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Ishqiya (2010) – Movie Review


Written by: Vishal Bhardwaj, Sabrina Dhawan, Abhishek Chaubey
Directed by: Abhishek Chaubey
Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Salman Shahid

My Advice: If you’re looking for a non-traditional Hindi thriller, this is a good one.

Ishqiya, directed by first time director Abhishek Chaubey, comes from Vishal Bharadwaj’s stable. This is the movie coming from his production house after one of the best crime thrillers in Hindi cinema, Kaminey (which was directed by Vishal, and is an ode to Tarantino‘s kind of movies–this is a huge compliment in itself). The movie stars Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi and Vidya Balan in the lead roles. Going by the trailers, Ishqiya is a thriller involving characters smitten by love as its central theme and the movie does just about complete justice to all it’s set out to be.

[ad#longpost]The story is about two small time crooks Khalu (Naseeruddin) and Babban (Arshad) who are on the run after stealing from their boss Mushtaq (Salman Shahid). On their run, they take shelter at the home of Krishna (Balan), a widow whose husband (a criminal) is dead from a freak accident. Khalu is smitten with Krishna and falls for her as she appears to be a very soft-spoken person with an interest in singing. A strange sequence of events follow, resulting in them losing the stolen money and their ex-boss Mushtaq getting hold of them. However, as he decides against killing them and gives them time to pay back the money, Krishna also gets involved as they are put up at her place.

Krishna turns out to be a much stronger woman than what Khalu and Babban initially thought, and steadily even Babban starts developing feelings for Krishna. The three of them plan to kidnap a businessman for ransom and pay back Mushtaq. Do they succeed and is the equation between the three really as simple as it appears to be? These questions are answered in the most befitting manner through the movie. Giving away anything more than this would be sheer injustice to the movie as it holds up all its cards till the end, with each scene throwing up a small twist and turn.

For the performances, Naseer is simply amazing. His enactment of an aged crook trying to woo a much younger woman is truly well executed. Arshad, for once, does not go overboard. He needs to look at scripts like these where there is more scope for performance than playing the usual hero’s sidekick. He acts amazingly well and totally fits into the character of Babban. His role has the best one-liners in the movie. Vidya Balan does what she does best–gives a power-packed performance! She looks great and emotes even better. The focus of the movie is on these three main characters. There is ample time given in the movie for character development which is a plus, and it was of most importance that these three acted well to let the characters grow on you and Yes, They Do! They share an amazing chemistry.

Due credit needs to be given to the director–being a first timer, Abhishek deliver’s on the script’s promise, ensuring he gets the best from everyone involved. Performance-wise, the only niggling factor was Salman Shahid, trying hard to deliver dialogues with a Marlon Brando hangover (straight from Godfather), which was totally unnecessary. The cinematography gives the much-needed rustic village look to the movie as the movie unfolds in a village in Northern India.

Yet again the combination of Gulzar (lyrics) and Vishal (music) create magic. For once, we have excellent lyrics that take the movie forward. Again, most of the songs are played in the background giving the movie a more realistic look, and the lyrics play a great part in unfolding of the events during the song. The song ‘dil toh bachacha hai’ is the most perfectly picturized songs on Naseer in recent times and its played at a pivotal junction in the movie, which further adds to its charm! Among the songs, “Dil to Bachacha hai” and “Ibn-e-batuta” stand out for some excellent lyrics and music. The dialogues are a combination of urdu and extremely pure Hindi, which add to giving the right feel in the movie (given that the setting is that of a village). As for the minuses, it has to be the last five minutes of the movie. You can either hate it or be at peace with it–but for me it was the latter.

This is again a different movie, not following the conventional genre in Hindi cinema. But it is surely worth the watch given the excellent screenplay and a solid character-oriented script with superb performances by the lead actors. If you are looking for a non-conventional good Hindi thriller, here it is!