Planet Bollywood
Ishq Vishk
Producer: Kumar S. Taurani & Ramesh S. Taurani
Director: Ken Ghosh
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Amrita Rao, Shenaz Treasurywalla.
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Sameer
Genre: Comedy
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 135 mins
Film Released on: 09 May 2003
Reviewed by: Shahid Khan  - Rating: 5.5 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.1 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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Flat. That is one word to describe Ken Ghosh’s “Ishq Vishk”.

Shahid Kapoor’s first appearance in his debut film sees him sitting on a toilet ogling a pornographic magazine. That tells you all that you need to know about this movie!

Rajeev (Shahid) and Payal (Amrita Rao) are friends since childhood. They both attend the same college. All the students at college refer to Payal as “Bahenji”. This is because she is a good girl who studies for her exams and doesn’t date anyone. Also, looking at the rest of the semi-clad girls in the college, it might also be because her clothes cover 70 percent of her body (unlike the other girls who wear clothes that cover only 25 percent of each of their bodies). Bahenji is in love with Rajeev. But Rajeev doesn’t want to be in a relationship with Bahenji. Why do that and lose credibility points with his bunch of friends?

These are the same friends who rib him about the possibility that Bahenji might sleep with him. The sexually repressed Rajeev then sets about declaring his love for her hoping that in return, she will jump into bed with him. The thrilled Bahenji is ecstatic with happiness. “He loves me! He loves me! He really loves me!” So, Rajeev and his strange bunch of friends have a party in the middle of nowhere where they hope to get a bit of action from their girlfriends. Bahenji is oblivious to the real motive for the party and she goes along like an overexcited dork from Mars. Tears of laughter soon turn to tears of sadness when Rajeev tries to rape Bahenji. This causes a tamasha right in front of Rajeev’s friends. Their reaction is very confusing at this point. They were the ones who were encouraging Rajeev to sleep with Bahenji and when he tries to do just that, they look down on him. Talk about lack of character continuity! They stand there and start acting as if they are guardians of morality. This truly is a bunch of morons.

These same morons act completely different in the second half of this so-called film. All of a sudden, they start acquiring a conscience. No longer is Payal “Bahenji”. Rajeev is the enemy number one. They try to make him understand that Payal is his true love. They also try to excuse Rajeev’s behaviour as being caused by the influence of alcohol. Excuse me but since when was he drunk? He seemed perfectly sober when he was trying to rape Payal. Payal forgives Rajeev anyway and even says, “I’m sorry” to him in front of everyone. God knows what planet she lives on.

Out of Plasticville, comes a new girl called Alisha (Shenaz Treasurywalla). Unlike Payal, her clothes cover only 20 percent of her body. Obviously, this gets all the hearts going dhak-dhak in the college. “Ooh, look at me, I am Marilyn Monroe!” She squeaks while fluttering her eyes and pouting her huge operated-on lips. She quickly hooks up with Rajeev and Payal goes running home crying like a baby. “Waaaah! Nobody loves me! Waaaah!” Alisha becomes suspicious when it seems like Rajeev is paying too much attention to Payal. When she finds out that both of them were previously an item, she is furious. Alisha screams at Payal: “Tum kya samajhti ho? Andhi hoon? Dekh nahin sakti? (You think that I am blind? I can’t see anything?)” With those extra-long eyelashes, I am surprised that Alisha can actually see anything. She flutters her mile-long eyelashes far too much for her own good. Maybe she secretly wears contact lenses that irritate her eyes. I bet the director edited out a few frames from this scene where Alisha reaches out her hand to feel Payal’s face and says: “This IS Payal that I am talking to, isn’t it?”. So, Rajeev is torn between two girls and must decide who he is in love with. Payal, Alisha or himself.

Shahid’s mannerisms remind me a lot of Shah Rukh Khan especially in the comedy scenes. They both share that same awkwardness and nervous giggle that they adopt when carrying out a comedy routine. Shahid also looks like Shah Rukh from a distance. The similarities end there. Whether Shahid will have as much staying power as the superstar is debatable. It is hard to tell in the first film. Things only become clearer when new actors appear in their second film. For example, when I saw Tusshar Kapoor in “Kyaa Dil Ne Kaha”, I was persuaded that this actor is awful (whereas I could not make my mind up when I saw him in “Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai”). To give Shahid credit, he shows sincerity in some scenes. Shenaz is okay in her short role but unless she takes some acting classes, her career in Bollywood will not last for very long. Now, let me get onto the real surprise package of  “Ishq Vishk”… Amrita! She is cute, spunky and spontaneous. Her character is illogical but she makes sure we care for her with the sensitive way she handles her emotional scenes. Let’s see more of her in the future!

Now, the movie. The problem is actually the screenplay. There are some holes that can make the road very bumpy for the viewer. It is hard to understand why Payal can always be so forgiving towards Rajeev. Her character is like a doormat. Similarly, Rajeev’s character also tends to grate on the nerves. He comes across as being very shallow and selfish. Besides that, the plot is very thin. Bollywood directors, can we please have less of these thinly plotted movies? If you want to make entertaining fluff, at least present an intriguing plot. The story of Mansoor Khan’s “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar” is similar but it also had the cycle race and college rivalry as interesting subplots. The love triangle in “Ishq Vishk” is very predictable and light (it is padded out into three hours by letting Rajeev’s annoying and uninteresting college friends share the spotlight). Ghosh must have realized this, which is why he works so hard to at least make the movie watchable to a certain extent. His direction is flashy and trendy. He does have talent, guys, but it would be nice to see him utilize his directing talent in a film with a more compelling screenplay. Aside from Amrita Rao, the major part of the rating has to go to the song picturizations. They are incredibly fun to watch and that is due to Ahmed Khan’s imaginative choreography.

Overall, “Ishq Vishk” is a hit and miss affair.

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