The brilliance of Naseer Saab as ‘Iftekhar’, the infectious energy levels of Arshad as ‘Babban’ and the so believable Vidya Balan as ‘Krishna’ is enough to pay you back your money’s worth in full. And to top that you have the superb direction of debutant Abhishek Choubey, the magic of Gulzar-Vishal duo and the so real settings of a dusty UP village. An amazingly honest attempt by the entire team to tell you a story which is so real and told in the backdrop that makes it all the more hitting. A must watch for anyone who likes watching stories that you know can come from around you.
One thing I loved about Ishqiya is that not a single character was completely white or black. Something that we are so used to seeing in the normal run of mill bollywood potboiler. Everybody has a shade of grey, much like what you encounter around you. Mushtaq talks mushy with his wife on the phone while loading his gun to shoot a guy, a rich industrialist loves both is wife and mistress (in fact he is so loyal to his mistress that he refuses to be seduced by another woman!), a 15 year old dreams of becoming a sharp shooter and at the same time feels sorry for a widow……wicked !
The story sounds serious and dark but the movie is anything but serious. Ishqiya is a comic thriller – a very rare combo in Bollywood. Situations are both hilarious and volatile at the same time. There isn’t much of a story here but the interesting characters and outstanding dialogues (by Vishal Bhardwaj, who else!) and good screenplay ensured that there wasn’t a single boring moment in the movie. In fact, Ishqiya is full of little scenes that stay with you after you have walked out of the hall. Most of them are memorable because of the amazing dialogues. Apart from the “Chutium Sulphate” that you cannot miss of forget, here an example of the sheer brilliance of Vishal in giving winner without highlighting them:
Babban asks Krishna, “Verma ji kaise hain? Nange hain ya burke mein?”. Seeing Krishna’s blank look Iftekhar explains, “Iska matlab hai ki Verma ji faraar hain ya jail mein hain!”
Babban asks Nandu, “Tujhe pata hai seher mein red light area kahan hai”. Nandu says “Paise Lagenge” to which Babban replies “Abe to hum kaun sa katora leke ja riye hain kothe pe.” And ofcource you would remember Nandu replying “Abe sulphate mein kothe wali ki nahi apni baat kar raha hun” and Babbans classic response to Nandu “Abe teri kaun lega”.
Or Nandu’s “Aaj hi hamne 12 thakur kamaye hain”.
The dialogues are crude, suggestive and swarmed with abusive words but Ishqiya is never vulgar or sleazy. The crude language only adds to the authenticity of the set up.
The passion of Babban for Krishna is so noticeably lustful and yet there is something romantic about it . The love story of Iftekhar and Krishna is as beautiful as the magically penned and soulfully sung “Dil to baccha hai jee”. The vengeance of Mushtaq is so life threatening but with a comical undertone. All these are such difficult messages to convey even with a strong & clear script and the execution is pretty much the difference it makes in the audiences reaction. This one did nothing wrong on the execution I must say.
To summarize I would say Ishqiya is not for everybody. Like all movies from the Vishal Bharadwaj stable this one will also be either loved or hated. I LOVED IT !!