When the tapori, hot blooded, Arshad Warsi questions the older, romantic Naseeruddin Shah, in Ishqiya,“ Tumhara ishq, ishq aur hamara ishq, sex” bringing up the age old, quintessential boundaries between love and lust, it seems the dialogues and characterization couldn’t be better. But Dedh Ishqiya is one sequel where a similar sequence defines the seven stages of love with even better lines. “Ishq ke saat mukaam hote hain - dilkash, uns, mohabbat, akeedat, ibaadat aur junoon..”The seventh stage is best unrevealed here.
The story of two foul mouthed thieves, one old, one young, in the rustic Uttar Pradesh hinterland; willing to die for the same woman whose filthy tongue could make them sound like school boys; brought both the debut director, Abhishek Choubey and the sexy Vidya Balan to notice in Ishqiya.
Dedh Ishqiya continues in the same vein, this time with two women, the gorgeous,Madhuri Dixit Nene and the voluptuous Huma Qureshi who made quite a splash with Gangs of Wasseypur.
Dedh Ishqiya stays true to its prequel in every way but has its downside too. There is (Babban)Arshad as usual in trouble, standing in his own half dug grave, narrating a joke desperately to save his life. His missing partner and rascal of an uncle,Khalu (Naseer) meanwhile, who has turned poet and set his heart on wooing and winning over the beautiful Begum Para(Madhuri) with his poetry and shayari. He has a tough rival: Vijay Raaz,the “nakli nawab” who makes the kidnapped real nawab (Manoj Pahwa), write poetry at gun point so that he can impress the beautiful begum. Begum’s closest confidante, Huma, has devious plans up her Lucknowi sleeves, for which she seduces the ever-willing Arshad. Watch out for wonderful use of torchlight in a dark and dusty library.
Though Madhuri is well cast here as the aging and widowed Begum in search of a Nawaab, as compared to her previous debacle, Aaja Nachle, her character and performance don’t move beyond her lustrous beauty. The crackling chemistry that both Naseer and Arshad had with Vidya, is lacking here, both with Madhuri and Huma.
However, the rest of the film revolving around the love hate relationship between Naseer and Arshad and new characters, Vijay Raaz and Manoj Pahwa; more than make up for the film’s minor flaws in the second half. Producer, and writer, Vishal Bhardawaj’s dialogues and two most amusing scenes involving Vijay Raaz, take the otherwise predictable story two notches up. One scene involves Naseeruddin, Arshad and Vijay Raaz and a bunch of goons standing fixed, aiming guns at each other throughout the night. Watch the film just to see how this scene ends and have your best laugh out loud moment. Another scene brilliantly enacted by Vijay Raaz and Manoj Pahwa, is a hilarious take on Nawaabs, Sonia Gandhi’s Italian connection and the meaning of DNA.
The poetry, the music and the lyrics bring alive the old world charm of Nawaabi gatherings and romantic era gone by. Gulzaar’s words, Rekha Bhardwaj’s lilting voice,Vishal’s music and Madhuri’s dance to Begum Akhtar’s thumri “….dekha dekhi tanik ho jaaye..hamari atarya pe…” are a cinematic treat for the ears and the eyes.
Arshad is at his best, both in his comic sense of timing and as a confused lover, especially when he delivers the lines..” Aaj zindagi mei pehli baar tai nahi kar paa raha hoon ki kya de raha hoon aur kya le raha hoon.”
Naseeruddin is great but overshadowed by the inimitable Vijay Raaz. Manoj Pahwa deserves a special mention for the best comic timing.
Dedh Ishqiya charms in most parts, with its naughty humour, rich Urdu poetry and comraderie both amongst the men and the women.