Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Issaq: Doomed love story
What director Manish Tiwary was trying to achieve in “Issaq”, his version of Romeo and Juliet, only he can say. If you didn’t know you were watching a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, you’d be forgiven for walking out halfway through the film.
The movie starts with a bizarre killing on a deserted bridge and then moves on to more bizarreness. “Issaq” is a disjointed effort, one that ceases to make any sense after the first few minutes.
Prateik Babbar and newcomer Amyra Dastur play star-crossed lovers from families at war. Director Tiwary stages the doomed love story (in more ways than one) on the ghats of Benares where Rahul meets Bacchi.
When Bacchi’s family finds out about the love affair, the girl’s uncle (Ravi Kishen) sets out for revenge. It’s a chain of events that leads to destruction and chaos.
Much of that chaos is in the script and the film’s execution. I’m not sure how any of the dialogue or scenes made sense to anyone during filming. There is a levitating ascetic who doles out advice to the lovers, a housekeeper who spouts strange homilies and a Maoist leader who only makes an appearance when someone needs to be killed and keeps shouting “Lal Salaam”.
All this is compounded by the cast of “Issaq”, which leaves much to be desired in the acting department. Leading the way is Prateik Babbar, who plumbs new depths after mediocre performances in “Ekk Deewana Tha” and “My Friend Pinto”, a feat I didn’t think possible. Babbar is like a rabbit caught in the headlights even while professing undying love.
The leading lady isn’t all that better. Dastur tries hard to portray her rustic, smart-talking character but her urban demeanour fails her. Ravi Kishan twirls his moustache, fires bullets indiscriminately and pretends that qualifies as acting.
“Issaq” is hardly a film. It is a disaster that lasts for 2-1/2 hours and leaves you with a headache.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)