Ishaqzaade

Yashraj films

Habib Faisal

Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Gauahar Khan

*  * *

Interesting, yet not quite there

It is heartening to see the small town India making its presence felt in cinema like never before, in a real manner, without making a caricature of itself. Its not very often that you have the lead pair romancing and running in the most non glamorous of places you could imagine, and more importantly, without the air brushing, without the gloss and floss. The narrow lanes with broken walls, the garbage loaded stretch of lands, the ruined gardens, the buffalo-house (tabela) all are the stage for this story of star crossed lovers of a fictitious small town on U.P. where guns and whores are the order of a day.  

Apart from getting the regional flavor right, which by the way has become a norm for all of the Faisal’s scripts now, (Band Baja Barat, Do Dooni Char) this film has a lot more going for it. the lead actors are just as close to perfection as one would expect. Debutante Arjun Kapoor excels in his portrayal of the local goon Param. The rawness, the energy and the josh just make his performance extremely likable and that he can dance adds to the charm! The guy is here to stay, it makes us believe. And so is the girl, Parineeti. She proves that all those best debut awards were no flash in the pan, and her screen presence is just palpable, making it hard to take your eyes off her. Even Gauahar Khan sizzles in her dance numbers and an oh-so-clichéd role of a prostitute with a heart. Being a Yashraj product, the production values needless to say are better than satisfactory, and music by Amit trivedi is already a chartbuster.

And how you wish the same could be said about the rest of the aspects. The characters, the performances all are as good as you’d want, but somehow they fail to create the magic, and story is the culprit. The story of political rivalry between the Chauhans and Quereshis in the small town of Almore picks up really well, but it gets confused as to which route it should take. Infact at the intermission, you realize it is not a love story at all. But in the post break portions, it turns into a sensitive take on the plight of inter caste lovers in the small town India. And that’s when the plot loses steam.  Though the fight and chase sequences are interestingly shot giving a glimpse of the real plight of small town India, they seem repetitive at times.  The sudden change of tone from a fun entertainer to a social drama just doesn’t fit well. And the climax, though apt and kind of expected, could have been dealt with in a fresher way.

A confident debut by the lead actor, a fire cracker of an actress, and some interesting music and sequences, make it worth a watch, if you could ignore the lack luster second half.

Average, a potential desi- Romeo Juliet gone wrong.

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