Ishaqzaade makes you feel for Parineeti Chopra. She is simply outstanding in it but sadly enough, she needed a far, far better vehicle for her talents. The film, to put it simply, doesn’t work.
The film, directed by Habib Faisal and aimed at launching producer Boney Kapoor’s son, Arjun Kapoor, is designed more like a vehicle of the 1980s when star sons were launched in Romeo and Juliet style love stories and though the setting of the love story amidst rival goonda politicians, one Hindu and the other Muslim, with impending elections in small town North India is interesting, the film, though adding some ‘contemporary elements’, fails to be so. The narrative flow, while being engaging enough in the first half plummets badly in the second as the couple repeatedly find themselves on the run chased by the fanatical factions of both their families and hobbles painfully and limply to a tame and unconvincing end.
In fact, the script, barring some clever dialogue writing, is a big let down. The film fails to optimize its setting and backdrop, none of the plot points and characters’ change overs – especially Zoya’s towards Parma after what he’s done to her – are convincing at all and often appear abrupt, highly contrived and convenient. You are never able to empathize or feel for the lead pair and by the time the second half rambles on with its numerous chases, you are, frankly, beyond caring and would just like the film to end. Some scenes like Zoya taking Parma to her house on Eid just leave you gobsmacked. Surely, common sense would make her see how futile, idiotic, senseless and suicidal a decision it would be. Especially him going with her. And let’s not even get into the cringe-worthy text parading as sensitive caring by the filmmakers at the end of the film.
The casting too is a strange mix as Arjun and Parineeti don’t really blend in with the actors cast as members of their families. While going for realistic, realistic faces, the rest of the cast ends up looking like junior artists surrounding the two so called ‘stars’. As for them, Arjun is still very raw and still has miles to go as an actor. And it doesn’t help him that he looks like the poor man’s Abhishek Bachchan from certain angles. Parineeti is easily the life of the film as the feisty and hot-headed Zoya. She is superb and brings conviction and life to each and every one of her scenes, but on the flip side, her excellent performance highlights even more how weak the film is, as are the remaining performances. And then there is the failure in final execution. Parma’s mother’s character, for one, is well written but not quite pulled off in its handling.
On the technical side, mention must be made of some good on location camerawork but even the small town feel and ambience coupled with some interesting use of locations – the ‘suhaag raat’ scene for one – stops to work as the film goes into free fall in the second half. The music by Amit Trivedi is one of the highs and Jhalla Walla and the title song particularly well composed even if Pareshaan is the most obvious chartbuster. There is good energy in the music and in the choreography for both of Gauhar Khan’s songs, in particular.
All in all, take Parineeti out and you’d have no film. It’s heartening to see that at last we have an actress in the younger lot of leading ladies but disheartening to see her talents being wasted in such a disappointing manner.
Hindi, Romance, Color