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Movie Review: 'Dedh Ishqiya'

Rating: 4

Dedh Ishqiya
U/A; Comic thriller
Dir: Abhishek Chaubey
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi

In one of the scenes of this film, the graceful Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) flirtatiously tells Iftekar alias Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) ‘Aapko maine kabhi dekha hai’…and pat comes his reply, ‘Yaad aaye kahan toh ittila zaroor kijiyega, hum bhi dhoond rahein hain apne aap ko.’… This kind of sums up the emotions and sensibilities behind this immensely enjoyable film. And you already know by this time that this one’s a worthy successor to the director’s debut film, ‘Ishqiya’.

Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit in 'Dedh Ishqiya'
Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit in 'Dedh Ishqiya'

Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) of Ishqiya reappear but are more partners in rhyme instead of crime with this one. Dedh Ishqiya is set in this decadent nawabi set-up in Mehboobabad. Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) reigns over a bungalow left to her by her dead poet husband.

The grieving widow has to fulfil her husband’s last wish by remarrying a shayar. Among the suitors are the rich but wannabe khandaani nawaab, Jaan Mohammad (Vijay Raaz) and the man who has had a crush on her since childhood, Iftekar. Iftekar is more a conman with partner Babban (Arshad Warsi) than a shayar The feisty Muniya (Huma Qureishi) is Begum’s constant and extremely close companion, Jaan Mohammad is no poet either but in his blind ambition to wed Begum and massage his ego with the nawabi position, he has captured a poet (Manoj Pahwa) to ghost-write shayaris for him.

The best part of this film is perhaps that there is no compromise whatsoever with the pace, the decadence, the beauty and the purity of the language that a setting of this kind demands. Smart lines uttered in chaste Urdu throughout the film may not be palatable to an unfortunate few, but no one can be immune to the beauty of it all. The sigh-worthy dialogues of this film are only enhanced as they are mouthed by accomplished actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit. Those who recall Naseer playing Mirza Ghalib with absolute aplomb a few years ago will see snatches of the same magical effect.

Arshad Warsi is brilliant as usual. While Madhuri Dixit as the graceful, silent Begum is almost relegated to the background at times in the face of Huma Qureshi’s throbbing, assertive, passionate role. This may be a trivial thing but wish Madhuri’s makeup person was a little less zealous.

The music is another department that doesn’t really disappoint, but it’s definitely not on par with the level this film has managed to take itself to. Watch this film; the world outside would have gotten mellower and more beautiful when you come out of the theatre. Why dedh and not do, did you say? Fellini and his 81/2 should perhaps be thanked for that.

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