Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, Huma Qureshi & Vijay Raaz
Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Producer: Vishal Bhardwaj
Genre: Action/Romantic Comedy
The art of filmmaking is such, that when a writer decides to put his pen to words, it lies in the hands of a director to creatively amplify its worth, by casting the right actors to convey it’s magnificence. That being said, Abhishek Chaubey deserves every possible accolade for being able to not only conceptualize such a witty yet complex script, but for also proving his maturity as a director to a scale at which he succeeded, by showcasing Dedh Ishqiya.
The film quite simply revolves around four dynamic characters where Khalujan (Naseeruddin Shah) and his nephew Babban (Arshad Warsi), are a thief duo who successfully rob a jewelry store and manage to run away with an expensive necklace set. Whilst trying to escape from the police, they get separated as Khalujan gets injured. However months later, Babban encounters Khalujan at a poetry contest organized by Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit). She plays the widowed begum of Mahmudabad, who as per the wishes of her ailing husband, decides that the winner of the context would win her as his bride, and in turn become the new Nawaab of Mahmudbad. Simultaneously, once Babban and Khulujan meet at the poetry context, Babban happens to find himself falling in love with Begum Para’s assistant, Muniya (Huma Qureshi), whilst Khulujan has his eyes set to steal Begum Para’s heart with his charm and romantic endeavor. The story unfolds to a series of distasteful encounters and physical confrontations, as the local politician turned gangster, Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz), is adamant to become the next Nawaab, but also knows that he’s in strong competition with the ‘charmer-with-words’ Khulujan, who feels that he deserves to be Begum Para’s new found love.
The visualization of the script is aesthetic and subtle in every which way, as it expresses a beautiful rendition and narration of the Urdu language. However, despite it being an action & romantic comedy, Chaubey does a splendid job at highlighting a powerful tone, in almost every scene throughout the film. But more importantly, as an audience, it was pleasing to see the strong impact of deep poetic verses that were established to explain the nature of the subject, script, and the style of Chaubey’s filmmaking. In addition to the lavish use of colour and opulent sets, it was the characterization through skillful cinematography, that allowed me to admire and absorb every frame and dialogue in the film.
When you think of the word ‘Grace’, there is no better name than Madhuri Dixit that could define it’s essence better. Prior to it’s release, Dedh Ishqiya was considered as Madhuri Dixit’s grand comeback into mainstream cinema, and she’s lived upto every shade of expectation to reinstate why she truly is the modern era queen of Bollywood. Even after over 20 years of experience, to having a significant gap of no film releases, her presence in every shot of Dedh Ishqiya, takes us back to the original charm and the sweetness of her smile, that made audiences & fans all across, fall in love with her during the 90’s. What was really wonderful to watch, was her phenomenal command over the constant flurry of Urdu dialogues. And yes, she may have received her claim to fame by romancing Shah Rukh Khan in multiple blockbusters in her earlier years, but her on screen chemistry with Naseeruddin Shah is where Charm meets Talent.
When any director decides to cast Naseeruddin Shah in his film, he already knows that he’s about to witness yet another breathtaking performance. Shah being considered as one of the most highly renowned talents in Indian Cinema, continues to deliver his absolute best, through his natural timing of dialogues, body language and most importantly, his powerful insightful voice. His continuous variety of expressions, shows his experienced relationship with the camera and the script. Therefore, it is no secret that when an actor is presented with a challenging script, a powerhouse of talent like Naseeruddin Shah, can only raise the bar exceedingly high, in letting lovers of impactful cinema be the judge. Hence, the character of Khalujan perfectly suits Shah’s incredible acting style of being able to showcase his vitality, in regard to the overall outcome of the story.
For me, Dedh Ishqiya is Arshad Warsi’s second best performance ever, since Munnabhai M.B.B.S. Ofcourse, the character of Babban having absolutely no relevance to that of Curcuit, Warsi once again manages to be a riot in this film. His sense of timing and a gifted quality to be witty, is what stands out prominently throughout the course of events that present themselves. Warsi’s ability to adapt to the core genre of any character he portrays, is quiet phenomenal. Having previously featured in Ishqiya with Naseeruddin Shah, shows how well their unique sense of characterization, compliments their on screen camaraderie.
The emergence of Huma Qureshi in the film industry, has already taken audiences, by storm. Making a shinning debut in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, Qureshi is becoming a critic’s favorite through her honest and well earned performances. The role of Muniya is yet another contrasting role to what she’s already done in the past, where her simple yet poised elegance, is evident all throughout. Having said this, she has a long way to go before considering herself as a leading actress. That being said, Huma Qureshi brings with her a young touch of energy and youthful freshness for a generation watching period films.
Dedh Ishqiya being one of the biggest and most awaited films of 2014 has exceeded all it’s hype, as it’s second week of screenings in cinemas worldwide, have given most film critics a reason to rave about it. Weather your a fan that likes to be given an off-the-cuff treat or an audience that wants to be blown away by individual performances, Dedh Ishqiya promises to touch the heart in it’s desire to express love, through the beauty of romancing with words.