Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, Naseeruddin Shah, Huma Qureshi
Raman Maroo, Vishal Bhardwaj
Romance, Black Comedy, Thriller
After bringing in some great moments in 2010’s Ishqiya, the duo of Khalujaan and Babban are back in director Abhishek Chaubey’s Dedh Ishqiya. What worked in Ishqiya was the element of surprise and the unpredictable twists and turns that came along the way. But what works in Dedh Ishqiya is the crackling humor, smart dialogues, lovely Urdu literature and shayari, along with some fine performances from its lead cast which make this sequel an enjoyable watch.
Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) have stolen a necklace made of royal jewels and are on the run from their boss once again. They part ways and meet at the palace of the nawab of Mahmudabad, where Khalujaan is intended to win the heart of the nawab's widow Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) who has organized a shayari competition at her palace. Babban ends up falling for Begum’s quick-witted friend Munniya (Huma Qureshi). However, things become complicated when a rich gangster, Jaan Mohammad (Vijay Raaz), enters the fray and also wants to marry Begum and become a nawab.
Beautifully shot, crisply edited, this is a treat. Vishal Bhardwaj brings some fresh and new dialogues to the screen. Dedh Ishqiya brings out a scene of freshness, thanks to the film’s terrific writing. Chaubey and Bhardwaj prove that Bollywood can make smart films, with a star studded cast as long as your main focus is not intended for just box-office success.
What’s missing in Dedh Ishqiya is the wonderful soundtrack that Vishal Bhardwaj’s usually brings to his films. Don’t get me wrong…I loved watching Madhuri dance on the big screen again but it’s just not the same especially when a film can ride on terrific ‘hit’ songs like Dil To Bacha Hai Ji, and Iba-E-Batuda which its predecessor Ishqiya had. Dedh Ishqiya also loses some steam when Chaubey and Bhardwaj throw in a kidnapping plot, a love triangle, topping it off with a violent shootout which quite frankly drags out when the film was moving quite swiftly.
Fortunately the positives outweigh the negatives. Most notable are the performances from its terrific cast. Playing the role of Jaan Mohammad, Vijay Raaz is wonderful as the loutish gangster as he just grabs your attention every time he appears on screen. Huma Qureshi delivers a fine performance as Munniya, as she brings high energy, and shows great confidence. Arshad Warsi plays Babbar’s character wonderfully as he’s quite smooth as the lover and has some moments with Khalujaan that stand out. Naseeruddin Shah is convincingly earnest as Khalujaan. Madhuri Dixit does a superb job as the vulnerable Begum Para. From her beautiful looks, to her stunning dance moves, she brings in heart to her character. It’s such a joy to watch Madhuri perform on the big screen once again.
I am going with a MUST-WATCH for director Abhishek Chaubey’s Dedh Ishqiya. It’s only January but Chaubey has delivered Bollywood’s first gem of the year.