wogma rating: Add to “To Watch” list, watch some day (?)
"Something's missing." Yeah, Ishqiya is one of those films that leaves with you that feeling. Once you believe in the story, its well told. But even after the plot has unfolded there's a huge gap in understanding the characters.Read more
I feel like this unappeasable audience who demands more and more from her movie-makers. I constantly complain about one-dimensional characters. Ishqiya has three reasonably well-defined characters with very visible shades of gray and yet it doesn't give a "complete" feeling when walking out of the theater. The film is made well technically too. The interaction amongst the characters takes a hit in this one, and it is difficult to understand the motivations of their behavior.
After an intriguing start, mid-way, the film completely changes its tone. This leaves you disconcerted. Sure, a lot about the characters is intentionally mysterious, but as we approach the climax, shouldn't there be at least a vaguely interpretable rationale. It doesn't even have the artsy, take-your-own-guess kind-of an appeal. It looks more like lazy writing.
Khaalu-jaan (Naseeruddin Shah) is a romantic who can kill, if he wants to. Babban (Arshad Warsi) is a thug who falls in love. Both are rugged, men of the soil. Krishna (Vidya Balan) is a romantic who maintains a constant enigma about her. She's absolutely convincing as a seductress who knows what she wants (whether or not we figure it out). Once the chemistry between them is established it is awesome and the actors have done a wonderful job. But, why the chemistry happens in the first place, has no answers.
Also, a lot of this is because you don't have any background about the setting of the film. It is either assumed that you know what happens socially and politically, in and around Gorakhpur or you are given a feeling that it is not supposed to matter. Since I don't know why the Yadavs are fighting the Thakurs, there was a huge gap in the dynamics of the various side characters.
And yet there is a lot going on by means of entertainment and keeping you interested. The spontaneous dialogues delivered with perfect timing. The twisted plot is engaging - so what if it geared towards a lame and dissatisfying end. Also, the propriety and plausibility of Krishna's behavior are a huge question mark.
"Executing a nice story well," is not an easy feat. With a unmissable Vishal Bharadwaj feel to the way the story is told, it is lyrical and earthy. But the story is kind-of warped and leaves a distinct taste of discontent.
p.s. I wish a movie could be given a higher rating for awesome music. All songs, except for 'Ibn-e-batuta' are exceptional - brilliant music and lyrics to top that.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...These initial frames are about physical love, though Ishqiya is about love in all its shapes and forms, with its power to reduce grown-ups to slobbering infants... full review
Thumbs up, by Jaya Biswas, Buzz18 : ...It won't be fair to unnecessarily compare Ishqiya with Omkara. As a first timer, Abhishek Chaubey's direction is a welcome change. Though we find him losing his grip once in a while, Abhishek's choice of the subject and handling of the same make it a worth watch. The change of events during the kidnap drama and the heated argument that follows thereafter are fascinating. Even the passionate lovemaking sequence between Arshad and Vidya has been dexterously captured. The saucy lingo spit out by Babban and Khalu may make you feel uncomfortable, but it only makes the characters look more real.... full review
Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Vidya Balan has drummed up a delectable performance in ISHQIYA. She's the widow whose life has suddenly exploded from its shell; a lover; a woman who misses those 'tender' moments and one who is out to exact revenge... full review
Thumbs up, by Mihir Fadnavis, india.com : ...Full marks to writers Bharadwaj, Chaubey and Sabrina Dhawan, for the film is replete with truly delicious sequences, and some biting dialogue worth killing for.... full review
Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...Regardless of the rugged-and-rustic ‘ City of God ’ kinda setting, the flavour of the film is predominantly light-hearted, as instinctive comedy oozes out from almost every sequence... full review
Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...But the real revelation is Vidya Balan. One has never seen her like this. Krishna is a bold woman who knows how to flash her eyes, flaunt her hair and get her way. She is just as wily as the two crooks and is more than a match for them... full review
Thumbs up, by DetatchedVoyeurs, Passion for Cinema : ...Unlike previous portrayals where there’s a distinct, polarizing division of characters in black and white, Krishna doesn’t fall easily into any bracket or category of Madonna or Magdalene... full review
Thumbs up, by MovieMagik, Passion for Cinema : ...Arshad Warsi is on top gear as Babban and makes us wary of how under utilized an actor he truly is, and how much he deserves to thrive beyond the ‘Circuit’-model.... full review
Thumbs up, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...Naseeruddin Shah...enacts his part with élan. His tough looking physique and soft heartedness towards Vidya Balan presents a contrasting and most humane characteristic realistically... full review
Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...The backwater badlands of Eastern UP, with their characteristic gun culture, caste wars and edgy lingo loom large as the fourth character in this crime play.... full review
So-So, by Debojit Ghatak, Indian Auteur : ...That Balan kills the scope of the character by playing her in the most self-conscious, self-reflexive manner possible, (so much so that even when she abuses, you can almost sense the surprise in her voice at her own temerity) is a matter of a bad acting performance.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Khalu-jaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) are small-time thugs who find themselves in a not-so small soup. They go to Varma's house for help and meet Mrs. Krishna Varma (Vidya Balan). Will she come to their aide?
Isn't the voice on the phone (Mushtaq's wife) Vidya Balan's voice? If yes, why?
There is no attempt at all to make this one a movie for all and no reason to be either.