Note to self: Aim for the stars so that you fall among the clouds. Moderation in expectations is the mantra.
This week’s big release Ishqiya is a story about two conmen, Khalujan and Babban on the run who take shelter with their friend’s widow, Krishna (played by Vidya Balan) in a village in Eastern UP.) It turns out that Krishna is even more crooked than the conmen. Together, the three hatch a plan of kidnapping a millionaire. Because the men need money and the lady seeks revenge. Also, the kidnapping sets in motion a series of events that take the movie to its close.
Ishqiya starts off with a bang. The opening scene sets the tone for a racy thriller.. Dark, brooding, rustic. Half way through the movie, you realize the film’s all three, but in a half-ish way. Its dark but not dark enough. Its funny and yet leaves you wanting for more. Its rustic but Vidya’s accent betrays her ruralness. Its lusty yet there is just one lovemaking scene when there was scope for more. And this is only the first grudge.
The film has nothing new to offer in terms of the plot. Conmen on the run, find shelter in a small town, accomplice joins them. The film derives its strength from its characters. Out of the three, Arshad Warsi as Babban is nearly flawless. He switches between menacing and cute effortlessly. The other two leave a lot to desire. Vidya is seductive but not effectively rural. Naseeruddin is good, just that. The film’s script is not powerful enough. There are no abuses for Vidya Balan, the only one she uses has already been shown in the trailers. The pace of the film is leisurely but the music is mesmerizing and is put to good use. Infact, the music is the highpoint of the film.. Not just the two chartbusters, but Rekha Bhardwaj’s haunting voice bring class. The makers have very intelligently kept the length of the film short, thus sparing the viewers prolonged agony because towards the end, the script goes zany and abstract. The twists seem forced and harried and the treatment of the climax is a little tacky too.
The only area where the film gains brownies is the tremendous screen presence of its lead actors and great music. Arshad Warsi is great to watch not only because his comic timing is near legendary after Munnabhai 1 and 2 and Golmaal but also the dialogue delivery. Even here, comedy is there but too far and few in between. Which is the actual cause of the resentment. The actors show potential, but the film disappoints on many levels- Poor script, slow pace, poorly etched side kicks.
How happily would I have given the film a 3.5 or 4. But this one leaves too bitter an after taste.
Ishqiya is best a DVD watch. On the big screen, the disappointment is just as magnified.