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'Ishq Vishk Rebound' movie review: Love-shove warmly reloaded

Updated on: 22 June,2024 06:28 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Mayank Shekhar |

Unlike this film, that’s so totally PG-13, with everyone on first base, that I wonder if it adequately captures the lives and loves of the hormonal young at some Spencer College, in Dehradun, 2024

'Ishq Vishk Rebound' movie review: Love-shove warmly reloaded

Ishq Vishk Rebound

Ishq Vishk Rebound
U/A: Romance, comedy
Dir: Nipun Dharmadhikari
Cast: Rohit Saraf, Pashmina Roshan
Rating: 3/5

So, there is the college girl (Pashmina Roshan) in this film, who’s kissed her ex’s BFF (Rohit Saraf) who, in turn, has also been her bestie, forever. Both make the moment appear accidental—as if two people can ever kiss, without it being mutual, after all.

Whether the retreating peck on the lip was the guy, or the girl, making the first move—that’s the conflict at the heart of this young-adult romance! 

And the reason I enjoyed this movie. For, what is teenage, if not full of such trivial issues we consider to be monumental crises. Something that blows up into even more serious-sounding ‘First World problems’, as we get older. 

This picture, Ishq Vishk Rebound, reflects this really well, and rather warmly. What’s Rebound in the title? I guess a way to instantly get over someone is to get under somebody else! That’s a rebound—perhaps crudely put. 

Unlike this film, that’s so totally PG-13, with everyone on first base, that I wonder if it adequately captures the lives and loves of the hormonal young at some Spencer College, in Dehradun, 2024. 

That Spencer College, if I’m not mistaken, was actually Bombay’s Sophia Polytechnic campus in the OG Ishq Vishk (2003), that this film is an offshoot of—produced by TIPS, essentially a music label. 

How does this Ishq Vishk compare to the earlier one? I have an easy answer for you. Get on YouTube or Spotify, press on the two versions of the same song—Chot dil pe lagi—my favourite, from both the soundtracks. 

The old one has Alisha Chinai, Kumar Sanu, going, “Aey hey hey… La la la…”, along with other ’90s, Anu Malik ‘harkats’. The new number, more modern-mellow, subtle, with Asees Kaur and others, is almost lo-fi flip, as they say. The analogy explains the two movies. 

Either way, it’s been over 20 years between each. Which, in current times, equals more than a couple of generations. Rebound is more realistically reloaded. Hardly the stilted Student of the Year. Which, sadly, is my only reference point for this genre in the popular, theatrical space. 

Barring a brigadier in this picture, though—brainlessly blowing his head off—even worse than the old-world baap in Bollywood! The boys and girls seem relatable. As do their issues with each other, or life, in general. 

I usually check out desi young-adult stuff—Class (2023), Kho Gaye Hum Kahan (2023), etc—for socio-anthropological reasons! Mainly to get an ‘in’ into logos and lingos of GenZ. 

This one simultaneously references Chris Martin and Ramsay Bros, as the kids go camping for a ‘Puranmashi ki raat ki party’, i.e. “Hindu Halloween”, when they aren’t eating cream rolls. I don’t know, is that a Dehradun thing? 

Which also tells me this isn’t a randomly wannabe flick, that would turn corny, eventually. It’s not a particularly polished pic, either. In terms of technique, or visuals—or even the staging of the big scenes/moments.

Making up for all of it, within a tight 109 minutes, with some sensible, even sensitive writing. Looking at multiple credits, it appears, the script has gone through several drafts, surely involving the thoroughly sincere director, Nipun Dharmadhikari, from Marathi theatre/cinema. 

What else has changed over the past two decades since the first Ishq Vishk? The idea of fame/stardom, foremost. Consider that Shahid Kapoor, 22, made his Bollywood debut with Ishq Vishk. 

I met him at my office reception on the Monday after that film’s release, and people around were wondering aloud, if they had seen him somewhere? He became a star, later that same week!

I’m afraid, I hadn’t heard of this film’s two leads, before watching their proper, big screen, Bollywood outing. Only to look them up on Instagram, and find Rohit Saraf (Mismatched, Hichki, Ludo) has 1.3 million followers, while Pashmina Roshan (Hrithik’s cousin; composer Roshan’s daughter) lords over 217K followers, already. 

Both are easy on the eye—checking off all the departments for desi romcom; dance, dress, soft dialogues, sufficient screen presence—seemingly enjoying themselves before the camera. Saraf is potential star-material. 

Also, manifesting this. As I did with that curly-haired, boy-lead (Abhay Verma) in the recent, sleeper hit, Munjya. God knows, Hindi commercial cinema, overloaded with 40- and 50-plus heroes, could do with a genuinely new line-up of proper, young stars in the make-believe sky! 

Ideally, in the same age bracket as its traditionally core audience. Honestly, I’m not even the TG (target group) for this teenaged romance. That I enjoyed it probably means the movie is even better than I thought it was (for me). 

Here’s one thing, though, that hasn’t changed over time. What’s the larger conflict in this movie? Whether best friends can become lovers, after all. Isn’t that just a new way of posing the good ol’ Bollywood question—can a ladka/boy, lakdi/girl ever be dost/friends? Of course!


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