Fun on the run - the rather non-specific promotional tag for the film actually is a pretty good description of the film Ishqiya. It's desi Chase - guns, self-deprecatory characters who often find themselves at the wrong end of these guns, a deceptive ingenue'/moll who uses them but who they fall for,and a gripping plot - very basic ingredients of a Hadley Chase novel.
The desi part however is what really has you impressed. After Omkara, whose colourful language had us piqued, Ishquiya has us rolling in the aisles. Humour is definitely the biggest thing on offer here. The side-splitting dialogues are enhanced by the utterly original characters and comic situations.This is one of those movies where I came out recounting the "scenes" and laughing over them. The pock-marked tycoon with his beauty-parlour mistress dressed like Helen and using a chabuk/used-parlour-brush on him while he lies all tied up and blind-folded had me laughing till I cried. And am not exaggerating.
The Indian hinterland with it's unfamiliar terrain, lingo and lifestyle forms a fascinating character by itself. Mira Nair is so right in saying that Bharadwaj is that rare Indian filmmaker who could appeal to an international audience because his films reveal a unique, native understanding of his roots.
The characters are, like all Bharadwaj (story writer, composer) characters, entirely original. From the tamancha wielding, paanch-kum-bees lad to the toothless old woman who wisecracks with the lafangas, the cast is sheer delight. Naseer is in form is what you can say about him. But Arshad Warsi and Vidya Balan are the revelations. Baby-faced, sexy, scheming, coy and vulnerable - Vidya plays her character with the ease of a veteran. All the number 1 and number 2 size zeros can go take a hike. This woman can act.
Arshad Warsi with all the kajal in UP in his eyes, plays the goofy macho man with elan. He has put in some serious hard work into his character and the best part is that he makes it look like he was born to play the role. Abhishek Chaubey in his directorial debut, looks like he has taken more than a leaf from Bharadwaj in terms of style. Old hindi film songs provide the background score in the most apt places and heighten the atmospherics of the tale, characters and dialogues drive the plot, and the music only adds to everything. Enjoy!
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