Ishqiya which released back in 2010 was like a breath of fresh air. It gave us the delightful on screen pair of Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi, and presented a film that showcased the raw hinterland of Hindi India. It had funny dialogues and a tehzeeb that most Hindi cinemagoers are not used to anymore. But a sequel of Ishqiya? Sounded like dicey territory when it was first announced as most of us thought that the makers were just trying to cash in on the success of the first film. Does Dedh Ishqiya end up as just another run of the mill sequel or does it rise above its prequel? Let’s dissect.
Story: Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) are still conmen in the Hindi heartland. They dupe their former boss and go their separate ways. Khalujaan ends up at a place called Mahmudabad in Uttar Pradesh to woo the widowed queen of the local palace – Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit-Nene). She is always accompanied by her assistant-cum-chauffer Munira (Huma Qureshi). Begum Para is going to remarry and has organised a Swayamvar to choose her new husband. The local MLA Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz) throws his hat into the game and a funny game of thrones type of a situation between Khalujaan and him ensues over poetry. In the meantime Babban has also joined Khalujaan in their new place (or place!) of conning. The plot then moves forward with various new twists and turns and finally climaxes in a very good set-piece which is both hilarious and thrilling.
Dedh Ishqiya Movie Review
Screenplay and Direction: Vishal Bharadwaj and Abhishek Chaubey clearly know their work very well and make a very good team. The screenplay co-written by the two works a lot like a Mickey Mouse cartoon but set in the world of Nawabs and Palaces. Dedh Ishqiya never meanders from its point mainly because of the astute writing they imbibe into the script – filling it with crazy situations and aching dark humour. Abhishek Chaubey directs the film with a firmness in his vision and inspite of the film boasting of a rather tangential screenplay, Dedh Ishqiya never gets confusing and is almost always entertaining. The victory of the film probably lies in the seamless mixture of comedy and suspense.
Miscellaneous and Music: The technical aspects of Dedh Ishqiya take the film up a notch. Setu has shot Dedh Ishqiya with a lot of love and delicacy. The detailing and layering in some of the shots is astounding. Much like the poetry being spouted on screen, the camera work also carries a lot of tehzeeb. Another high point of Dedh Ishqiya is the great production design by the duo Subrata Chakrabarty and Amit Ray. Their work brings these utopian characters and settings to life. The editing is also of very good quality. The music by Vishal Bharadwaj doesn’t boast of any chartbuster songs but they suit the flavour of the film just right.
Acting: Ishqiya rested firmly on the shoulders of Arshad Warsi, Naseeruddin Shah and Vidya Balan. Here too the film works because of the terrific acting of the main leads. Naseeruddin Shah doesn’t have to overdo his lines to show his genius. He greatly downplays his part and still manages to give a fine performance. Madhuri is back in theatres again and it is always a delight to see her face lighting up the screens! She looks her part completely and manages to show the conniving nature of Begum Para the way only she could have. Unfortunately, her acting is not as effortless as we would have expected. Arshad Warsi takes a back seat in this sequel. He is not the focal point of the film but retains the same tenacity and mischief in his performance. His antics as Babban are hilarious. More Ishqiyas and less Joe B Carvalhos please, Arshad! Huma Qureshi keeps growing as an actor with every film. She matches all the experienced actors in the film scene for scene. Beneath that sophisticated chauffer Munira lies a bumbling con and Huma manages to capture that with aplomb. Vijay Raaz is simply fantastic in his role. It is a travesty we don’t get to see more of this fabulous actor in Hindi films more often. He embodies all shades of a Hindi film villain that can be shown by any actor there is.
Conclusion: The first major release of 2013 (Dedh Ishqiya) has also set the bar particularly high for all films to arrive in the next 12 months. Dedh Ishqiya is hilarious with its poetic banter, dark humour and is also an astute thriller which manages to entertain the audiences from start to finish. Start your year with a cinematic high by watching Dedh Ishqiya.
Box Office: Dedh Ishqiya is likely to take a slow start at the box office because of the low buzz it is carrying. However, the collections are sure to improve when the good word of mouth gets out. Still, it will require the jump in business to be exceptionally high to earn a ‘Hit’ tag for itself. Expected business: 35cr to 45cr.
- The hilarious and thrilling screenplay combine to make Dedh Ishqiya very engaging
- The direction by Abhishek Chaubey keeps the film and its various layers together
- The acting by the ensemble cast led by Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit-Nene
- Vijay Raaz is a standout performer
- The technical aspects of Dedh Ishqiya are almost flawless
- The low key promotions don’t do this great film any justice
- Lack of chart buster songs in the soundtrack