Planet Bollywood
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Director: Habib Faisal
Starring: Aditya Roy Kapur, Parineeti Chopra
Music: Sajid-Wajid
Lyrics: Kausar Munir
Genre: Romantic
Film Released on: 19 September 2014
Reviewed by: Anish Mohanty  - Rating: 6.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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As a writer and director, Habib Faisal’s name has been associated with films which were realistic in nature and yet, catered to popular tastes. Most of these films were deeply rooted in Indian milieu and dealt with certain issues most of us are familiar with. His last two films as a director were based on two different subjects; while ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ depicted the aspirations of a middle class family, ‘Ishaqzaade’ was a love story of two individuals belonging to rival political families and following different religions. His latest venture ‘Daawat-e-Ishq’ is a slice-of-life film that deals with the issue of dowry.

Gulrez (Parineeti Chopra) lives with her father Abdul Qadir (Anupam Kher) in Hyderabad. Besides being a student, she works as a sales girl in a footwear store to help her father who works as a clerk in a court and receives a monthly salary of Rs. 30,000. Abdul wants Gulrez to get married and fixes up meetings with many suitors. Alas, all of them quote an exorbitant amount for dowry which Abdul is unable to pay. Gulrez, finally, finds love in Amjad (Karan Wahi), who turns out to be exactly the kind of person whom Gulrez would like to be married to. However, after a meeting with Amjad’s parents, Gulrez finds out he is no better than the other men she had met. Gulrez then decides to take charge of her life and hatches a plan. She decides to use Section 489A in the Indian Penal Code (one of the sections which criminalizes dowry) to her advantage. Gulrez and Abdul assume fake identities and go to Lucknow to find a guy who quotes a high amount for dowry and get married to him. She would then, file a case against him for harassment and run away with the money to America to study fashion designing.

Habib Faisal wanted to convey a message to the audience in an entertaining manner and in a very simple way. The writers (Habib Faisal and Jyoti Kapur) had a fantastic concept in hand which they could have taken to dizzying heights with their script. The film has its share of wonderful moments. However, the plot gets too simplistic at times. The romance between Gulrez and Amjad is half baked. The ease with which the father daughter duo carry out their plan comes across as extremely convenient and the audience may find it hard to digest. One understands that the makers wanted the film to have a very simplistic approach but there are many scenes which seem to be under developed where there was ample scope for some drama but surprisingly they just fizzed out. The climax, too, lacks punch.

Daawat-e-Ishq is not a bad film; it’s just not a very good film which it could have been. The biggest strength of the film is that, despite all its flaws, it is consistently watchable and exudes charm throughout. The film does not have a dull moment as such. Despite being a punishable offence, a lot of people, in various parts of the country, ask for dowry and even get away with it. It’s something that has plagued the society since long. Kudos to the makers for bringing out a film which deals with this issue and tries to convey a message to the audience in an entertaining manner. The message does come across but not with as much conviction as the makers would have envisioned.

Habib Faisal’s direction is good but is marred by a half baked script. The dialogues, as is the case with most of his films, are terrific and are the highlight of the film. The camerawork (Himman Dhamija) is very good. Varsha-Shilpa deserve a lot of praise for their costumes. The costumes, apart from the dialogues, add to the authenticity of the film. Sajid Wajid offer a couple of tuneful songs. The picturization of all the songs is good. The actions scenes (Sham Kaushal) are very realistic.

Parineeti Chopra adds another performance to her short but largely impressive resume of stupendous performances. She gets the Dakhni accent just right. However, she seems to be getting stereotyped in similar kind of roles. Barring ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’, in all her other films she played a bubbly, fierce and vivacious woman, with little variety. Hopefully, she picks up something different in the future. Anupam Kher as Abdul Qadri is very convincing.

Interestingly, his character reminds you of the character he played in ‘Special 26’. Aditya Roy Kapur comes across as too suave and sophisticated to play a character like Tariq. His performance is decent. Television actor Karan Wahi makes a huge impression in a small role. He has solid screen presence and acts very well. One looks forward to see him graduate to lead roles. The supporting cast is good.

Daawat-e-Ishq is a fair entertainer that may not warrant repeat viewing but is definitely worth a watch. The presence of a stronger script could have helped this well intended film cover a wider distance.

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