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Daawat-E-Ishq review: Biryani gone bland!

Daawat-E-Ishq review: Biryani gone bland!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 19 September 2014

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Movie Title

Daawat-e-Ishq

Director

Habib Faisal

Star Cast

Aditya Roy Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Anupam Kher

First things first, the film is nowhere as exotic as its title. We've all been to buffets where the food looks more enticing than it tastes; this is the cinematic version of that. Apart from that, the film is unclear on its own take on the issues it touches upon. It's disappointing when a film isn't sure of what it has to say.

The super-talented Parineeti Chopra plays Gulrez, a salesgirl in Hyderabad, who lives with her father in their modest, middle-class home. She's a bright girl, good at both academics and sports, but that has no effect on the hardened boys' families that come to "see" her for marriage.

Over samosas, the talk very quickly turns to dowry. "How much," is unabashedly asked. At other times, the family claims to not want any dowry, but hands over a bill for the boy's foreign higher education, in the name of "help". There seems to be no recourse for Gulrez and her father (Anupam Kher, excellent), working as a clerk at the local court.

So far, the film stays on track, bringing to the fore the endemic, embarrassing problem of dowry in our country. Apart from the pressure on the girls' families, it also shows the boy's perspective who ends up feeling like an item for sale. But then, it takes a turn which is highly improbable and unclear on the politics of the film itself.

So Gulrej decides she's had enough and now wants to turn the tables. Soon enough she meets a restaurant owner and chef Tariq (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and romance begins to simmer, but only just.

She's on a mission, and Tariq has decided he wants to marry her in an instant. She's the polished, ambitious academic topper and he's a 12th fail, good hearted, diamond in the rough. They're highly mismatched, but the film wants us to believe in their romance, which doesn't happen. Especially, since they're talking marriage and their families are involved. Too much happens in a span of three days?and the film gets more and more unconvincing.

For one, the characters are confusing. You understand that Gulrez is vehemently against dowry, but you don't see her upset as she's hosting a friend's wedding announcing how much the girl's side is "gifting". For that matter, she never really opposes it; she only appears to have a problem with the amount asked, not the practice itself.

Tariq's character is also half-baked, as you're not sure what his take on dowry is; he's never shown to be uncomfortable with the concept. Their first date talk, where he asks how many children they should have, is a bit much.

While Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Kapoor give charming standalone performances, their chemistry just doesn't take off. Anupam Kher is excellent as the single dad, caught between tradition and his daughter's irreverent views. The father-daughter equation is the highlight of the film, and keeps you engaged in the first half.

The food element is exaggerated in the promos. One wishes the makers had incorporated it more ? the beauty of Hyderabadi and Lucknowi cuisine. There was plenty of scope after all, as one of the characters is a chef.

As mentioned earlier, the film gives mixed signals about which side of the fence it's on. For example, you have a character give up dowry for a girl, because she's so beautiful and intelligent and he feels he's lucky to have her. Which means what? That dowry is ok for plain-looking, average girls?

And you're left trying to figure out the film's take on the anti-dowry 498-A. Is the film supporting 498-A, because it nails dowry seekers? Is it implying women misuse it all the time, but it's ok because, hey, guys ask for dowry too?

Writer-director Habib Faisal (Do Dooni Chaar, Ishaqzaade) attempts a foodie rom-com with a well-intentioned message. Perhaps it's too much to put into one film, and all you get is undercooked, bland biryani, where the flavours clash instead of complementing each other.

Rating: 2.5 stars

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