Daawat E Ishq is like that cake which looks real sumptuous garnished with walnut & other toppings but when you savor it, it turns out to be half baked, making you relish only the toppings. Donning a chef’s hat, the director steps into his kitchen of film making and uses the available ingredients to make out a sumptuous dish and invites us to a fiesta called Daawat-e-Ishq which unfortunately pampers your taste buds only in parts. But notwithstanding its share of false garnishing, Daawat-e-Ishq, written and directed by Habib Faisal, is not a soulless film. In fact, it has its heart in the right place. Despite being written and directed by Faisal, who wrote that warm cupcake of a film Do Dooni Char, Daawat-e-Ishq tries to root itself in a similar, realistic universe of realism, but with a few Bollywood accents. As a result, if you've managed to sit through till the interval, you know exactly what's going to happen in the end. The film kicks off in the manner of a social drama, turns into a mild crime caper, then takes on the dimensions of a culture clash comedy, and finally winds up like a love story with a happy ending.
STORY & SCREENPLAY :: The story has been penned down by Habib Faisal & Jyoti Kapoor who have written a screenplay which is a light-hearted take weaved around the consistent demand of dowry from the groom’s side in India, and how an educated girl counters it with her wickedly twisted understanding of Section 498 A. Loosely, and without giving the plot away, dowry is, in many ways the central thrust of the film. Good food and youthful amour do work well in tandem, but the principal trouble with Daawat-e-Ishq is that allows the two ingredients to recede to the background all too often in pursuit of larger issues of life. It moves the plot and its ensuing romance, neatly tying the story together at the end. As per the storyline, Gulrez Qadir (Parineeti Chopra) is a feisty, smart college-going girl in Hyderabad. Her father, played by Anupam Kher, is a senior clerk in the high court. Gulrez topped her batch in class XII exams, does a part time job in a shoe shop and is also studying in college. Her father, however, wants her to get married as soon as possible and lines up several prospective grooms for her. Not only are these men caricaturish, silly and undeserving, they also demand steep dowry for marrying Gulrez, aka Gullu. Fed up of these obviously evil people, Gullu hatches a plan to con a rich guy who demands a hefty dowry. She'll have a fake nikah with him, then frame him in a dowry harassment case, wrench a lot of money out of the guy's family in an out-of-court settlement and finally escape to New York to study fashion designing. She manages to rope her father in to help her achieve her target. They decide to target the hapless gents of Lucknow who have signed up to matrimonial websites. And then Gullu meets Tariq aka Taru (Aditya Roy Kapur). His family owns the oldest kebab place in Lucknow, which is the daawat part of the title. Gullu, then in the disguise of Sania from Dubai, chooses Tariq as the target of her con because he's the richest of all the prospective grooms she's encountered.
STARCAST :: The performances of the star-cast is the major highlight of the movie for which due credit must be given to the casting director, Shanoo Sharma, as she has chosen the apt actors as per their characters. It's never been very difficult to sit through a film that has Parineeti Chopra in it. There is something intensely endearing about her. That's perhaps because she makes the ordinary seem engaging, the odd seem cute. and doesn't let her audience's attention stray from her when she is onscreen. She has portrayed the character of Gulrez to perfection. Although, Aditya Roy Kapoor gets considerably less screen space but he manages to bowl you over with sincerity of his performance and doesn't let audience's attention stray from him when he is onscreen. Anupam Kher has given an impeccable performance as Parineeti's father who has lived an honest life by never taking a bribe but due to excessive dowry demands helps Parineeti in playing a con game. Another actor who makes his debut on big screen is Karan Wahi who looks cute but gets minimal screen space.
TECHNICAL FINESSE :: The film’s music has already made its place in the chartbuster. Music composers Sajid-Wajid with their commercial sensibilities have poured in the right amount of drama in the songs. The qawwali number ‘Daawat-e Ishq’ is pick of the lot. The cinematography by Himman Dhamija is well-executed, with liberal shots of kebabs and jalebis, enough to make you squirm in hunger. Like the plot, the camera is more skilfully used for scenes in Hyderabad than in Lucknow. However, most of the scenes are indoors and thus it is only during the songs that you actually get to see the beautiful city and enjoy the cinematography to the core. The movie has been edited by Meghna Manchanda Sen who has done a good job and kept the run-time to crisp 123 minutes. She has ensured that the narrative flows at an even pace with not many highs or lows. Habib Faisal as a director has ably extracted the best of performances from his actors. He has made a movie which is not only about celebration of food, love, relationships but also depicts the evils of dowry system prevalent in society.
CONCLUSION :: Daawat-e-Ishq may not be a perfect film but it's an adorable love story and the two young actors make ita good one time watch.
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