Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 11, 2012

Love hurts

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 11:44 pm

May 11, 2012

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Gauhar Khan

Director: Habib Faisal

In a fictional small town in North India, battle lines are drawn between political families, the Chauhans and the Qureshis, sworn enemies, each seeking victory against the other in the forthcoming elections. Against this tense terrain, director Habib Faisal sets his Romeo & Juliet story, Ishaqzaade.

Arjun Kapoor is Parma, the loutish grandson of the Chauhan patriarch who gleefully loots local vendors and sets fire to their shops when they beg for a little compassion. Parineeti Chopra is Zoya, feisty daughter of the senior most Qureshi, who’d much rather have a gun over brand new gold earrings. Like most love stories in Hindi films, this one too starts off on the wrong foot, when Parma storms into the Qureshi estate to take off with the local nautch girl who is performing there. In the fight that breaks out, Parma pulls out his gun at an infuriated Zoya, who is determined to get revenge. She gets that opportunity on campus soon after, and predictably a romance between the two is on the cards.

The film’s first half coasts along nicely, culminating in a delicious, unpredictable twist. But as the film’s second half kicks in, it becomes clear the writers had no idea where to go with the story. Which is possibly why the love-struck couple spends the entire post-intermission portion just running.

Like in Do Dooni Chaar, director Habib Faisal’s last film, and in Band Baaja Baaraat, his breakout script, the real pleasure in Ishaqzaade lies in its colloquial language, believable characters, and lived-in locations. Faisal gives us a leading lady worth rooting for in Zoya, a firebrand who knows how to take charge. Parineeti Chopra breathes life into the part, emerging the biggest strength of this film. As Parma, meanwhile, that unlikely leading man with no moral compass, Arjun Kapoor is confident but at times awkward, and his rawness shows.

Much of the film’s strengths come undone by the use of such tired clichés as the religious differences that stand in the way of true love, and the sacrificial hooker with a heart of gold. Also Faisal resorts to an unforgivably unoriginal climax – for both the resolution of the lovers, and their families – that sticks out in a film with such promise.

Ishaqzaade benefits considerably from Amit Trivedi’s excellent soundtrack and Hemant Chaturvedi’s sharp cinematography. Faisal creates a believable world with charming characters, and his leads have crackling chemistry. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for director Habib Faisal’s Ishaqzaade. It’s far from perfect, but you won’t be bored.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Pathetic direction, unnecessary songs lasting for eternity, poor camera work and horrible acting all around. This movie ought to be rated in terms of eggs and not stars.

    Comment by Jay Jani — May 12, 2012 @ 12:58 am

  2. I go with your rating .. i made my mind for the movie based on ‘do dooni chaar’ and ‘band baja baraat’ , i could resist the first half as it was close to reality but later everything was expected and it turned into a typical bollywood movie for me at-least !! i left the show in the second half humming the song main pareshaan pareshaan pareshaan !! 😛

    Comment by neetu — May 12, 2012 @ 1:17 am

  3. i watched it yesterday……n d review is perfect ………

    Comment by swapnil — May 12, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

  4. Ya rajeev the movie was quite predictable and was kind of low on content!
    But both actor done a gud job and music was really gud…

    Comment by nikhil — May 12, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

  5. why can’t they change the ending and make it like “american beauty” , I mean what’s wrong if both the lovers runaway to Jaipur or some other place, let other pieces of shit die I don’t mind but by killing the actors the director has messed up his venture big time,What’s the message btw when someone is about to kill you, u better kill yourself, are u kidding me? what kinda flick is this B.S

    Comment by shobhit — May 14, 2012 @ 7:08 am

  6. The movie was good! Amit Trivedi movie was fabulous but it lacked script. I could not see that real love for which so much passion was thr between the pair. Also some characters were not rightly placed, like Zoya’s family and parma’s friends. The whole rustic feel is good. Worth watching!!

