Hindi film Review
Vying for Royalty but without the blue-blood!
Film: Dedh Ishquiya
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Madhuri Dixit, Huma Quereshi, Vijay Raaz
Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Rating: * * *
The andaaz is shayarana but the tehzeeb and ada is missing. Chaubey’s maiden exercise at direction, ‘Ishquiya, ’ was suggestive in it’s humor, irrepressibly sexual in it’s undertones and had some elevating music and performances to aid it’s audience friendliness. It also had newness to it’s thriller-double-cross format, set in a rustic milieu. ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ tries to go the same route. It’s not as volatile, saucy or complex as the first though. Other than a few new members like Madhuri, Huma Quereshi and Vijay Raaz alongside some bit players , added on, the rest is same old- lead by the brilliant Naseeruddin Shah and the effervescent Arshad Warsi.
The film reads like a second round -of adventures encountered by Khalujan(Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban(Arshad Warsi), the partners-in-crime who escaped from near death in the earlier film. The story picks up a few years after the events of the first movie. Babban (Arshad Warsi) and Khalujan (Shah) continue to con their way through life in the hinterland and evade being buried alive by their former boss, Mushtaq (Salman Shahid).The milieu for this new adventure is different though. We are now transported to Mahmudabad, Uttar Pradesh- the world of nawabs and shayars, spouting cheap romantic couplets in chaste urdu while vying for the affection of a penniless widowed Begum Para(Madhuri Dixit) and her constant consort Munniya(Huma Quereshi). Wherever there is a beautiful lady involved, Khalujan is always around. No explanations for how he got there , he is now a Nawab trying to get Para to don her dancing ghunghroos while putting on his best act to serenade her into a marriage. It so happens that Para’s impotent husband had decreed that She hold a shayari competition for all the Nawabs from near and far in order to select husband No 2. Needless to say, instead of true blue nawabs , the swayamvar contenders are all criminals of one kind or other. Babban miya is not too happy with Khalujan’s vying of the fair maiden so he goes over to the enemy and is ready to pull a con. Unfortunately for him there are too many players playing their own cons.
Logic also doesn’t find a foot-hold in this adventure-thriller. Characters are conveniently given another life mainly because, they need to see the con through to the end. So the run of play is predictable and has a déjà vu feel to it. Even the treatment lacks newness. Chaubey continues in the same vein as ‘Ishquiya’ and the continuity thereof plays out like a disservice to the new milieu. The shayaris are also a little too low brow to make the experience intriguing. The humor is chuckle worthy at best.
Darab Farooqui’s story doesn’t veer much from that of ‘Ishquiya’. The shenanigans are too similar to look new. Vishal Bharadwaj’s dialogues are naughty enough and Bashir Badri’s urdu shayaris lend richness to the drama but it’s a thin layer that keeps peeling off as the tale gets flirty and twisty.
The spoken language here by-and-large is Urdu -certainly manna to the senses. The language heightens the romance up to a point but not every member of the cast can pull it off with heartfelt honesty. Madhuri Dixit and Huma Quereshi, two of the main players are wanting in that department. There is neither depth nor intensity in their deportment. So even though Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi and Vijay Raaz do a fine job (full of conviction), their attempts to woo the maidens lack believability.
The Vidya –Naseer pairing, despite the visible age difference, worked in Ishquiya, because the character Vidya assayed was both naughty, sausy and a practiced tease. She also appeared sexually irrepressible while Para assayed by Madhuri, appears cool, and a little too conservatively poised to make the entanglement work. Their casting just doesn’t give you that extra mile required. Madhuri and Huma Quereshi are also too low down on the ‘ada’ category. They look too well-fed and don’t have the kind of intensity or sauciness’ required to pull off their respective roles. In fact considering the age factor and the ‘ada’ required here, the inimitable Rekha would have been a more perfect fit for Para. Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi make a game of the double crossing con and Vijay Raaz (playing Jaan Mohammed a local goon masquerading as a nawab)lends his peculiar brand of villainy to make it just about watchable!