Movie Review: Dedh Ishqiya

A movie after 4 months. I had almost forgotten what it felt like stepping into a movie theatre.

Dedh Ishqiya

With a weird but funny name like ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ (sequel to Ishqiya in 2009), one would expect something zany and out of the box.  Well, it doesn’t disappoint much. With an experienced and stellar star cast like Naseeruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi and Huma Qureshi, you know you will get more than your money’s worth.

The uncle-nephew duo, khalujaan-Babban, is on the run after a robbery. They find themselves in a small and sleepy town of Mahmudabad where the widowed Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) has organized a 3-day festival of Urdu poetry recitation. Urdu poets from nearby towns and cities come over to participate in it. The reward is unique. The poet who impresses the Begum will get to marry her and be the Nawab of Mahmudabad. No prizes to guess here. Our khalujaan aka Iftekhar Hussain is in the race and almost winning. Another strong contender is the powerful and dangerous local MLA Mr. Jaan Muhammad (Vijay Raaz). Looks like Begum Para has almost decided who her betrothed will be. But things are not as they appear. Everybody’s wearing a mask here and the viewer is left to guess who is using who. After a lot of twists and turns, the truth comes out. And in a bizarre black comedy-like ending, the film comes to an end.

Watching Madhuri after more than a decade is a special treat. A good actor doesn’t lose her touch just because she stops acting. Naseeruddin Shah as the lout and the madly-in-love Urdu reciting poet steals our heart. Arshad Warsi with his natural dialogue delivery endears us. He’s a director’s man; I don’t know why he wastes himself in films like Joe B Carvalho which has nothing to offer him or the audience. Huma Qureshi is impressive. And not to forget Vijay Raaz with his perfect comic timing who steals the show.

The film started with a bang. But lost the fervor somewhere in middle with stretched scenes, unnecessary dance sequences (just because they wanted to show Madhuri dancing) and songs. All the characters were neatly defined and were impeccable. The dialogues were beautiful and funny (there is extensive use of foul language though); and the poetry soul-stirring. The film could have done well with a few edits. The film may not be in the same league as the original Ishqiya where the bold and sexy Vidya Balan woos us all, but it still showcases the grace and charm of Madhuri Dixit.

My verdict: Watch it for it will surely make you grab a book of Urdu poetry.

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