Ishaqzaade – Old wine. Old bottle. New ad campaign.

Howard Hawks, the legendary director of classic Hollywood era, famously said that a good film is just ‘three great scenes, no bad ones‘. Ishaqzaade, directed by Habib Faisal, manages to satisfy the first condition quite well but falters badly on the second one.

Ishaqzaade is set in a quaint little fictional town of Almore (pronounced as Al-More and not Al-Morey) in Uttar Pradesh. In most of the scenes, one gets a feeling that Almore is more like a ghost town specifically designed for two warring political factions, the Chauhans and the Qureshis, who are perennially indulging in gun fights over matters as small as diesel supply and as inconsequential as the local prostitute Chand Baby (Gauhar Khan, impressive). Parma (Arjun Kapoor, a cross between Abhishek Bachchan and Sushant Singh, only in looks) is the grandson of the Surya Chauhan (the ruling patriarch of Chauhan dynasty) whereas Zoya (Parineeti Chopra, brilliant) is the daughter of Aftab Qureshi. Both are oddballs who have fought each other tooth, nail and bullets since childhood. Then? Well, then love happens in the times of elections. That is if you are willing to take the risk of calling it love. The first half is breezy and establishes the lead characters pretty well (which is quite easy considering the fact that they are uni-dimensional). The second half…. hmm… the second half is so bad that one wonders if the first half needed to be so good in the first place. Ishaqzaade might go down in history as one of the very few movies where the brilliance of the first half contributed more towards the films overall failure than the dullness of the second half.

Habib Faisal came into this project with a lot of expectations riding on his shoulders. And the strain is evident. He is the one who gave a beautiful little take on middle class Delhi with his Do Dooni Char and wrote the as-real-as-it-gets dialogues for Yash Raj films’ Band, Baaja, Barat. In Ishaqzaade, he tries hard to give a new take on an old tale. He tries too hard. There is nothing new in the story except the inclusion of inter-religious love angle. Mind you, any resemblance to honour killing is inadvertent and purely coincidental. The dialogues, script and direction of the first half is really good, and all the three departments are equally bad in the second half. It seems as if the movie was directed by two different people altogether.

Arjun Kapoor, son of Boney Kapoor, puts in an earnest effort in his first outing. But the character of Parma has absolutely no redeeming traits and is least bit likeable even till the end. One just hopes that he is not another Ranveer Singh in the making. Parineeti Chopra, Priyanka Chopra’s cousin, puts in a brave and commendable performance in her second outing after Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. But here she is completely let down by a character that just cant make up her mind. Is she is a no-nonsense, gun totting tomboy or a weeping and hapless damsel in distress? No one, I repeat, not a single actor in the supporting cast leaves any lasting impressions. Gauhar Khan is an exception but her performance is more enjoyable than memorable.

Like all Yash Raj ventures, Ishaqzaade boasts of great production quality and equally great marketing muscle. Hemant Chaturvedi‘s cinematography is just perfect for such a movie. Amit Trivedi‘s music is par-excellence. Specially the songs ‘Ishaqzaade’ and ‘Pareshan’. Rekha & Chinni Prakash do a good job in the choreography department. A comparison of the Ishaqzaade’s promos and actual film makes me want to give an advice to the honchos at Yash Raj. Why don’t you let the guy who cuts your promos, make the next film itself?

Ishaqzaade treads in the valley of the giants like ‘Ek Duuje Ke liye‘ and ‘Qayamat se Qayamat Tak‘. A journey that becomes fatal because Ishaqzaade lacks three things that these giants had. A story that holds itself together till the very end, a wonderful supporting cast and a lead pair who you genuinely feel for.

Rating: 3/10, one for Parineeti, one for Hemant Chaturvedi and one for Amit Trivedi


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Varun
    May 14, 2012 @ 13:26:04

    A very nicely written article.. Explained almost every part of the movie
    Thanks Murthi, you write awesome stuff!


  2. natrajkumar
    May 15, 2012 @ 10:09:43

    Excellent job at undoing what the promo guy did. Looks like the honchos at yrf can have 2 options after all! Just like they always do what they do, inspite of having what they could!!


  3. Bhai
    May 28, 2012 @ 02:34:57

    i must have committed horrible sins in the past life to be forced to be watch the first 10 minutes of this movie. luckily this life has been nothing but pious living and escaped the horror of the rest of the movie … should have read this way back …


  4. Trackback: Phantom | Baroda Talkies

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