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Ishaqzaade  : Romeo & Juliet In North India
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Friday, May 11, 2012
Gritty Romance
Habib Faisal
Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra
Ishaqzaade Movie Stills
The plot: Set in Almore are two political families – the Qureshis and Chauhans are at war for the coveted MLA seat. While Zoya Qureshi (Parineeti Chopra) harbours ambitions of eventually being an MLA herself like her father Altaf Qureshi, Parma (Arjun Kapoor) makes constant efforts to please his ‘daadu’ Surya Chauhan in their ‘mardon ki haveli’ to prove his worth and help his clan overthrow the rivals.

In their high-voltage fights, Parma makes Zoya pay for a humiliation by betraying her, thus starting the circle of revenge all over again. However his mother’s intervention and her subsequent death, stir a few changes in their relationship and hatred paves way for love.

The good: With small town politics as its backdrop, Habib Faisal (story, dialogues, screenplay, direction etal) explores a romance with its protagonists high on energy and in a constant love-hate relationship with each other.

Habib Faisal’s screenplay in the first half of the film successfully engages you, never letting a dull moment slip in. Dialogues like – ‘Tera to kutta bhi kutta hai’ and ‘Argumenting mat karo’ penned by Habib provide the comic relief in this high-intensity drama. Action director (Sham Kaushal) has charted out some fine action sequences.

Stellar performances by both Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra make the film a must watch. While their sizzling chemistry scorches the screen, their individual performances stand out too. Parineeti with her restrained yet raring-to-go attitude epitomizes the spirit of youth and her political veins. Arjun Kapoor displays his prowess as an actor in full capacity – be it his ruthlessness, raw edginess, intensity, menace or that simple smile he breaks into every now and then, he seals it with a perfection rare in a newcomer. Gauhar Khan in her Chand Baby act, along with her grooving, impresses.

Music composer Amit Trivedi comes up a winner of an album with the requisite variation and substance. Most of the numbers especially the title track ‘Ishaqzaade’, ‘Chokra jawaan’ and ‘Aafaton ke parinde’ are certain chartbusters.
The bad: While the first half of the film plays along smoothly, the second half in contrast disappoints and drags on forever. It throws itself in a hit-and-miss routine, where the lovers are constantly on the run and walk into problems with increasing frequency. The sudden flip of emotions of the lead actors lacks conviction. How else do you explain hatred and love for the same person playing over and over again in a loop?

There are typical YRF touches visible in the film with every few sequences broken in by a song. Even though cleverly packaged, the core story is the struggle of inter-religious lovers caught in a clan war, which has nothing fresh about it.      

Overall: It’s the classic Romeo & Juliet romance put in a new mould by Yash Raj. While the concept lacks novelty, YRF still has two very good reasons for celebration – the political milieu of north India and fresh talents Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra.

– Nikita Periwal

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