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By: He Who Must Not Be Named

Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Anil Rastogi, Pravin Chandra, Mohd. Hafeez, Aaftab Ahmed, Gauhar Khan

Music: Amit Trivedi

Producer: Aditya Chopra

Director: Habib Faisal

Rating: ***

If you are from North India, you have already seen ‘Ishaqzaade’ in your everyday life. In case you hail from any other part from this country, YRF’s latest flick gives you an interesting peek into this land where treachery is a virtue, muscle power equates manhood, family honour lies in your daughter’s virginity, love is a crime and hate unites.

Yes, it all happens in every nondescript, grubby town of Uttar Pradesh and certainly in Almore as well where Parma (Arjun Kapoor) and Zoya (Parineeti Chopra) grow up hating each other. Why... because their respective families are baying for each other’s bloods over a legislative assembly seat.

Amidst the several rounds of gunfires and tight slaps the two eventually come close and seem to look like every second rebel couple before Parma delivers a coup-de-grace and shocks everyone watching his adorable act. After all he has grown up in Chauhans’ ‘Mardon ki haveli’ and hence starts another round of tiffs and gore.

Along comes the Chand baby (Gauhar Khan) a somewhat sane voice in this maddening crowd. But hers is a voice too feeble to be heard in this badland of hooligans.

Love does make a comeback in their lives but will they be able to survive the onslaught of these bloodthirsty boors? Well, for that you have to pay a visit to these Ishaqzaade, who have done a fairly decent job in this tough love story.

Parineeti Chopra deserves a special mention for her portrayal of a headstrong girl, going through one emotional turmoil after other. She looks promising for several author backed roles which might come her way after Ishaqzaade. But Katrinas and Deepikas need not worry; she belongs to Vidya Balan’s clan.

Arjun Kapoor makes a fairly decent debut too. Though his churlish UP lad lacks the required diction and accent, he makes up for them with his high-intensity performance. Sure he is not going away anytime soon.

Gauhar Khan remains an unexplored gem. It never ceases to amaze me why no one gives her that much deserved chance apart from YRF. She certainly deserves it and much more respect than being an item girl.

The screenplay is taut and Habib Faisal displays his grip over the story especially in the first half. He is certainly not one of those armchair directors. He shows his prowess with the powerful dialogues and feisty direction. He is someone who actually senses the pulse of this country’s middle class. More power to you, mate.

Music by Amit Trivedi is rustic and captures the essence of small towns quite well.

Ishaqzaade looks a tad bit stretched in the second half but it certainly is not a ‘dangerous ishq’ which will bore you for too long.

Go watch it, if you want to get a raw taste of North India. Perhaps then you will understand how ‘dangerous’ it is to be an ‘Ishaqzaade’ in this mad, mad land.

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