The ApunKaChoice movie review of Ishaqzaade. No Ishq is more Dangerous than one that takes root amid raging violence. It’s a love that the propagators of hate must quell, squash and annihilate. This love is scarred, blood-stained, baptized by repentance, but innately pure, and fearless enough to snuff itself out. And the fearless hearts that dare to love this love are called Ishaqzaade.
Habib Faisal, the raconteur whose creative pen has shaped stories like Do Dooni Chaar and Band Baaja Baaraat, now comes up with a heart-breaking love story against the backdrop of a violent political landscape of a small town named Almore.
Parma (Arjun Kapoor) is a hotheaded, beer-guzzling, gun-toting grandson of a political heavyweight Surya Chauhan (Anil Rastogi). In the run-up to the crucial elections, Chauhan is pitted against a formidable Muslim rival Aftab Kureishi (Ratan Rathore) whose daughter Zoya (Parineeti Chopra) campaigns vigorously for her father and herself aspires to be an MLA someday.
Guns are drawn right from the first encounter between Parma and Zoya. Even triggers would have been pulled, had not the two been compelled to hold themselves back because of the elections. Somewhere amid this push-and-shove hatred between the two, love takes root and the two initiate a clandestine romance. It’s a forbidden love between a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl from two rival political families baying for each other’s blood. And this love, too, is far from perfect, is beset with deception and betrayal but redeemed by repentance. But won’t this love be swallowed by the dangerous political faultlines?
Though coming from Yash Raj Films, Ishaqzaade is a distant cry from the typical mush and melodrama that the banner is known to churn out. It’s a raw, rugged, realistic love story but not without its shortcomings. Habib Faisal, its writer and director, keeps you riveted through the first half but botches up the second half when the plot progression comes to a grinding halt and is reduced to the cat and mouse chase between the lovers on the run and a bunch of gun-wielding goons out to bump them off.
Yet there are a few sequences that bear the hallmark of Faisal’s brilliance. Like Parma and Zoya’s first few encounters, and when he corners her in a ladies washroom. Or when he makes it out with her in a train coach and dumps her like a hot potato.
The film works primarily because of its leading actors, newcomer Arjun Kapoor and one-film-old Parineeti Chopra. The two not just come up with incredibly natural performances individually, but spark up a chemistry that screams out loud with passion. The unrestrained hugging and kissing they indulge in is just a small part of the magic the two create on screen. Parineeti, for one, is an insanely gifted actress, with such natural expressions as to put a lot of top actresses in Bollywood to shame. Arjun Kapoor is a find. The way he scowls, glowers and then in a wink breaks into a gummy smile is the stuff that makes him control his character of a ruffian so well. His dialogue delivery has no affectation and his body language drips confidence. On the sidelines, Anil Rastogi’s performance as the authoritarian, unapologetic, fiercely ambitious political bigwig is simply excellent. Gauhar Khan, as a sex worker and nautch girl, chips in a good performance.
All in all, Ishaqzaade is a darn good entertainer with an interesting story, good music, and well penned dialogues. The film kicks off well but falls short of becoming a memorable romantic tragedy. But thanks a ton to Habib Faisal for giving us a love story that’s far removed from anything we have seen lately.
If anything, you must watch Ishaqzaade for its young guns: Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor.