'Issaq' is supposedly inspired by Shakespeare’s famous classic tale of the fateful love story of Romeo and Juliet. 'Issaq' (Don’t ask why it is spelt like that. Once you watch the movie, the title would be the least of your concern.) The film first tries establishing the enmity between two families – the Kashyaps and the Mishras, with random shootings and weird goings-on as if it is a private joke, not to be understood by the audience.
Soon enough, the son of the Mishra family, Rahul falls in love at first sight with the daughter of the Kashyap family, Bachi on a Holi day, and Holi cow, he even manages to smooch her within the two minutes of setting his eyes on her. Even if there was no traditional enemy shenemy business, the girl’s folk should have gotten immediate permission to hang the brat upside down for this outrageous act alone. Anyway, the film gets more and more random and weird and after a point, one stops being interested in even knowing what the private joke is.
Forget them looking like one family, it seems each of these characters belongs to different worlds altogether. Even the best of actors are made to behave like they are not sure which set they are on. While Sudhir Pandey the head of the Kashyap family, is acting like he is just about to burst giggling in the most serious of scenes, Neena Gupta looks like she is play-acting for a school play. Makarand Deshpande as a benevolent Sadhu seems to be actually high on whatever that he’s smoking (herbs, we are told), literally too as he keeps leaving ground at his whim in the most bizarre, unexplained manner.
Prateik seems to rightfully belong to this film and I am saying that in the most unflattering manner. What could easily be a case of pure laziness, Prateik walks through this film with a stupid grin and careless demeanour, as if shrugging off any responsibility that goes with being a good actor. Not only has he put zero effort into his role, he seems to have not even cared enough to dub evenly through the film.
Amyra Dastur is pretty but we will have to see her in some other film to know if she has some talent at all. This film has the poor girl randomly talking to her lover about her virginity, just out of the blue. What should have been a passionate romance between Romeo and Juliet which eventually leads to a brutal ending, is turned into a mindless mixture of unappealing sequences, each of which end in infinite bullets being fired at everyone possible.
It is one thing to set out to make a gritty film in Banaras, but it is another thing to have enough discipline and a great script to pull it off. Give this film a miss. Open the great Bard’s collection and read a chapter or two instead, to know that all’s still well in his world. Or just take your dog for a walk.