Smart, sassy, sexy and saucy – a suspenseful noir-thriller and a crisp comedy will leave you with a nice after-taste of having something exotic, raw, and familiar yet unconventionally delicious! Rating 4/5
Welcome to Chaubey’s Ishqiya – where the narrative twists and turns like a naagin, leaving you to wonder where it’s actually heading to, and where the characters are real, raw, impulsive, unabashedly honest about themselves and as unpredictable as the tale itself. A film that glides over genres of a suspenseful noir-thriller and a crisp comedy will leave you with a nice after-taste of having something exotic, raw, and familiar yet unconventionally delicious!
Ishqiya works at many levels and layers. Of what I could identify, the top most is of a love triangle between Krishna (Vidya Balan) and two small crooks Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Varsi). The second of the dramatic pole shifts in the moods of the characters that mould the story as per their impulses and the third layer is of sarcasm, colorful language, blasphemy, raw sexuality and symbolism! All the three layers visible to the eye and audible to ear are in sync – perfect harmony!
What makes Ishqiya memorable fare are dialogues and performances. Performances that breathe life into the characters – be it the cunning and scheming Vidya Balan who emotes anger, vengeance, love, lust and intelligence all through her eyes, yet not losing the innocence and vulnerability. And then the emotional, yet charmingly sweet Naseeruddin Shah, a hard core romantic at heart and a witty flirt, who can at one end impress Krishna with his musical inclinations and the other spew venom with his witty taunts. Arshad Varsi as Babban is the stark opposite, lusty, raw who lacks Khalu’s wisdom but impresses with his objectivity. People, who outsmart him, impress him. Check the admiration in his eyes when he interacts with the panch-kam-bees Nandu who outsmarts him. His street-smartness helps him score over sweet Khalu to win Krishna over to his side.
Dialogues are outstanding! There is no other way I can express how the dialogues enhance the silent chemistry in the love triangle or leave the audience in splits with their timing and wit. The dialogues also contribute to the verbal irony of the situation – ‘Sab se gehri dushmani miyan biwi ki hoti hai’ as the wise Khalu comments referring to Krishna’s motives! The dialogues form the crux of the film effectively supported by the old tunes of SD Burman and Hemant Kumar adding to the rustic appeal of the old-fashioned love of Khalujaan and the latest Bollywood tunes adding to the sexual aggression and lusty youth of Babban.
Abhishek Chaubey is a smart disciple of guru Vishal Bhardwaj, for a debut director, he is amazing! Vishal Bhardwaj’s music impresses along with his wife Rekha Bhardwaj’s mellifluous voice. The only average thing about this classic is the editing which seems clumsy at times and the climax seems a little obscure with respect to the plot development. But we are willing to forgive that for the awesome entertainment value the film has.
Overall, it’s a must watch film. I give it 4/5!