wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)

quick review:

A long 140 minutes later, I still don't know what they were getting at. Oh dear...

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Director: Manish Tiwary
Running time: 140 minutes
Genres: Politics, Romance
More Movie Info

Issaq - Preview

Issaq's trailer doesn't invoke any particular emotion. It doesn't make you wait for it bated breath nor does it feel like a movie you want to avoid. If anything, you feel slightly curious about the play between romance and politics, love and war. But that is barely anything you remember once you are done watching the trailer.

Interestingly Benares seems to have become a hotspot as a background for both romantic and gangwar films. Issaq goes on to advertise the fact. It blatantly calls itself Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set in Benares.

So, while the trailer gives nothing away in terms of what the actual conflict is, it seems to have declared itself the tragedy of the century. Hopefully it will be a tragedy in a good way, as in it will be a good tragedy film. We will know soon enough.

Meanwhile, The music seems to have received a lukewarm response.

Music Reviews:
IBN Live, IANS - "3/5"
Milliblog - "Listenable mix"
Music Aloud - "7.5/10"

- meeta, a part of the audience

When you walk out of a film, whether or not you like it, you come out with a sense of what the film was about, what it wanted to say or do. That it succeeded or failed for you, in the way it was narrated, is a different matter. Issaq doesn't give you the chance to assess the latter bit. You just are left wondering what it was all about. Is it a love story with a backdrop of politics? Is it a family feud? Is it about Maoists? You'd believe it most if you someone said it wasn't about anything at all.

When a film is about something, it makes the "something" an innate part of its narrative. At the very least, In a romance, you'd feel like rooting for the couple. Instead, the crowd cheered when bad things happened to them, and not because they had grey shades in them. For me, it was worse, I was indifferent to what happened to them.

You have no clue why Rahul (Prateik Babbar) )and Bachchi (Amyra Dastur) are in love with each other. You don't know where their loyalties lie. Every time you feel you know what their next step will be, they do the exact opposite of what their character has been saying. That's not really the right kind of unpredictability. You just don't feel anything for them at all.

To top it off, there is barely any chemistry between the two actors. Prateik Babbar's dialogue delivery is at its worst. The pauses he takes in the sentence make you feel like you are watching a primary school play. Amyra Dastur, in comparison, seems like an ace-rate performer, which she really isn't. Except for one scene which has her read out poetry, which she does a great job of, her performance doesn't get your attention at all. Unfortunately, this scene seems rather out of context and the performance is wasted in the context of the film.

Similarly, a lot of things feel out of context. While it was disorienting enough to have South Indian Maoists in Varanasi, that they were portrayed as psychopaths and/or terrorists bothered me more. There was a disconcerting randomness about who they chose to kill. Prashant Narayanan, as the character who plays their leader, could walk through this one in his sleep. So, yeah, the film wasn't remotely about Maoism either.

That leaves the political angle which is the funniest bit. You know more about Tittas (Ravi Kissen) the lover than the supposedly political sidekick that he is. You know even lesser about the two gangster-politicians who you are asked to fear at the very beginning of the film. However, you are given nothing at all to fear them. In fact, more than once, they come across as meek, disable men.

When all else fails, you usually have something in the technical departments to keep you going. The music, the dances, the action. No hope here, either. All you are left with is, one botched up scene after the other. In fact, the entire film, quite literally looks like, scenes were shot and sewn together in pretty much random order. For example, it felt like they had Prateik Babbar jump roof tops just so there could be an action element in the film.

Oh well! Not that the world was expected from Issaq, so it's not like you come back disappointed. You just feel sad for the people who claim to take Romeo and Juliet to Varanasi.

