This was a tricky one since I still can’t make up my mind whether I liked it or not. On an overall note, the movie started with a bang (literally), retained the pace for next hour and a quarter and sadly, ended with a whimper.
By general precedence love stories are memorable when they have a tragic end. Iin literature, age old Romeo-Juliet, or our very own Heer-Ranjha, in recent time Erich Segal’s celebrated Jennifer & Oliver, and in Indian movies, Raj & Rashmi of ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ and Vasu & Sapna of ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’. What made these stories was the end that moved the readers/audience. But should a story be told to make it memorable or should it be told keeping in view the tenor of the story and the justice it deserves?
A fictitious small town, two families Chauhans & Qureshis who are in constant feud with each other, pettiness of politics, a sexy siren to entertain in between and a love-story born in the dissonance and finally leading to a tragic end as a victims of greed & ego...in a nutshell, this is Ishaqzaade for you. What certainly deserves a mention is an energetic performance by Parineeti Chopra portraying ‘Zoya Qureshi’ and a trained honest effort by Arjun Kapoor bringing life to ‘Parma Chauhan’ on screen. The role of ‘Dadda’ played by Anil Rastogi stands out for sure, and definitely Gauahar Khan as ‘Chand Bibi’, the ‘naachnewaali’ with a heart. Parineeti Chopra & Gauahar khan seemed to be effortless on screen.
Parma to take revenge since Zoya had slapped him publicly and score brownie points in his Dadda’s eyes, takes advantage of Zoya, plays with her trust, dumps her as the mission is accomplished and finally maligns her publicly, which helps the Chauhans to win the election. The firebrand lady turns up in his household all armed, a series of incidents which gets Parma’s Mother killed in hands of Dadda. The lad understands the sheer self-centricity of his family, and goes through a change of heart towards the woman and finally manages to win her over. The story has been told beautifully till this point, and I felt that going forward the writer got into two minds as to how the end should be and the film started lingering without a purpose.
The end would have been perfectly justified had the premise been set likewise. To illustrate, Chauhans were shown as a bunch of male chauvinists, greedy and vengeful – The Grandfather doesn’t bat an eyelid while swearing at his daughter-in-law or slapping his grand-son right, left & centre...so their attitude towards a love-story that is against their interest is quite understandable but Zoya’s family was not a stereotypical conservative small-town Muslim household; the Father lets his daughter go out even late in the evening, drive an open jeep in the town, even does not object to matching steps with Chand Bibi when she comes to perform at their place in front of the crowd, and to add even let her chase the rivals with the rest of the boys of the house...in short, indulges her to a great extent. So, if this is the mind-set displayed how can he be so rigid towards their daughter’s happiness?! He could be angry, upset but not hell-bent on taking her life! Zoya’s disillusioned eyes when her Father lets her down on the festival day of Eid was a moment that one can’t miss. But, I am afraid I don’t quite agree with the end, since it did not lead up to the cues given in the initial portrayal of the story. But having said that, the setting is beautiful, the dialogues well-written and small-town Uttar Pradesh nicely captured.
Love stories don’t necessarily have to have a tragic end to be remembered is what I’d tell the makers. Definitely a one time watch, and one looks forward to more from the lead actors, I’d just go with 2.5 out of 5 for Ishaaqzaade.