Movie Review: ISHAQZAADE by FENIL SETA
Yash Raj Films have delivered innumerable love stories that won our hearts and are still close to us, years and decades after their release. With the changing times, they altered their approach slightly and Band Baaja Baaraat was an apt example. And here comes Ishaqzaade which is what a typical Yash Raj Films should be – classic and timeless! However, there’s a catch! It significantly stands out from Band Baaja…, DDLJ, Kabhi Kabhie, Veer-Zaara and other YRF romantic films. To begin with, there’s no Swiss Alps. The film is set in the dingy and dusty bylanes of a fictional UP town. When the lovers fall for each other, the angry fathers don’t shower slaps, they shower bullets! And the loverbirds cuddle, kiss, make out but also abuse, curse, slap, point the gun at each other plenty of times throughout the film! But in the end, what matters is that the film has turned out to be an outstanding product thanks to the lead actors and not to forget, Habib Faisal’s script, dialogues and direction! This has to be one of the must watch films of the year!
The story of the movie: Parma Chauhan (Arjun Kapoor) and Zoya Qureshi (Parineeti Chopra) belong to rival political families in the small town of Almore. Since birth, they have been taught to hate each other and that they should not even hesitate to use the gun, if need arises. Parma and Zoya get into a confrontation with each other days before the election, with Zoya eventually slapping him. However, soon they both realize that they are alike. And in no time, they fall in love with each other. But how would their families, who hate each other since years, react when they learn about this near-impossible love story?
Ishaqzaade starts with a bang and zaps you immediately in the small bad world of Almore where politicos are the kings and police and legal action are unheard of. The entire rivalry between the Chauhans and Qureshis is well depicted without resorting to clichés. The manner in which the warring souls, Parma and Zoya, fall in love seemed little quick but was totally convincing. However, the best moment of the first half has to be the intermission point – it hits you like anything! Superbly executed and performed!
Ishaqzaade enters a different territory altogether in the second half. Newer problems and newer confrontations! And it’s in this hour that the film turns into a gripping and gritty tale with the viewers clueless as to what lays in store ahead. Once feels terrible when the families commit devilish acts to separate and kill Parma and Zoya and one can’t help but hoot and support the lovers on the run. That the characters, the town and the setup look very real is an added bonus. Even the action is so true to life! One might call the climax unacceptable or even formulaic but the way it has been executed makes it stand out! One comes out of the show with a heavy heart having seen so much violence and gore but more than that, it’s the villainous acts done by the characters that shock you. And that something like this is happening even in 2012 makes your blood boil. And as Aamir Khan has rightly said, “Dil pe lagegi tabhi baat banegi”! Ishaqzaade justifies this context very well!
Ishaqzaade is embellished with two mind-blowing and award winning performances of Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra! Arjun is a powerhouse of talent and supremely confident. He looks ease performing even the most difficult scenes. His expressions (especially his cunning smile) are killer! Arjun is fortunate to have had such a dream debut just like Ranbir, Imran, Neil and most recently, Ayushman Khurana. Hope he keeps delivering such bravura performances in the future as well! Way to go AK!
Parineeti Chopra had won everyone’s hearts with her cute act in Ladies VS Ricky Bahl. And now she steals our hearts once again with Ishaqzaade! The actor understood her role very well and made sure she did total justice to her gun-toting firebrand character! And her biggest asset is that even in the presence of plenty other well-talented actors, one can’t help but focus only on her. She did this as Dimple Chaddha in her debut film and repeats it in Ishaqzaade and this is a feat! I am dying to know when and what she signs her next. My only wish is that she remains choosy and signs only strong and character-driven roles. She deserves it!
Gauhar Khan (Chand Bibi) looks stunning and as expected, performs very well. Anil Rastogi (Parma’s grandfather) performs his negative role with élan. One feels like delivering two tight slaps on his face, especially in the second half! Natasha Rastogi (Parma’s mother) was excellent and has a major role to play in the film. Ratan Rathore (Zoya’s father) and the actors who play Parma’s friends, Zoya’s brothers, Zoya’s mother, the pimp and all others give a nice performance.
Amit Trivedi’s music is rocking and the songs are cleverly placed in the film. Pareshan is surely the best song of the lot, also because the way it has been shot. The other songs – Jhallah Wallah, Chokra Jawan, Aafton Ke Parindey and the title song – too have been well composed and filmed. The last two take the film many notches higher! Ranjit Barot’s background score is out of the world and amazingly compliments the narrative! Hemant Chaturvedi’s cinematography is gritty and raw which is what the film needed. Sham Kaushal’s action, as said before, looks absolutely real. The film has loads of action but nothing is unconvincing – neither cars nor people fly around! Great work SK!
Aditya Chopra and Habib Faisal’s story was nothing new. After all, two rivals, initially hating each other, but then falling in love, has been beaten to death in Bollywood. But Habib Faisal’s script and direction ensures viewers get an altogether new experience. He sets the film in a small UP town amidst guns and politics. The characters bring freshness to the film. Also, the manner in which Parma-Zoya secretly meet each other – in amusement parks, graveyard, abandoned factories, railway yard – makes for an interesting watch and puts up a smile on viewer’s faces. The second might could have got repetitive because of the constant running and chasing but again, Faisal works his magic! The climax might not be acceptable to many but then, the film was always supposed as real as possible. Finally, Faisal’s dialogues are quite smart. Lot of cuss and ‘ungentlemanly’ words too has been used and it’s a surprise that Censor Board didn’t mute these words and also doled out ‘U/A’ certificate! And on the other hand, ‘tawaif’ gets muted in Tees Maar Khan while cuss words in Jannat 2 are retained but with an adults-only certificate! Hilarious!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Parma and Zoya’s entry
2. Parma enters Qureshi’s den
3. Parma-Zoya in the loo
4. Parma-Zoya in the graveyard
5. All songs of the film
6. The intermission point
7. Zoya enters Parma’s place
8. All scenes of the brothel
9. The last 20 minutes
On the whole, Ishaqzaade is gritty, violent and shocking but is also a classic love story which is what Yash Raj Films is known for! Habib Faisal ’s story-script-direction and exemplary performances by Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra are the strengths of the film. This extremely gripping film should be loved by majority of audiences, inspite of its unconventional climax. If you want to skip the film or wait for its ‘censored’ TV premiere , do so at your own risk! After all, such outstanding love stories don’t come often! Go for it and get zapped into the world of Parma and Zoya!
My rating-***** out of 5!