Saturday, 11 January 2014

DEDH ISHQIYA : Movie Review

Dedh Ishqiya is one of those rare movies that genuinely engulfs your mind and grips you into the cinematic proceedings right from the word go & the first shot. Thematically, the movie casts its net far wider and comes up with striking insights into the flaws and foibles of people who haven't lost their flair for the flashy despite their lives having hit the skids. When i personally am despirited by the crassly sexist ethos that governs Hindi films today, Dedh Ishqiya is one of the films i like to think of as out of the blues.  Just to hear the roguish, duplicitous characters walk the talk in this flick is a pleasure beyond the ordinary. Make no mistake, Dedh Ishqiya walks many extra miles beyond expectations and negotiates a nawabi era long gone. And, it does so with a bracing bewildering beguiling blend of aristocratic arrogance and ironic humility. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                     :       The credit for writing the story and screenplay has been shared by Abhishek Chaubey, Vishal Bhardwaj & Drab Farooqui. Each neatly constructed sequence leads unto the next flawless sequence without leaving any creases behind. Rarely is a Hindi flick as mischievously besotted with wordplay. Chaubey has master word smiths Vishal Bhardwaj & Gulzar alongside him, making for a script that balances words as deftly -- as a knife-juggler with a case of hiccups. Coming to the storyline, In this sequel, Vidya Balan is history and the two men, Khalujaan & Babban have new targets, Rather Khalujan has set his sights upon Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit), the gorgeous widow of a nawab. Begum Para has announced her intention to remarry. It's a swaymavara with a difference and Khalujan shows up as a contender,pretending to be a poetic nawab. There is also another serious contender in the form of Jaan Mohammad (Vijay Raaz) who is a local politician and is ready to do anything to marry Begum including kidnapping a poet and killing Khalujan and Babban. Fluttering through this central plot are a prized necklace worth a fortune, a plot to abduct begum, the sly stratagems of Begum's companion Munira (Huma qureshi) and a shayar named Italvi played by Manoj Pahwa. Not to forget, Babban who gets smitten by Munira and falls for her. There are no ingenuous twists and the screenplay keeps you hooked till the very end.

STARCAST                                                       :       One must give due credit to the casting director i.e. Honey Trehan as one of the reasons the movie works wonderfully well is because of the consistently high order performances delivered by the cast. Naseeruddin Shah is great, wistful, dreamy and unashamedly wicked, chewing luxuriantly on the dialogues as if they came wrapped in betel-leaf. He captures the essence of worldly wise Khalujaan with the kind of acuity that only an actor of his proven calibre could have. It is difficult to take one's eyes off -screen when Madhuri Dixit is on it. She has played the part of Begum with exemplary ease and finesse and has proven why she is considered to be one of the finest actresses of Indian Celluloid. Arshad Warsi has always been instantly loveable, but he equips his character with a flammable fury that makes him very compelling indeed. He has again acted like a livewire who injects full-on-fizz into the proceedings without breaking into sweat. But it is Charming Huma Quresshi who once again steals your heart not only with her beautiful looks but her fiercely intelligent eyes which she uses to great effect as she keeps things unpredictable. And then there’s Vijay Raaz. Too often do we Hindi cinema audiences unfairly sideline villains and comedians, but here is a gem of a part, a truly meaty role -- the kind of character that, in a Hollywood film, would have been played by Christian Bale or Javier Bardem -- and Raaz sinks his teeth into it magnificently. Amongst the ensemble cast, Manoj Pahwa and Salman Shahid make themselves impressively indispensable with mere scraps of screen-time. 

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                      :        Undoubtedly, the pastiche that encompasses all the lunacy and decadence in Dedh Ishqiya is complemented by its splendidly evocative music by Vishal Bhardwaj. He has woven some real melodious tunes ranging from Honey Singh's rap song " Horn OK Please" to the enchanting " Dil Ka Mizaaz ".  Much of the credit for the dusky visuals of the film must go to the cinematographer of the movie i.e. Setu who has done his job exceedingly well. Working primarily with natural sources of light, Setu composes some truly remarkable images whose glow lingers long after they have played themselves out. But along with him, equal amount of credit must be given to Subrata Chakrabarty and Amit Ray for giving authentic nawabi and textured look to the movie. A. Sreekar. Prasad, as the editor of the movie has kept the proceedings real tight and keeps you engrossed in the proceedings despite a little stretched out ending. Kudos to Writer and director Abhishek Chaubey for following up his rompy revenge caper Ishqiya (2010) with a sequel like Dedh Ishqiya, a terrific entertainer about friendships and the ways in which human beings bind for solace and dreams.

WOW MOMENTS                                                :              The duel between Kanpuri poet and Jaan Mohammad, a man with Nawabi aspirations, is one of the best motifs of the movie, climaxing in hillariously campy sequence that could be titled " Vengenance of the poet ". Movie is filled with many delights : the repeated banters between Khalu & Babban, Khallu's efforts to woo Begum, Babban's typically brazen attempts to win Munira over, and of course the dangerous cat-and-mouse game that they all play with the unrelenting Jaan Mohammad.   

CONCLUSION                                                      :           The one thing that can be said with supreme certainty about Dedh Ishqiya is that you've never seen such a marriage of old-world charm and new-world subterfuge before. Dedh Ishqiya ia at least Dedh times more delectable, saucy, audacious and amorous than Ishqiya. It constructs the dynamics of love and redemption from the rubble of a lost world. 

Follow me on twitter at