It takes a while for you to settle down with the pace of the movie. Ishqiya starts with Krishna (Vidya Balan) in bed with her husband, who is on the run from law and Krishna doesn't like it a bit. He commits to Krishna to surrender, if they don't come to power...and before you know, there is a big explosion. In some other part of the country, Babban (Arshad Warsi) and Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) are enjoying a wild dance, where they are chased by Khalujaan's "mooh bola" Jija ji. They manage to fool him and run away with a booty, only to land up at Krishna's residence in Gorakhpur, whose husband was their friend, after being turned away by dozen others.
The plot seems quite simple as Babban and Khalujaan hope to cross the border to Nepal, while Krishna seems busy with a dairy business and domestic work. However things don't always according to our plans, and it's shown more than once in the movie.
All the characters in the movie have many layers to them. And you can never guess the motivation of the all the characters. While Khalujaan, coming from a family with music background falls for Krishna's music talent, and it seems for a while, Krishna is interested too. But, then things turn around quickly, when Babban who has been lusting after Krishna for quite a while, snatches her from him after a much publicised smooch sequence. When the tables turn, things have already moved too far.
In a kidnap drama, plotted to raise money to pay off the creditors, after the booty disappears mysteriously and leave a few more on the table for all to share, events unravel in an unexpected manner, when the Director deliberately confuses the real business of the rich target. While they do a lot of research to pick the right target, the owner of KK Steel, it's obvious that not all were equally informed about the selection criterion. After a much rehearsed kidnap plan goes awry, things move in a fast pace leading to the climax, when Krishna is confronted again by her husband, who is actually not dead as assumed.
And here, I found one of the best dialogues in the movie when he tells Krishna, that he really loves her a lot, but he also likes his profession and can't leave it and so, he had to make a choice. Love really means different for different people and some times, competition in love comes from unexpected quarters.
You also find out, how Krishna knew, there was definitely more than what met the eye, when the explosion occurred. Then, you wonder, if all the events were orchestrated by Krishna or she just happened to be there. And you are reminded of one of the earlier scenes, when Krishna tells Babban and Khalujaan, that things will happen only according to her plans.
In the movie, no one is exactly whats visible on the surface. People have different agenda and after all, human beings are quirky, have their own whims and it's difficult to always predict what drives them or what lies beneath. Many times, you wonder, why things don't happen in this way or that. Again, Ishqiya is not your story, it's the story of Krishna, Babban, Khalujaan and their lives. In your life, Ishqiya could be something different. Ishqiya is also about women power. The movie rests a lot on Vidya Balan's shoulder who carries it off, quite well, I must say. It shows, that you don't need to use your muscles to get things done, you can as well use a part of your upper quarters to get things to happen in your own way.
Both Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi deliver great performances and they seem to be a natural pair, matching each other's ripostes, tit for tat. After playing Circuit in Munna Bhai series, Arshad will be happy, if there are more such roles for him. It's obvious, Abhishek Chaubey has learnt his trade well from his guru, Vishal Bharadwaj and it's a very confident debut. The songs, especially Ibn Batu ta and Dil To Bachcha Hai are obviously the picks of the album, with a few old songs beautifully intertwined into the plot especially in the interaction between Krishna and Khalujaan.
However, I fear due to lack of star power and glamour, the movie will not appeal to a wide section of the audience. Already an adult certification will keep out family audience from the theaters. The subtle humor interlaced with some expletives is not for everyone either. Ishqiya is also about a different India, away from the glamour, the gloss, the malls, foreign locales and eye-candy girls dancing in night clubs. Are you ready for it?
As the characters walk to the horizon and the credits roll, I just hope, they don't attempt to make a sequel. It may just spoil the Ishqiya.