Gulrez Qadir (Parineeti Chopra), a smart educated girl, is unable to find a good match due to the high dowry being asked. Frustrated, she decides to use Section 498A against dowry harassment to her advantage by setting up a match, getting married and then accusing the boy and his family of persecution to finally settle issues out of court. Convincing her father (Anupam Kher) to be in on the scheme, they take on new identities and go to Lucknow where their target is Tariq Haider (Aditya Roy Kapoor), the owner-cum-chef of one of Lucknow’s most famous eateries.
Daawat-e-Ishq is easily one of the weakest offerings to come out from Yash Raj films, a shallow romcom with some surprisingly lazy writing. Leave alone the superficial way in which the use (or misuse) of section 498A is handled, the narrative flow is simplistic, predictable, contrived, and what’s more, extremely convenient.
The film’s screenplay is totally bereft of any complexity or ups and downs, chugging along flatly. The only layering comes perhaps with Anupam Kher’s character working at the High Court and being familiar with the law but going along with society’s illegal rules regarding dowry anyway. And of course, his subsequently joining Parineeti in committing fraud.
While the film still manages to be watchable till it sets up its main part – the con in Lucknow, it rapidly goes downhill once the con starts. Perhaps the one and only moment it offers is when Tariq entices Gulrez, calling herself Sania, to agree spending time with him with his food. Talking of food, that’s perhaps the biggest let down in the film. Despite being set in two cities most famous for their cuisine, the film does justice to neither.
Barring the father-daughter relationship, there’s little in the fleshing out of the main characters either and here the film makes its task even more difficult as it depends solely on just 3 characters for much of its duration. Parineeti Chopra’s typecasting as a smart, spunky rebellious lower middle class girl is getting painful now. While it is an encouraging sign of the time to write better female roles, maybe we need other actress too to play these roles. Add to it a forced Hyderabadi accent, the actress lacks the spark and spontaneity of her earlier performances. Anupam Kher after a hiatus gets a long enough role and gives it all, but it is Aditya Roy Kapoor, who gives the film some life. A pity the film doesn’t use him better and develop the romance between him and Parineeti, which is half-cooked at best. Karan Wahi is wasted and the less said about the casting of the supporting players the better.
The technicalities too are average at best as are the songs and the picturisations and do not do anything in helping to lift the film. All in all, the film has neither enough food nor enough love and ends up as a big, big let down.
Hindi, Urdu, Romance, Color