Film Review: 'Ishaqzaade'
As far as love stories go, Ishaqzaade takes the age-old formula of boy-meets-girl-from-the-wrong-family/caste/religion/class and gives it believable characters and enough twists to keep cinema-goers returning to the box-office. Even the posters for the Yash Raj film have been treated to evoke the retro-glam of a yesteryear Bollywood romance, featuring two desperate lovers against the world. The story then isn’t new, but writer-director Habib Faisal (Do Dooni Char) keeps the film consistently dramatic, endearing and gritty so that the audience is constantly engaged, and wondering what will happen next.
Our urban love story is set in the present day amidst the melee of a fierce political rivalry between the Qureshis and Chauhans, who are contesting the same seat in the Almora district of Uttarakhand. Parineeti Chopra’s Zoya and Arjun Kapoor’s Parma are the youngest members of these respective families to be actively involved with their fathers’ bids for re-election. We first encounter Zoya and Parma’s egos clashing publicly during an awareness campaign at their college where our anti-hero insults Zoya’s family by urinating on her father’s posters. And from here on, sparks, bullets, slaps and abuses fly between our two lovers right through to the end of the film. Kapoor’s portrayal of Parma as a scruffy, bloodlusty Lothario is brilliant, replete with too much testosterone, a Gabbar-worthy leer, and an ever-ready pistol. Chopra’s Zoya grabs hearts immediately with her dusky good looks, coruscating eyes and the kind of believability that Kajol brought to her roles in her younger days. Though the film centres on her romance with Parma, it’s Zoya’s character that takes centrestage and becomes the vehicle for the emotion and resolution of the story.
Ishaqzaade blends a bunch of Hindi movie motifs from religion and family honour to politics, but without the melodrama we’ve become jaded by. Event though the film loses a little pace toward the end, Habib’s script is never sluggish or unctuous. Chopra and Kapoor make a convincing on-screen couple, with great magnetism and a visible hunger for each other (not least demonstrated by their unbridled kissing scenes).
Ever the classic Bollywood love story, Ishaqzaade packs in love, violence and tension that keeps you guessing through a spate of twists and turns. Despite its familiarity, the movie is Bollywood reinvented for today’s abrasive world and an audience that wants its heroes and heroines sans the pantomime and schlock for which the industry is often ridiculed.Tags: Arjun Kapoor, Bollywood, Film, film reviews, Habib Faisal, Ishaqzaade, Parineeti Chopra