Bollywood more or less first explored Paris through Shakti Samantha’s boisterously fun film, An Evening in Paris. The film went on to become a huge hit, because apart from other credible factors, the film was lapped up by the audience of that time which got an opportunity to get familiar with the nooks and crannies of Paris, the capital of romance.
But that was the age of innocence of 1967 and this is 2013, when Cannes (Paris’ neighbour) is evidently as accessible as a crowded Juhu beach.
In this time and age, if Ishkq is not going to be telling a compelling story, no one’s going to give a flying fit if she is in Paris, Rome or Timbuktoo.
Ishkq is Preity Zinta born to a French mother (the legendary French actress Isabelle Adjani) and Indian father. Ishkq suffers from commitment phobia as her dad had abandoned her mum when she was six years old. In between lusting after Italian waiters and trying to be this extraordinarily and brilliantly charming person (trying is the keyword here), Ishkq happens to meet another commitment phobe, Akash who likes to call himself A with a cash. Don’t ask why. There are many other things in this film, which are also better left unasked and preferably simply ignored. Akash is played by Rrehaan Malliek. He was earlier known as Gaurav Chanana. Did you say what’s in a name, Shakespeare? I shall come back to you later, soon as I am done struggling with the spellings of these names.
The movie opens with a 'Maano ya na maano' moment as Isabelle Adjani starts narrating a story in Hindi, dubbed by someone who clearly has moved up from dubbing for saas bahu serials. Even when you are still reeling under the dichotomy, Akash and Ishkq have already played out scenes inspired by films like Serendipity, Before Sunrise and the likes. Akash promptly falls for the “irresistible” Ishkq (who gets weepy when she sees her mother’s portrait painted by her father in a museum!) and when she turns him down for many reasons, he changes colours and then all hell breaks loose. No, actually it doesn’t. The screenplay is too weak for anything to break or make in this film.
Preity Zinta as Ishkq looks beautiful but unlike her earlier self, she comes across as uhm… like an imposter trying desperately to fit back into that bubbly mould that had made Preity so refreshing and acceptable when she entered the industry. Rrehaan is unbelievably flat, and carries one amused expression that seemed like he himself couldn’t believe that he landed in Paris and into this film.
Adjani is so woefully wasted that I don’t know if it would have made much of a difference if the role was played by a local Sindhi actor with a similar sounding second name.