Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ishaqzaade lights up the fire, but succumbs to mediocrity eventually

Ishaqzaade. A movie through which Yash Raj Films got back to proper publicity of their ventures, which somehow they had appallingly avoided for the past few and it had heralded a dent on their collections for sure. Inspite of producing average to good stuff, they were going down due to their self inflicted whimsy. But with Ishaqzaade they went all out to reach to their audience. Arjun Kapoor's debut as an actor was doused with all it needs from YRF. But more importantly, it was Habib Faisal on the director's seat. The only thing I looked forward to, apart from the gregarious and easily likeable Parineeti Chopra. Faisal has been writing for YRF since Salaam Namaste and has given some strikingly commendable screenplays like Band Baaja Baraat, apart from directing one of the best movies of 2010, Do Dooni Chaar, which mooched for attention but went unnoticed, sadly. If you have not seen it, go watch it now. I went in to the theater investing my faith in Faisal's virtuosity but as I write the review, I am distracted by online shopping and what not, barely an hour after watching Ishaqzaade. I would have rather been engaged by the immersive afterthoughts of the movie.

Ishaqzaade had a lot going for it due to the virile platform its built on. The director. The production house. The actress. The music director. Unfortunately enoug
h, it straitjackets itself to a re-bottled version of a blend of Hulchul (Akshaye Khanna, Kareena Kapoor) and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla), only with an added throttling twist at the interval. There is also a dash of Tashan (Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor) in it. The story is by Aditya Chopra and Habib Faisal and the screenplay/dialogues are done by Faisal himself. The screenplay buttresses on the flavor and the texture of the premise which Faisal manages to set up with breathless grace, like all other times. One has to understand the psych of the characters in a small town to come to terms with the gangwars, the politcs, the male chauvinism and the servility. There are hundreds of irascible bastards and tons of gunshots. Life is lived by the gun in a place where there is no law and order. Women are subject to fatuous bias while men rule is overweeningly rugged and dominating. But when did that not happen in Indian movies? Barely do we have movies that show the woman as the potent one, and they are mostly used as a nubile eye candy. Ishaqzaade, for once, does not do it in its first half. The leading lady is shown to be a rebel who doesnt give in. Faisal lends an alluring treatment to his screenplay, aided by his sharp dialogues and worthy performances. But the searing charm ends with the interval and the movie succumbs to mediocrity in the second half. How many times have we seen this? The curse of the second half.

My problem with Ishaqzaade begins with the fact that the female lead who was shown to be stilted and goaded with self pride and deep fervor to be rebellious submits herself and never really gets her revenge for the fallacy done to her. I may be revealing too much here but its shocking to see that Faisal is almost nonchalant about this. The wro
ng do-ers are not lynched and the excuse is shielded in underscoring the love story, which does look convincing due to his treatment but is definitely unfulfilling. You experience a wistful longing for her to do something more than just being tied around, or being foolish, considering she was the carefree macaw that may be immature but never be crippled. With Ishaqzaade, the whole focus being on the love story doesnt help the viewer but notice the gargantuan slump in screenplay, as there is no subplot to take your mind away, unlike Band Baaja Baarat. Having said that, this might not prick a lot of people as much as I project it does, honestly. If this does not make it crotchety, there is the rehash of old movies that doesnt leave much to imagination or offer anything fresh. At the end of it all, all you are left with minimal rivulets of shining spots such as the performances, the first half and the treatment of it all.

Ishaqzaade is tec
hnically taut, owing to the successful backing by YRF. The music by Amit Trivedi is a winner. Pareshaan is a runaway hit amongst one and all and Chokra Jawaan is a rare variety of item songs. The editing by Aarti Bajaj could have been better considering her measuring standard is Rockstar. Cinematography by Hemant Chaturvedi is average. Dialogues are brilliant and suit the texture of the script perfectly with no holds barred. This is something which Faisal is best at because he hauls you into his world swiftly just by his dialogues.

 belongs to Parineeti Chopra but the script does not do justice to her. The female is a crackling livewire on screen, immensely lovable and condescendingly natural. She lends a rapier edge to every frame she is in, be it her dialogue delivery, her emotion or just the face she makes. She is not stunningly different, neither does she have the looks of a bombshell, but you savor her efforts and chide the incapability of the script to rise upto her. Arjun Kapoor is a welcome find, loaded with the sleight of emotions and expressions but a wriggling dialogue delivery. He does get into the skin of the character well evocatively and takes care not to ape anyone. Its their chemistry that sneeringly grips your attention. Out of all the cadre of supporting cast, no one explicitly stands out. Ajit Rastogi as Chauhan is specially annoying while Gauhar Khan is passable in a small role.

Ishaqzaade has a formidable first half and a scrawny second one, however it still maintains its entertainment quotient all through if you choose to overlook the profanity. It has taken a good start at the Box Office, due to la
ck of competition from the seriously frumpy Dangerous Ishq  and a relatively weak Jannat 2 that came last week. Whether the word of mouth sustains the collections or decrees obscurity is uncertain. At this juncture, I do reflect upon this one thing. Aditya Chopra has a fascination for similar stories in different premises. YRF has made many con movies and many love stories that have similar underlying plot. Some turn out to be better due to better treatment and direction, some dont. But I guess it would help a tad bit more to not obsess over used concepts. As for this one, the rating reflects the part of the movie which evokes reverence. Watch it for Parineeti Chopra!

Rating - 2.5/5

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