ISSAQ is being touted as the Indian adaption of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. At least Manish Tiwary has been honest here in revealing the source of his story line. But adapting it to suit Bollywood cinematic sensibilities and the times we live in takes another level of creativity. What Tiwary does here is bring the level of Shakespeare's lovers to something akin to a joke. Even Bunty and Pinky from LOVE STORY (Kumar Gaurav's debut film) would be laughing at the foolishness of this 'Ishq'.
Boy falls in love with a girl 'just like that'. Both families are at loggerheads. High on bhang,
one holi day, boy kisses girl. And girl, like one waiting to be 'taken', surrenders almost immediately. No spine in her character. Later, we realize that she is a virgin! (You have to hear the way this line is delivered to the boy). So is that a good enough reason to allow an unknown to smooch you and you break into cartwheels? Oh yes, and boy is better than Spiderman when it comes to climbing walls and running on parapets. He does so without the 'spiderman gear'.
The plot is like a pack of cards stacked one above the other; a slight hint of a gentle breeze and it blows away. The acting too is something you see in BAJATEY RAHO... Even Ravi Kissen is present here after playing the baddie in that so-called revenge comedy. For a moment I thought I was watching BAJATEY RAHO PART II.
Tiwary has given no depth to any character. Everyone is treated on the surface level and at times you get the feeling that you are watching something on stage, not on screen. There is not a single character which stands out and the naxal angle is just shoved in.
Prateik needs a complete makeover. He continues to act like a boor in love. Was this film shot just after his EKK DEEWANA THA? What happened to the talented lad we saw in JAANE TU... YA JAANE NA... His act works best for films like MY FRIEND PINTO.
The lad needs to take time out, watch the DVDs of his movies and sit with an 'acting counsellor' and come back with scripts that suit his image. Or else, directors with vision will have to test him with characters that challenge an actor.
Amrya Dastur, who makes her debut, matches her skills with that of rest of the cast. And that is saying a lot for a newcomer.
ISSAQ is a love story set in troubled times with troubled families. ISHAQZAADE was the same. Dig out a DVD of this Arjun Kapoor-Parineeti Chopra starrer instead.
Shakespeare would be proud of Habib Faisal for fleshing out Parma and Zoya, and adapting it so beautifully to Romeo & Juliet.