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Movie review: Ishaqzaade

 

 
The saga of the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet is a familiar tale. The subject has been attempted numerous times by filmmakers over the years and here’s one more bid. What matters is how you showcase the subject and the setting to still make it appealing.
 
Writer-director Habib Faisal (who earlier made Do Dooni Chaar) sets his tale in a north Indian small town against a political backdrop. Romeo is Parma (Arjun Kapoor) and Juliet is Zoya (Parineeti Chopra). Her father and his grandfather are rivals and are contesting the legislative assembly elections as rival candidates. There is not only the political divide, but there is also the issue of religion.
 
 
Parma (whose other family members called Dharma and Karma!) is far from the quintessential lover boy. He is the gun-brandishing rude and uncouth guy who wants his dada to win --- by hook or by crook. Zoya is the firebrand chemistry topper. She takes on the onus of ensuring her father’s victory and insists on wearing his waistcoats altered to her size as she aspires to be a MLA herself one day. They are as different as chalk and cheese.
 
Cupid’s arrow strikes but theirs is not just the usual love story, as Habib’s script especially in the first half goes great guns. From the opening scene itself, it is clear that the maker has paid minute attention to the detailing right from the characterisations, the set up and to the lingo. From the quaint narrow alleys to the railway yards including those chausa mangoes that Zoya’s folks keep having on the dining table. Add to the fact that there is lawlessness as everyone owns a gun and fires at his/her fancy.
 
Debutant Arjun and one film old Parineeti (Ricky v/s Ladies Tailor) are ably supported by the character actors who fit their roles. There are no familiar Bollywood supporting character actors, perhaps that’s what makes them real. Even though there are no big/known names, it make for a watchable fare. To add to the oomph factor is Guauhar Khan in a cameo and her Chokra Jawan Hua act.
 
What makes the first half compelling is the sudden unexpected twist in the tale. Arjun, who has put in an earnest effort, does remind you of a younger version of Abhishek Bachchan in several scenes while Parineeti makes her spunky character seem real even though her fierce frowning act in the opening sequences is a tad too overbearing sometimes.
 
Though the second half of the film does meander with the focus only on the lovers with the political rivalry taking a backseat, it catches up a bit at the fag end. If only the second half had not meandered into a redlight area, this film would have been a great watch, but still it is worth a viewing.

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