Will Hindu-Muslim love story work?

Mumbai, Jan 4 (IANS) "Ishq Hai Tumse" is unique for two reasons - it explores a Hindu-Muslim romance and Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea play lovers after their off-screen days of passion are over.

Dino and Bipasha playing a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl do the unthinkable in "Ishq Hai Tumse" -- they fall in love.

Hindi cinema has always been wary of crossing the sensitive religious divide. When Yash Chopra attempted a Hindu-Muslim love story 45 years ago in "Dharmputra", riots were reported from various parts of the country.

In 1995, when Mani Rathnam cast Manisha Koirala as a Muslim girl who marries her Brahmin beau Arvind, fundamentalists threatened to burn theatres that screened the film.

But "Ishq Hai Tumse" is slightly different. Reputed Telugu producer G.A. Seshagiri Rao and director G. Krishna are quick to stress that the religious divide has little bearing on the central romance.

What makes "Ishq Hai Tumse" interesting is that two of Bollywood's most cosmopolitan stars appear in thoroughly conventional parts.

That the lead pair Dino and Bipasha were romantically involved earlier is a fact that adds a tantalising lustre to the on-screen love story.

Together or separately, Dino and Bipasha have so far been seen doing only upmarket city-motivated films like "Ajnabee", "Raaz" and "Gunaah".

Curiously, audiences love to watch real-life couples after they've separated. Madhubala and Dilip Kumar had their biggest success together, "Mughal-e-Azam", after they had split.

Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala had drifted so far apart during "Sangharsh" in the 1960s that they didn't exchange a single word off-camera.

And Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia had left their "Bobby" bonding behind when in Ramesh Sippy's "Sagar" they sizzled like few other real-life couples.

On the other hand, real-life pairs who insist on doing a never-ending series of films (mainly to spend time together) end up boring the audience.

Dharmendra-Hema Malini, Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh and Akshay Kumar-Raveena Tandon are three real-life pairs who featured in one too many flops during the course of their companionship.