Movie Review: Daawat-E-Ishq
Is Daawat-E-Ishq likely to be a treat for its viewers too? City 1016's Lokesh Dharmani passes his verdict
Director: Habib Faisal
Starring: Aditya Roy Kapur, Parineeti Chopra, Anupam Kher
Parineeti Chopra is one of the most versatile actors we have these days, the kind of versatility that is reflected in her choice of err…cities. After playing a young vivacious, feisty girl of Delhi in Ladies vs Ricky Behl, she played a young vivacious, feisty girl of UP in Ishaqzade and then a young, feisty girl of Jaipur in Shuddh Desi Romance. And now she plays the young, feisty girl of Hyderabad in Daawat-e-Ishq. If it doesn’t form the most envious repertoire of roles, at least it would make great material for the most difficult ‘spot the difference’ puzzle for Reader’s Digest. The saving grace is that she is so good, so convincing in getting the accent right, in owning the character and her lines that it only reestablishes her as a fine actor.
Daawat-e-ishq deals with the issue of dowry. Abdul Qadir (Anupam Kher) is a court clerk with a meagre salary of Rs 30,000 a month. He can’t get her daughter Gulrez (Parineeti Chopra) married as he can’t fulfill the demands of her greedy suitors and their families. Hence the father-daughter duo decides to turn tables around by taping and trapping the greediest suitor under the IPC section of 498A and extorting money so that the beti can fulfill her cobbler dreams in Amrica. (Ok ok don’t kill me; she wants to be a shoe designer.)
In a scene Qadir is skeptical as he admits in one of the rather interestingly written dialogues, “498A ka section hain, koi nail polish nahi, jo laga denge.” Alas the writers don’t understand the importance of this nugget and go about weaving a con story that looks as simple as applying nail polish.
The plot of the film is as half-baked and unconvincing as its treatment. Long queues of suitors at a hotel in Lucknow, the unabashed demands of greedy families, the whole camera set up for a sting operation and the fact that ladka-ladki should spend three days together to know each other and give the viewers a free hop-on hop-off Lucknow darshan in Tariq’s red Impala look too forced and feeble.
The direction by Habib Faisal is as inconsistent as its characters who are happy, upset, angry, melodramatic and romantic all in a span of a few minutes. Abdul Qadri is shown shaking like a leaf facing corruption at work and the same Qadri executes a well-planned con job. Tariq (Adity Roy Kapur) is raging with anger and wants to teach Gulrez a lesson, except he cools down in a jiffy and calmly listens to her sob sob I-was-insulted-by-dowry-mongers-and-hence-left-with-no-choice story. Such sudden change? Even Mumbai rains are more predictable guys!
Towards the end Gulrez feels guilty of conning her lover. After all she has sung two long songs with the hero. In Hindi films, couples make half a dozen babies in two songs; the least she can do is feel guilty.
The daawat bit of the movie is only confined to Tariq’s kitchen. The food by no means is instrumental in furthering the plot or bringing any drastic change in the story. Tariq could have been a mechanic, a watchman or a wrestler. It wouldn’t have mattered.
The only saving grace of the film is its performances. Anupam Kher’s experience and Aditya’s endearing act infuse some life into these flat characters. Parineeti is as easy as ever. Trained by another actor Elahe Hiptoola (who has produced delightful movies like Hyderabad Blues with Nagesh Kukunoor in the past), she nails the Hyderabadi accent. After Rani Mukerji, she is one of those few actors who know her craft so well.
The film also boasts of shooting on location and brings the beautiful cities of Hyderabad and Lucknow alive on celluloid. Despite good performances, the film loses out as it makes regressive comments on a bunch of things. Abdul Qadri is impressed with her daughter’s grit and courage. With tearful eyes he says, “Tu toh mera hero hain.” “Hero nahi, heroine,” corrects Gulrez to which he says that she had been so fearless in life that he could never tell if he had a son or a daughter. Dude, you have a daughter not a hermaphrodite. And yes daughters can be intrepid and have a mind of their own.
Gulrez’s love interest, Tariq is no less. He redefines misogyny as he tells Gulrez he would never have a problem even if she puts on weight after marriage. Wow so generous! Such magnanimity broke my heart! She should have pounced on him and married him right then. He is a cook, will feed her fat and will have no problem with her weight. What a forward thinking, liberal catch he is!! (Though he redeems himself by asking her if she would have a problem if he develops a paunch.)
Dowry by no means should mean humiliation to women or their families. To use that humiliation to con someone can never be justified. And to show such characters as heroes on the big screen is downright regressive.
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN
5 stars: Loved it. (This could make to top ten movies you must watch before you die!)
4 stars: Liked it. Recommend it. (This will help you sound intellectual and give you stuff to add at water cooler conversations.)
3 stars: Didn’t hurt. Watch it once.
2 stars: It put me to sleep. Watch it if you are an insomniac or a newly wedded couple. Winks!
1 star: Do I even need to explain this?