- meeta, a part of the audience

24 reviewers(?) - 1 yays 1 so-so 22 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Yashika Mathur, Apun Ka Choice : ... the composers have taken special care to bring out the passion loud and clear... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Issaq is a good idea poorly executed. Shakespeare must be smarting in his grave... full review

Thumbs down, by Prateeksha Khot , Bolly Spice : ...Romeo-Juliet inspired flick, had its flaws but it made an impact because of the amazing sizzling chemistry between Parineeti and Arjun... full review

Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ... On the whole, ISSAQ is absorbing and convincing in parts, not in entirety. The final outcome could've been even more impactful had it not been stretched.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deboshree Ghosh , Bollywood Life : ... The film is inconsistent. It failed to keep us hooked,... full review

Thumbs down, by Tushar Joshi , DNA : ...Issaq will challenge your patience and drown you in your own misery... full review

Thumbs down, by Piyasree Dasgupta, FirstPost : ...One wonders, however, what is a greater tragedy Romeo and Juliet or what Issaq made of that classic love story... full review

Thumbs down, by FPJ Bureau, Free Press Journal : ...None of the accompanied cast of stalwarts can make their presence heartfelt.... full review

Thumbs down, by Neha Mathur, : ...If anything saves the film, it is the music. "Issaq Tera" and "Jheeni Re Jheeni" are affective melodies that infuse life into the otherwise famished script. "Aag Ka Dariya" does a decent job of introducing the hero to the audience... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, : ...Shakespeare would be proud of Habib Faisal for fleshing out Parma and Zoya, and adapting it so beautifully to Romeo & Juliet... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...At nearly two hours and thirty minutes, 'Issaq' is a plodding bore of a film that inspires neither empathy for its romantic leads, nor enough contempt for those who drove them to their tragic end. It's an exhausting and predictable exercise in futility. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Swati Deogire, : ...Hindi cinema has attempted to adapt the Romeo-Juliet saga many times before, but sadly ‘Issaq’ fails to recreate the magic. We wouldn't recommend this version to you.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ... But neither the town nor the author would be grateful for this representation, which stays consistently high-pitched and doused in blood and bullets and melodrama... full review

Thumbs down, by Mohar Basu, koimoi : ... There is just one good thing in Issaq and that is its picturesque cinematography... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubha Shetty-Saha, MiD DAY : ...Give this film a miss... full review

Thumbs down, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...All we can say is that William Shakespeare must be surely weeping in his grave…... full review

Thumbs down, by Divya Solgama, MoviezADDA : ...a painful experience giving you a blood sucking feeling at times.... full review

Thumbs down, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...Issaq requires tremendous effort and patience to get through and in the end, it is simply not worth it... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Manish Tiwary's Issaq attempts a giant leap from Verona to Varanasi and falls with a thud between two completely mismatched stools... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Issaq is, then, an insultingly bad film ... full review

Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Director Manish Tiwary makes a film that gets the peripherals right, but has the fundamentals messed up... full review

Thumbs down, by Pratim D Gupta, The Telegraph : ...The only intelligent thing about Issaq is the disclaimer which comes on the screen every time Babaji lights up his ganja –– “Character smoking herbs, not tobacco”! ... full review

Thumbs down, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ...Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs ... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Upper Stall : ...Eventually, the only thing tragic about this Romeo and Juliet will be the faces in the audience... full review

35 tweeters(?) - 14 yays 2 so-so 19 nays

VimanyuVincent: Issaq....loved it! :)

Tarandeepjohr: Had a great tym wid frnds at #PVR in Kolkata.Saw #isaq wid frnds awesum love storie :D

smritisharma123: Issaq is soo similar to Raanjhana.. Just a little more funnier :p :D

ShawwnSunny: Love is like a war. Easy to begin, impossible to end. Awesome movie #Issaq @AmyraDastur93 n @prateikbabbar Hats Off to u both :)

shantan00971623: Issaq jakas movie plz watch

rana1singh: Sweet movie #ISAQ ...nice actin by both f d cast

PK_Aamir: Issaq's a good film... Prateik is great too: Aamir Khan

mukto_pran: Nice movie ISSAQ is.... :) Paysa wasul......... ...... ;)

Kuldeepsony: Just saw Issaq! Superb film and great work by the enormously talented Prateik Babbr!!! #Issaq

karanveersinh: issaq is an awsm movie

ektaguptaghosh: Such a visual treat this movie issaq is!Not to miss that deep throated music;this new kid on the block is a mile worth walking just to watch

ashutoshnagda: "@suhelseth: Just saw Issaq! Superb film and great work by the enormously talented Prateik Babbr!!! #Issaq" @prateikbabbar

ashfaqueparyan1: watch a romantic movie issaq at your nearest theater !!!!!!!

