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By Parineeti Chopra shines while Arjun Kapoor makes an assured debut Karishma Upadhyay Did you like/ not like Ishaqzaade? Tell
  • Published 12.05.12

Two people are born to hate each other. Their families are arch enemies who live in opposite ends of a small town. Love blossoms against all odds and then all hell breaks loose.

Sounds familiar?

From Ek Duje Ke Liye to Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, there have been quite a few interpretations of Romeo and Juliet. Set in a small town in north India, Ishaqzaade is a love story of Parma Chauhan (Arjun Kapoor) and Zoya Qureshi (Parineeti Chopra).

Zoya is a strong character who happily trades in a pair of gold jhumkas for a country-made gun while Parma is a crass but loveable lout. Apart from the obvious religious differences, what keeps the two families at war is that the Chauhan and Qureshi seniors are political rivals. As campaigning starts for the local election, Zoya and Parma exchange a few insults that are followed by a slap and gunshots. In the backdrop of so much hatred, the trigger-happy duo fall in love.

Zoya and Parma’s romance is intense and all-consuming. Pre-interval, the film has everything going for it — great dialogues, crackling chemistry between the lovers who don’t see the world through rose-tinted glasses and, most importantly, a milieu that is not seen often enough in Bollywood. At the halfway mark, Ishaqzaade is so tantalisingly poised, it was only natural to expect that Habib Faisal would hit the ball right out of the park. Unfortunately, the Curse of the Second Half strikes yet again and instead of trying out a fresh approach to the tried-and-tested storyline, Faisal takes the safe, filmi route to the climax.

The second half of the film is primarily let down by the baffling actions of both the lead and secondary characters. There is no explanation why Parma’s friends turn against him, why Zoya’s doting father wants to kill her, or how Zoya finds it in her heart to forgive Parma. While their relationship is stormy and passionate, it’s tough to make an emotional connect with the film. Most of the pre-release hype for Ishaqzaade revolved around the debutant Arjun, but it’s Parineeti who walks away with all the glory.

She lives up to the promise she displayed as Dimple in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl. Her Zoya is spirited and tough and yet naïve enough to believe and fall in love. Compared to Parineeti, Arjun looks rough on the edges but he does make an assured debut. I have to make a special mention of Gauahar Khan, who plays Chand Bibi, the local nautch girl. Not only does Gauahar look like a million bucks in the songs, she shines in her few scenes.

Faisal, who debuted with the endearing Do Dooni Chaar, is once again successful in creating a believable small town in the hinterlands of UP. Cinematographer Hemant Chaturvedi has deftly captured the rustic essence of northern India beautifully. An absolute highlight of the film is Amit Trivedi’s music that fits seamlessly. Ishaqzaade isn’t as good a film as it could have been but it is worth a watch.