This is the story of Zoya (Parineeti) and Parmaa (Arjun Kapoor), arch rivals and scions of two warring groups who’re devoted to the respective political agendas. The director and story writer keep the “family feud” plot amusing throughout. The backdrop is highly believable – palatial havelies, rundown structures, brick facades, deserted railway yards, bustling bus stations; municipal-brand schools…all take the story forward in their mute but potent language.
Faisal’s characters, however, slip from black to white to grey too easily for comfort. Agreed, they are driven by circumstances but some footage could have been set aside for the buildup. Precisely why the tragic end turns inadvertently comic in the ‘zip zap zoom’ fashion in which boy and girl decide to “fall” together.
The climax just can’t wait to highlight the final message –how lovers defying caste diktats are forced to pay the ultimate price. Nevertheless, Ishaqzaade is engaging in every frame. The unique appeal very well condones the minor flaws in the treatment. The brilliant background score and music more than add to the appeal. Kudos to Ranjit Barot and Amit Trivedi. The dialogues are witty and delivered with conviction. While the rural India’s Hindu Vs Muslim conflict is depicted with blatant realism, so is the unconditional stress on its futility. In the final analysis, Habib Faisal strikes a fine balance, sans the usual monotony of idealistic sermons. Given the commercial framework, this is a remarkable achievement.
Actress Parineeti Chopra heralds a new dawn of triumph for the Indian film heroine. Along with Anushka Sharma, she forms a rock-solid duo that can give the best of our leading men a run for their money, leave alone the fate of plastic glam dolls as damsels in distress. Ishaqzaade is stamped with her ingenuity from the word go. Insolence or innocence, remorse or revenge, despondence or delight... her face reflects every emotion exactly in line with protagonist’s shifting experiences.
Debutante Arjun shows flashes of brilliance. At times, his expression seems overtly rehearsed, a leaning that should fade with experience. Most important, he has raw appeal and shows good promise. The support cast is effective; Gauhar Khan truly excels as the archetypal courtesan scarifying her true love with a smile.