Animall_lovers: "ISSAQ" Its really a cute movie. I really dont know why the critics have given so less rating to it. The movie is...

coolboyashu123: baba ne puri story ki aisi ki taisi kr di watched ISSAQ ok movie

chandangoopta: Issaq ~ boring long love stoey. 2.5/5

Zintadil: #ISSAQ worst movie... Worst acting.... Senseless... Waste of money....

viragpant: Issaq : is it a movie ?? I Doubt , no acting no drama no story and still inspired from Romeo and Juliet ,satyanaash ho naaspito ka

vandanakhatuja: Were the makers trying to copy #ishaqzade while making #issaq! #Disappointed

suhand01: "Issaq" depressing movie , cannot Get worse than dis n pathetic performance by pratiek babbar .Have seen enough of Banaras phewwwwww.

rjanup: Issaq : 1/5 Mirchis # Gabbar : Hey hey Iski Saza Milegi Baraabar Milegi …..O Sambha Zaara Issaq film ka screen...

Neerajp69812361: Issaq but movie waste your money

Navjotalive: Issaq has the WORST Background score in the History of Cinema or the Most Innovative! Either ways it fucked up my brain. WalkOut at Interval

mkdas4: watched #DDay & #ISAAQ today. #DDay was rocking! #ISAAQ disappointing :(

Marvadi_panda: Isaq dekhne guya tha sala dimag khisaq guya !

LiteraryBadass: Isaaq is based on the Shakespearean play Romeo And Juliet. So, I assume they have a scene in the movie where they burn a copy of the play.

itzruj: #Issaq = It sucked big-time An absolute insult to the classic Romeo & Juliet. RIP Shakespeare #prateikbabbar #AmyraDastur93 THUMBS DOWN


HackHardNinja: The only good thing about issaq was the interval.

div_ranbirk: Two days passed away...yet I cant forget how did I manage 2 sit for 2.30hrs in theater #issaq #intolerable...

DipakR17: "@JokesDostiEtc: #ISSAQ Highly avoidable. Shakespeare would have died again if he saw this version of his epic romance Romeo & Juliet.".:-)

daryingfairy: #issaq what a worst output by the actor,senseless to watch,will harm your senses,any how the actress managed to bring some good in it.

Being_Samrat: talking about Issaq, four of my gang went to watch it. they're in hospital now due to loss of sight & constipation. hazardious performances.

bakchodwalababa: Went to watch Issaq hoping to get popcorn tub for rs 12, came out with a headache and had to buy disprin for the same amount

abhey_saini: Bekar Movie #Isaaq of parteek babbar getting 1 star out of 5,,,

4 readers - 0 yays 3 so-so 1 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by Anup

Not Interested in Watching, by Lauri

Not Interested in Watching, by Manjulika Pramod

Not Interested in Watching, by street magic

Want to Watch, by Janelle : Pont Viau

Want to Watch, by official IMEI unlock Vodafone service : Ringarooma

Want to Watch, by stocks under 10 dollars

Nay! Thumbs Down, by electronics tool kit

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots of gun fights.
  • Language: A couple of abusive words used.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A few kisses.
  • Concept: Something about love, politics and supposedly Maoism thrown in.
  • General Look and Feel: An attempt at gritty, small town feel

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (4)

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Haha.. was waiting for your preview and now I'm waiting for your review even more :D


I was on my way to the theater on metro,,,,and then I just saw ue review and change my mind,,,,and lastly watched the wolvorine which was an awsome movie,,,,u save my money meetu

Thanx for the review..looks like not a deserving one for time and money..

@Anup good call, I say.

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