Review: Ishqiya is hugely enjoyable

Review: Ishqiya is hugely enjoyable

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 29 January 2010

Movie Title

Review: Ishqiya is hugely enjoyable


Abhishek Chaubhey

Star Cast

Naseruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan

It all began with Omkara ? the city audience?s love for small-town India. Then came others like Dev D, Gulaal, and now Ishqiya; and the love affair has reached the next level.

Ours is a country divided into two ? the city and small-town/rural. The rural is usually portrayed to suffer poverty and issues that the multiplex movie watchers can?t identify with. Then comes the small-town full of delicious quirks and nuances, and its dangerous underbelly. So we travel to Gorakhpur in Easter UP, where Krishna (Vidya Balan) is mourning the death of her husband who was with the `sena?, a grassroots movement. This sena is full of dangerous men who encourage children to pick up weapons and are constantly on the run. Just before his death, Krishna was convincing her husband Verma to surrender. ?I can?t take it anymore,? she cries talking about his constant absence. That?s when she leaves the room and a blast takes away Verma?s life.

Meanwhile two small-time crooks are digging the ground on their enraged boss?s instructions; the boss is planning to bury them there. Babban (Arshad Warsi) the younger, swaggering one thinks up a quick plan. His uncle (Naseeruddin Shah) follows the hint and they?re free, with a bagful of cash. Hunting for a place to take refuge, they land up at Verma?s home. Krishna looks after them and Khalujan, as Naseeruddin?s character is called, finds himself drawn to her. Meanwhile Krishna is leading Babban on, while pining for Verma. Then on, this delicious quadrangle love story takes the more sinister form of a kidnapping, even as you see a glimpse of the small-town rich and their lavish lifestyles.

Small-town India is at its rustic best here: you notice with delight the details with a faded Lux soap-advertising calendar on the peeling wall, to the authentic styling. As in Omkara, the local swear words bring out the most laughs in the screen? it?s inexplicably delightful to the urban viewer. Dialogue by producer, co-writer and composer Vishal Bhardwaj is simple and real, with occasional gems like ?is duniya sab se gehri dushmani miya-biwi ke beech hai? (the deepest enmity in the world is that between a husband and a wife). The music, like Vishal Bharadwaj?s other works, stays with you even after the end credits roll. Gulzar?s lyrics form the perfect accompaniment to Bharadwaj?s tunes. Background score is the best one has heard in a long time.

Complementing the layered characterisation are the performances. Vidya Balan?s straight-faced cunning makes her character unpredictable and immersing. And one wonders which other female actor would agree on a role requiring her to wear drab sarees for the entire length of the film. Arshad Warsi, best known for his Circuit act in Munnabhai, will now hopefully be better known for his Babban. Kohl-eyed, aggressive, foolish, quick; this character is a wonderful one, and Warsi adeptly brings out the role?s varied colours. Naseeruddin Shah is a surprise, wonderfully exposing the vulnerability and foolhardiness of the seasoned criminal who believes that perhaps, he really can get that lovely, young woman to fall for him.

Each character is complex and their intentions are usually far from honourable. But it is the writers? (Vishal Bhardwaj, Sabrina Dhawan, Abhishek Chaubhey) skill that gets us to like each of these quirky people and care for them. After assisting writer-director-composer Vishal Bhardwaj, Chaubhey debuts with a film that?s his own even it contains influences of Bhardwaj?s work and those of noir veteran Quentin Tarantino.

Chaubhey insinuates humour in the darkest of scenes: you guffaw as a man cheats on his wife with the local beauty parlour lady who whips him, or when one of our characters is going to be dug alive and insists on telling a joke. Despite the pace that slackens here and there, Chaubhey?s storytelling is sharp, confident and hugely enjoyable. A delicious tragicomic love story; you must sample this.

Rating: Three and a half stars

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