    Comment by Somya — May 14, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  7. Just agree with you that its rooted in a believable rawness and earthliness..
    But what more you expected from the movie… What additions could have been there to bring out the promise as you said.

    For me its a more realistic interpretation of love and life now days… Yes we all expect a fairytale ending but that how it is. We cant get what we expect.

    The last 30 mins showed the road ahead has no ends for the lovers.. how a bubbling love was not allowed to blossom in this mean world…

    For me its a good attempt by Faisal.. Kudos.

    Comment by RISHAV GAURAV — May 15, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  8. nice review. the movie was different and likeable but in the second half there is not much in the script besides running.
    writer should have focused in post interval sequence.

    Comment by siddhantk kharel — May 15, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

  9. Soundtrack is OK. But, Sharp cinematography? It tried to be unconventional alright..but it is no way innovative.

    The film has a pathetically stereotypical story line and equally dull screen play.

    The only thing that can save this kind of movie is sure footed performances – remember Gulal – or strong characterization – as in Vishal Bhardwaj’s movies.

    None appeared in a long 2.5 hrs wait. Except that things got solved with only two bullets when more than thousand were fired.

    Comment by Amit — May 15, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  10. For me movie below avg . maybe i was expecting a lot from it . thats y i was dissapointed . better skip ppl

    Comment by Pareen — May 16, 2012 @ 12:51 am

  11. My review of Ishaqzaade http://cinemathatmatters.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/movie-review-ishaqzaade/#respond

    Comment by Saurabh Tiwari — May 16, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  12. film story was totaly flawed and dint had any sense in it at all

    Comment by sanyam — May 18, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

  13. the first half was very good and the twist in the end was good..
    but as rajeev said the entire second half was spent in running…
    they would have easily covered kilometers of distance during their run..
    and i liked the climax….happy ending is boring ..
    and sad ending is something new ..

    i liked the movie..
    going with 3/5 stars…

    Comment by narendra — May 19, 2012 @ 1:04 am

  14. I found it a paisa wasool movie…………..Do agree that the movie is predictable but the songs are really good and specially i enjoyed it very much. Parineeti has superbly executed her character in the movie . The beauty of her work covers all the other weakness of the movie.

    Good work Parineeti……………You rocked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by karan singh — May 19, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  15. as usual ur review is perfect!!!! n ya parineeti is d biggest strength of d film!!! without her d film would have been a bore!!!! :/

    Comment by vinay — May 20, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  16. The movie is worth watching for 2 reasons- Parineeti Chopra’s fiesty & believable portrayal of Zoya and the unexpected twist in the first half. Parineeti has great potential and has done full justice to her role. Wielding guns with a lot of style & confidence, she takes the otherwise charmless movie ahead. Arjun Kapoor’s expressions(or the lack of it) reminds one of Abhishek Bacchan in his early days. And like Rajeev says, too much running in the movie yet no reward. The second half is so predictable and the ending, so cliched. Thats all for all the passion they have?? Phew!!
    The movie is good in parts and the songs hummable. Specially liked ‘Main Pareshaan’. Rajeev’s rating of 2.5 is apt.

    Comment by Vindya — May 22, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  17. I definitely rate this movie as damn good one, as it looks at honor killing which is rampant in small towns, more is certain caste. The ending scene was the best one’s in politics no emotions and in goonda town where guns speaks, they have dealt it the right way. Am sure such scenes are very common, even in down south in TN, you have a father killing brutally his daughter and then surrendering in the police saying now my day is made, because his daughter was roaming with a lower caste guy. So the father decides to kill her.. one can hear more such stories, this movie maybe could have found an answer to such problem, as it is ..its an eye opener.. both hero and heroine have done their home work very well, Heroine takes the full credit.

    Comment by venkat — May 22, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  18. Disappointment in the last is the key takeaway…director really struggled to show quality during second half. Its only the music which has done justice to the movie…overall 120 mins movie was just not upto the mark.

    Comment by Naved — June 6, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

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