Reviewing the Reviews: Mostly raves for Dedh Ishqiya

13 Jan,2014

By Deepa Gahlot

 

Dedh Ishqiya

Director: Abhishek Chaubey

Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, others

 

The first major release of the year, Abhishek Chaubey’s Dedh Ishqiya, wins mostly raves and ratings that range from 2.5 to apt, probably leaving readers befuddled.

 

The film got its media hook in the form of a comeback for Madhuri Dixit, and she seems to have got a mixed welcome. The language, milieu, style of the film belongs to a bygone era, though it is set in the present, and has an ending that would please the LGBT activists, especially when they need support.

 

Aniruddha Guha of Time Out Mumbai commented, “Right from when the first trailer of the film released – the one about the seven stages of love - Dedh Ishqiya has been a movie to feverishly look forward to, and it more than meets expectations. After Rajkumar Hirani’s two Munnabhai films, each of which stood out for their individual brilliance, it’s the two Ishqiya films that achieve the feat (incidentally, Warsi has acted in all four). It’s dark, sardonic and funny. Don’t miss 2014’s first great Hindi film.”

 

Shubhra Gupta of Indian Express was not all that impressed. “‘Ishqiya’ gave us a couple of lovable rogues with a lilting Bhopali brogue, and a tricky leading lady in the wickedest ‘cheent ka blouse’ and a startling line in ‘gaalis’. Director Abhishek Choubey’s debut film had an arresting swagger and a distinct voice, and characters—full-blooded, full-bodied- that stayed with you much after the film was over. The sequel has the same two losers, a little worn and weathered, trying their luck in another town, and two new ladies, holding out the promise of one-and-half-times the fun. Fun it is for some time, and then it starts to slide. This one should have been a humdinger, but it falls short.”

 

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV.com gave it a glowing review too, “In fact,Dedh Ishqiya is in many respects appreciably more enthralling than Ishqiya. Thematically, the follow-up casts its net far wider and comes up with striking insights into the flaws and foibles of people who haven’t lost their flair for the flashy despite their lives having hitting the skids. The screenplay is laced with acidic wit, the comic touches are subtly sly, and the on-screen performances are marvellously modulated. Dedh Ishqiya entertains, but does so in a manner that does not trifle with the intelligence of the audience. In other words, here is an exceptional film that does not have to negotiate the kind of facile crowd-pleasing narrative formulations that most Bollywood flicks must necessarily wade through in order to get to the Rs 200-crore mark. Dedh Ishqiya might not get there, but it is a triumph of measured craftsmanship and storytelling finesse.”

 

Vinayak Chakravorthy of India Today wrote, “Ishqiya started off with an advantage this sequel will not get. Like all first films, it had concept novelty on its side. You had a couple of brazen rustic conmen with hearts that flutter at the tiniest tease, thrown into a mix of dark wit, crime and amoral amour. In a broad sense, Dedh Ishqiya is basically reloading that winning formula, if only at a royal scale its decadent Nawaabi backdrop allows. In a finer sense, the film is not blindly peddling what worked once. You spot a thought process that tries taking the existing formula to a new level. The effect is alluring.”

 

Sanjukta Sharma of Mint heartily commended the film. “Writer and director Abhishek Chaubey follows up his rompy revenge caper Ishqiya (2010) with a sequel, Dedh Ishqiya, a terrific entertainer about friendships and the ways in which human beings form bonds for solace and dreams. When I am m by the crassly sexist ethos that governs Hindi films today, Ishqiya is one of the films I like to think of. Here too, like in the first, Chaubey keeps his light, humorous touch intact without failing to smuggle in the class and gender politics crucial to the story.”

 

But the five-star rave comes from Rediff’s Raja Sen. “Rarely is a Hindi film as mischievously besotted with wordplay, but one look at Chaubey’s co-conspirators confirms that no syllable has been picked accidentally. In this sleight-of-hand tale where gangsters point with iambic-meter before pointing with guns, Chaubey has master wordsmiths Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar alongside him, making for a script that balances words as deftly — and, crucially, with as much nervous energy — as a knife-juggler with a case of the hiccups. It’s a marvel.”

 

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