Nearly a dud Ishqiya

Nearly a dud Ishqiya

Dedh Ishqiya

(Hindi, U/A) ***Director: Abhishek ChaubeyCast: Naseeruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Arshad Warsi, Huma Qureshi, Vijay Raaz, Manoj Pahwa
Ever get the feeling about certain films that their entire climax was planned first, and the rest of the plot cobbled together around that climax? If you plan to encapsulate Dedh Ishqiya in a sentence, that is exactly what you will have to do. 

­And because the climax – the last 15 minutes or so – are so important, the rest of Abhishek Chaubey’s latest venture feels like little more than a slightly paced-up soap opera.

Why then does the film deserve three stars? Try sparkling dialogue, which works especially well for Naseeruddin Shah, some interesting verbal exchanges, some intriguing plot points and characters that never seem to change their shades of grey. However, what almost lets the film lose a star or two are the absences of melodies that get you involved in mental singing exercises, and Vidya Balan, who had single-handedly shaken up an entire film.

However, in their place, you have all the characters sharing near-equal screen time. Babban (Arshad Warsi) is left high and dry in a heist-gone-south by his Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah), and has to find him to get back a necklace which he later learns belongs to their boss’ wife.He finds the old man trying to woo Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit-Nene) of Mahmudabad, who was made to promise her dying husband that she would remarry, but only a “shayar”. 

For three years, she has organised a competition with the help of her consort Muniya (Huma Qureshi) to find that person, all the while being wooed by local MLA Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz), who this time has up his sleeve a hidden ace in the form of a kidnapped shayar (Manoj Pahwa). 

Like almost all films that have Vishal Bhardwaj’s name attached to it – this time as screenplay writer and the man behind the banner – Dedh Ishqiya has quirks that really confuse you as to how to feel about whom and what. 

Abhishek Chaubey’s second turn at the helm yields a film that will only make sense at the very enjoyable end. But it’s still a somewhat enjoyable ride up to that time. Pity, it failed to rise beyond that.

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