Give this one a miss – Issaq, directed by Manish Tiwari, is not worth your precious time or money
Director Manish Tiwary’s Issaq is a rustic take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Prateik and Amyra Dastur play two small town sweethearts from Varanasi. From canoodling on rickety boats perched on the beautiful banks of the city of Benares to making lethal love promises, the two do it all.
This one is a story about a feud between two families – the Kashyaps and the Mishras. And we all know about the deadly games destiny plays. Prateik (Rahul Mishra) and Amyra (Bachhi Kashyap) end up falling into the inescapable web of each other’s love. Amy’s daddy Ravi Kishen is super impressive as Teetas; he has a formidable personality in the film, bolstered by the handlebar moustache, the kohl-rimmed eyes and the desi twang – the Bhojpuri actor scares and scowls like a veritable villain. While Prateik is the gun wielding thug, Amyra goes to college – that’s different, since her focus tends to be on listening to Prateik’s love talk rather than to the professor’s pearls of wisdom. And just for the record, she does that on her mobile phone via a hands-free kit while the lectures are in progress.
While these romantic birds are basking in the rains of romance, supporting characters catch our attention. And readers, they are much better than the protagonists, believe you us! Neena Gupta, who’s a teeny-tiny part of Amy’s family and is always supporting the babe to take love risks, does a commendable job of playing the helpless old lady. Vineet Kumar Singh from Gangs of Wasseypur impresses as Prateik’s ‘not-so-brave’ gang member. He looks real ‘coz he acts real. And Makrand Deshpande just gives you the giggles with his dopey sadhu avatar. He levitates up in the air, smokes a chillum and in his free time, doles out religious gyaan to his firang followers.
The film is inconsistent. It failed to keep us hooked, and Prateik and Amyra simply cannot manage to step into the shoes of small town sweethearts. Their urban accents, the way they dress and how they carry themselves – nothing complements the rural and charming appeal of Benares. The quarrels look pointless and romance is flat and dispassionate. And amidst the redundant scenes there are two more people who take the cake – Rajeshwari Sachdev and Prashant Narayan, the first as Ravi Kishen’s wife and the latter as a shrewd Naxalite…
Reviewed by Deboshree Ghosh
**** Very good