Movie Review: Dedh Ishqiya
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
What a difference a week makes. Last week, the sight of Vijay Raaz and Arshad Warsi in “Joe B Carvalho” was enough to drive someone up the wall. A week later, they are a sheer delight in film-maker Abhishek Chaubey’s “Dedh Ishqiya”.
A rollicking, irreverent and well-executed film, Chaubey’s sequel to his 2010 debut has more of the sparkling dialogue and wit, but better etched characters, and a story that will keep the viewer engaged till the end.
In “Dedh Ishqiya”, the adventures of Khalu and Babban continue with the two finding themselves in a crumbling mansion, owned by the aging, but beautiful Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit), who follows up on a promise made to her late husband. She organizes a poetry competition, and declares she will marry the one whose poems impress her the most.
Khalu, who knew her from before, is determined to win, but finds an obstacle in the form of Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz), the local lawmaker, mobster and ardent admirer of Begum Para. The director builds the conflict slowly but surely, and the characters come to life through some lovely dialogue (Vishal Bhardwaj). Be sure to keep your eyes on the subtitles, because the dialogue is sprinkled liberally with Urdu words and phrases that are not very common.
However, it is this that lends authenticity to the milieu and setting. The characters speak in Urdu at one moment and then discuss iPhones the next, and none of it seems out of place. There are some delightful scenes — on several occasions, a group of people hold each other at gunpoint, none of them sure when to surrender, in a clever take on the Mexican standoff.
To give away any more of the plot would be unfair, but suffice it to say that the quirky characters are why the film seems so engaging. As Muniya, Begum Para’s confidante and shadow, Huma Qureshi puts in a confident performance, but there are so many such performances in the film, it is hard to pick one. Manoj Pahwa, Vijay Raaz and Salman Shahid are all brilliant in their roles.
Madhuri Dixit puts her years of experience to good use — she is luminous and sparkles when she is required to dance, but it is the pair of Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi who share such camaraderie that you cannot help but clap. They play off each other well.
Naseeruddin Shah, as the romantic fool who isn’t past manipulating his own nephew for his own ends, reminds you why he is one of India’s best actors.
They are the main reasons you should buy a ticket for “Dedh Ishqiya”, but not the only reason.
(Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay)