Ishqzaade is a mass puller with good performances

MUMBAI: Ishqzaade takes the age old formula of love stories of a boy and girl never seeing eye to eye, hailing from families of two sworn enemies and from different religious backgrounds.

As is the norm, such films are always interesting till the boy and girl profess mutual romance, becoming predictable thereafter. Ishqzaade manages the feat of sustaining interest a little longer than the rest.

Producer: Aditya Chopra.
Director: Habib Faisal.
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra.

Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra grew up hating each other and hurling abuses and stones at each other. Kapoor is the uncouth, couldn‘t-care-less kind who hails from a Rajput family. His grandfather is contesting the assembly elections; his opponent and arch rival is Chopra‘s father, a Muslim politician and a sitting MLA.

Chopra is a firebrand girl who would even trade her earrings for a firearm when she can‘t win a fight verbally. The locale is a small town of Almore in UP where belonging to different communities is reason enough for tensions between two groups. Their being political adversaries only makes the situation worse as guns are picked up at smallest of provocations.

What is more, both groups make sure the other is provoked into a fight at every possible opportunity. If one faction is having a party, the other will disrupt it and even take away the local nautch girl for his group party. They tear up posters and even empty one‘s bladder on rival‘s poster. One such act by Kapoor earns him a slap from Chopra. He seeks revenge by pretending to fall madly in love with her and to get her to marry him only to desert her after celebrating ‘suhaag raat‘ with her in an empty train compartment.

The deception hurts Chopra even more, as, on the eve of the elections, the pictures of her Hindu ritual marriage with Kapoor are circulated all over town, which spells doom for her father‘s election prospects. Chopra picks up her gun to kill Kapoor and the fight between the two turns into an all out war between the two factions with the community angle coming to the fore.

It costs Kapoor‘s mother‘s life to make him see sense and accept and protect his wife‘s life; he discovers true love for Chopra but the couple has to now run from both warring factions as one is not happy with having a Hindu son-in-law and the other with having a Muslim daughter-in-law. It is the later part where the couple is in hiding or on the run that gets predictable and is stretched unnecessarily.

Ishqzaade is the debut film of Arjun Kapoor and he performs with the élan and confidence of a veteran. His dialogue delivery needs some working on but his position has been confirmed with this film as a mass hero. How he performs in a suave role remains to be seen. Parineeti Chopra, who impressed every one with her first film, Ladies vs Ricky Behl, excels here. She is a natural performer, here to stay. Gauahar Khan does well while the others support ably.

The direction is good, sticking mainly to the proven formula of a mass film. Music goes well with the film‘s theme and situations, the song ‘Pareshan...‘ being the pick of the lot. Editing needed to be harsher in later parts while dialogue is routine.

Ishqzaade has opened to very good houses and is also assured of a fair share of it business from single screens too thus making it a profitable enterprise.
Dangerous Ishq is all wrong soon as it begins

Producer: Arun Rangachary.
Director: Vikram Bhatt.
Cast: Karisma Kapur, Rajniesh Duggal, Jimmy Shergill, Divya Dutta, Ruslan Mumtaz, Arya Babbar, Gracy Singh, Natasha Sinha, Ravi Kissen.

When the budget is limited and technique is available in the form of 3D, go for the ‘shock and awe‘ approach to secure a safe opening weekend and an assurance of recovery. It worked for Vikram Bhatt with his earlier film, Haunted, and hence is a formula worth repeating.

Here, in Dangerous Ishq, the maker blends his use of 3D with spiritualism and reincarnation: the kind of stories you find in the work of Dr Brian Weiss and Ian Stevenson.

In Dangerous Ishq, Vikram Bhatt begins his story of undying love, jealousy and betrayal in the present era and takes it back to various earlier incarnations of the lovers to the 17th Century. Since the subject of reincarnation can afford all sorts of liberties, the villain as well as the friends remains constant in all their incarnations spanning 500 years. The Brian Weiss and Ian Stevenson stuff is all very well but getting carried away with it is not; limiting the concept to a couple of incarnations would have made the film tauter and with a little work on the twists and turns it would have seemed more plausible and hence interesting. With limited resources, it is not really advisable to go into period sub-drama and end up making it look like street play!

Karisma Kapur is a top model, deeply in love with her tycoon friend, Rajniesh Duggal. She gets an assignment in Paris for a year but has no heart to leave her boyfriend-cum-fiancé. She decides to go back to him and wants an instant wedding but he is kidnapped by a gang of masked men. A whodunit search begins that takes you back five centuries. Kapur dons various avatars in previous births like a partition victim Hindu girl in love with her eternal lover, a daasi to Meerabai in the 1600s in Mewar, a Mughal warrior‘s fiancé and so on.

She is told that her villains are her fiance‘s past lives‘ enemies and she recalls their faces and identifies them. The investigating officer Jimmy Shergil pretends not to believe her stories but also lets her tag along on all missions because he is the only one who has been blessed to remember past lives of all concerned in the story. As the story traverses from one life to previous life, the proceeds become so tacky that the film turns into an unintentional comedy. But you don‘t laugh with it, you simply laugh it off.

Every time the film takes a flashback/forward to present times, some contemporary villains are added-a supari killer, the hero‘s own brother- until one loses the sense of who is who.

Every time the police follow a new clue, Kapur‘s brain takes her into the past as if she were just clicking a mouse. If only she did not take the viewer along every time she went into past; it is torture.

Finally, this being a heroine-oriented film, Kapur outsmarts everybody including the police and the demons. She saves the hero instead of the other way around as is the norm in films and it is a happy ending; happy for the sole reason that it has ended.

Dangerous Ishq is all wrong soon as it begins. The title shows a lack of imagination and the rest of the film is a study in how to squander a good idea. There have been some classic reincarnation films but this one is a joke on the theme. Direction is bad, music is wasted in picturisation and editing is poor. The performances are not much to write home about either.

Dangerous Ishq is poor film on all counts.

The Forest is a lost cause

The Forest (Hindi-English in parts) is inspired from various writings of Jim Corbett, mainly from his book, The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag. Woven around a story of a couple, it tells why as many as 150 people are killed each year in India in leopard or tiger attacks and what turns them into man-eaters in an attempt to address environmental concerns.

Ankur Vikal and Nandana Sen, the husband wife duo is going through a troubled marriage. Nandana‘s inability to conceive, for which Vikal is responsible, dampens any possibilities of reconciliation between the two.

They decide to take a break in deep jungles away from any contact, be with each other and sort out their life. What both did not expect was to meet Javed Jaffery, Nandana Sen‘s ex lover, who is a forest officer here living with his son, Salim Ali Zaidi. The ex-lovers soon realise that passion is still burning between the two and Javed Jaffery is the kind who would not mind playing a couple of dirty tricks to get Vikal out of his way and be left alone with Nandana Sen.

On one occasion, on a night out in the forest, which is strictly prohibited since a man- eater leopard is on the loose, he leaves Vikal on a machan so as to give him an experience of hunting with a rifle. The leopard has been shot at and hurt; unable to chase animals, he has turned into man-eater.

Javed Jaffery‘s prank costs a forest officer his life who is attacked by the leopard and despite his being picked up and hidden in a room, the leopard, as the jungle belief goes, would get to him anyway and so it does eventually. The story of a hurt leopard ends as does the childless couple‘s as both reconcile.

The Forest has no prospects at box office; it could have been a good educational film for educational institutions but the story it has chosen to tell about animals and encroaching on their territory is of the adult kind and not quite the type for schools.

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