Ishqiya – A Treat for All Senses

I have not loved a Hindi film as much as this one in a while. Since February 2009 to be exact; Dev D was all kinds of awesome and its my bad that I have no post on it. So yes, Ishqiya is superb and has provided close to eight hours of entertainment to me. And when you invest so much time watching something, you have to talk about it.  

One could re-watch the film only for its fantastic shots, if nothing else. Seriously, every single shot of the film is a work of art and one can see the passion of the makers behind it. The opening scene with exotically beautiful Vidya Balan humming to herself lying on the bed captured my heart and I was constantly awed until the final shot of the film taken through the barrel of a shot gun. So much beauty, and that too without any scenic foreign location! The film is shot in Uttar Pradesh, as far as I can tell. The makers got the localization down pat and everything down to the switchboard  of electric switches are perfect. Not to forget the purrfect Uttar Pradesh accent and language. I had not heard some of those words since I turned seven. (This may lead you to question my childhood, I understand, but we shall tackle that some day else.) How can one contain so much awesomeness in one film!!  

Breathtakingly Beautiful, After a Long Time


Major spoilers for the film below. 

Ishqiya is a story of Krishna, the breathtakingly beautiful girl played by Vidya Balan. She reminded me of Parinita, and the fact that she is both a wonderful actor and a strikingly pretty Indian girl, but only when they know what to do with her. She comes across as both refreshing and stunning – something I do not see very often in Bollywood movies of late. Krishna loves her husband deeply but does not approve of his across-the-Faisabaad-border-business and tries to persuade him to surrender to the police. In the next shot, we see her house explode leaving her scarred and her husband dead.  

The change of scene introduces us to two buffoons dancing in their underthings on the tune of Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh. Naseeruddin Shah as Khalujaan and Arshad Warsi as Babban are fantabulous from the very first moment. The uncle-nephew duo run off with bag full of money stolen from a local don, who has the most fun relationship with his wife who is only heard from the other side of the phone. The two men take off in the don’s car and drive away on UP Highway (childhood memories again!), trying a place to hide. This happens with the super fun song Ibn-e-batuta playing in the background and fate takes them to Krishna’s doorstep hoping that her husband would help them get to Nepal.  

A Changed Krishna


 However, the Krishna we see now is a whole different person than who we saw in the beginning of the film. The quiet yet alert Krishna manages her business and house well and allows the smitten Khalujaan and his rowdy newphew to stay over until they can find a way to cross the border. But a visit from the don changes the plan, and the three end up contriving to kidnap a local businessman to extort money they owe to the don.  

Three is Company; Planning the Kidnap


As days progress, Khalujaan insists that Krishna drop the word Khalu (uncle) and only call him Jaan (darling). As Krishna sweetly smiles and encourages these advances, Khalujaan falls deeper in love and happily hums old Hindi film songs with her, while riding bicycle all over the town.  

Dil Toh Bachha Hai Jee; Smitten Khalujaan


 On the other hand, Babban discovers a whole new wild side of Krishna and is instantly attracted to what he calls sutli bomb. One thing leads to another, and the two end up spending the night together while Khalujaan is away on chores for implementation of their kidnapping plan. On his return, Khalujaan finds his nephew and his beloved Krishna shaking their booties on the tunes of Dekha Jo Tujhe Yaar, Dil Main Baji Guitar.  

His Kind of Krishna; Dil Main Baji Guitar


 Khalujaan, hurt and infuriated, fails to keep his mind during the execution of the napping the next day and the two men end up confronting and fighting over the damsel in distress, only she ain’t what she looks! While the two men indulge in fisticuffs, the damsel drives off with the napped businessman.  

Fisticuffs and Some Ma-Behan


Shocked and confused, the two men reach back home to discover the third side of Krishna and after some complexities dicover that they were just pawns in her masterplan to get back to her husband, who faked his own death and even tried to kill her. This thrid side of Krishna is my favorite in the film. The scene when she finally confronts her husband – the man she loves and hates at the same time – proves Vidya Balan’s ability as an actor.  

Face Off


 The movie ends with Krishna succeeding in her sweet revenge, and some of the most gorgeous shots. The blurry shot that shows a silhouette and then slowly focuses to show Krishna in a red sari standing at the edge of the burning house is heartbreakingly beautiful.  

Sweet Revenge


Besides a gripping story, sleek direction, and extremely melodious songs, the film is also very witty. The one liners, mostly from Arshad Warsi but sometimes from Naseeruddin as well, ensure a constant smile on your face. The film also boasts of some awesome characters, however little their role. Some of my favorites need to be mentioned here.  

The Typical Punjabi Housewife


The Rich Businessman and His Mistress


Tai - The Lady with the Torch


Nandu - The Sainik


 The film references numerous old Hindi movies, mostly via songs.  IMDB also mentions a Godfather III referencing through a shot of the photo frame, but  I am super convinced that the following shot is a homage to the Spanish road movie – Y Tu Mama Tambien. Too much of a coincidence, if it is not.  

Ibn-e-Batuta; Homage to Y Tu Mamá También?


If I got down to putting up each shot that I loved, I would probably end up putting the entire film here. So I will just shut up and leave you with the last favorite shot of the film. Brilliance in colors and in language, that’s Ishqiya.  

The Happy Ending



3 Responses to “Ishqiya – A Treat for All Senses”

  1. I will try and watch this after your review. Tried not to read the spoilers!:)

  2. Radhika Says:

    Loved the gaalis too. Chutiyum Sulphate!!!

    • sunshin3girl Says:

      Totally! This one was new for me, the “sulphate” that is. Using the former term is the birthright of every Delhi-ite. :p

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