woman. In fact, the character is a lesson in feminism. Throughout the film, the woman asserts her rights and her free will. She rides her brother’s bike, she gets the men to vacate the pond with self-assured flourish. She holds sway over everything around her, be it people or things. It is endearing to see her exchanges with her boyfriend. The film imparts a lesson or two on consent. Parthavi’s body language implies that her consent cannot be taken for granted. Rightfully, the man of her dreams seeks her permission to kiss her. She obliges but isn’t submissive. She upholds her prerogative over her body. When her boyfriend asks her “roti kaun banaega” she nonchalantly says “tum” and then goes on to say “ghee kam lagaana”.Parathavi’s character is brilliantly etched. Through most of the film, Ishaan Khatter wears a terrified look on his face. With very few exceptions, he is either scared of love, confessing love, or standing up for love. Janhvi is the one who offers him solace. She snatches the gun from a police officer to point it towards her temple to rescue her boyfriend and then holds his intimidated face against her chest to touch him with her courage.Bollywood is obsessed with long distance trains. Be it Aradhana, Sholay, DDLJ or Jab We Met, most films with train scenes have been massive hits. However here’s the difference. In Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayeinge, it is Raj (Shah Rukh) who pulls Simran (Kajol) inside the train, in Jab We Met too, the male usher gives Geet (Kareena) a hand, however, here it is Parthavi who leaps into the train first and helps her boyfriend Madhu (Ishaan) inside. Such subtle messages go a long way in impacting young impressionable minds.One may blame the director for depicting her as well-groomed throughout the moments where she was running for her life, however, this film was set in Rajasthan and was as much about privilege as it was about the challenges. In a world where poverty is sold as a cause or a virtue, the film doesn’t shy away from being rich in its scale, where it is required.Please watch Dhadak, for Parthavi, for Janhvi. Please. We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.