India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Ishaqzaade: A rugged love story

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At first glance, Habib Faisal’s “Ishaqzaade” has a lot going for it — there’s some great casting, good direction and performances. The milieu is different — arid, rugged, rural India and this is about feisty, gutsy lovers who are smart enough not to view the world through rose-tinted glasses.

At the halfway mark, Faisal sets up the film so tantalisingly, you can only wonder what surprises he plans on throwing at you. But the second half is somewhat of a let-down. The story goes haywire, characters act out of character, and the whole film sort of ends in a whimper, when it should have ended with a bang — which is how it starts.

Faisal’s introductory scene is very impactful. Two school kids from a small town swearing, calling the other all sorts of names and even hurling stones — setting up the animosity between the two protagonists very well. Zoya (Parineeti Chopra) as the fiery daughter of the local Muslim MLA, with political ambitions of her own, is perfectly cast. Arjun Kapoor plays Parma, the brash grandson of Zoya’s father’s main political rival.

Both Zoya and Parma have every reason to hate each other, but when they end up falling in love, there are many repercussions — both political and personal.

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