The scourge of dowry deaths is a reality in our society, and so is the misuse of 498A. Is one the reason behind the other and vice versa?
There are spoilers ahead, so you’re requested to come back to this article after watching the film. Thanks in case you’re proceeding.
Before you get confused, let me tell you that Daawat-e-Ishq is not a ‘serious’ film where social paradoxes are killing people. It’s a light-hearted take weaved around the consistent demand of dowry from the groom’s side in India, and how an educated girl counters it with her wickedly twisted understanding of Section 498 A. For the uninitiated, Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code is a legal arrangement to save women from any sort of harassments. However, every now and then, media reports point toward the possible misuse of this provision.
So, Gulrez Qadir (Parineeti Chopra) is a dreamy-eyed girl in Hyderabad who wants to make it big in footwear designing business. Her father (Anupam Kher) is a government employee, who once wanted to become a lawyer. Gulrez aka Gullu keeps meeting boys from different background and weird accents only to realise that her marriage is not possible without paying a hefty sum in dowry.
Then one day, she meets Amjad (Karan Wahi), a vegetarian guy in the land of biriyani. Once again, dowry plays the spoilsport and Gullu decides to seek her revenge from an emotionless society. Her anger brings her to Lucknow where she meets Tariq Haider (Aditya Roy Kapoor), a happy-go-lucky restaurant owner. But, will Gulrez be able to overlook the simplicity and generosity of Tariq in order to fulfill her aspirations?
The screenplay of DEI follows the traditional Mumbaiyya path, which means it’s linear and classic in nature. The first twist of the story takes place at 20 minutes into the film, while the second happens at 20 minutes before the climax. But, DEI is not just about following the set pattern. It’s refreshing in many aspects.
First of all, it dares to take on a subject like 498A. Second, it has a male lead who represents the urban youth in a better way than most of the Bollywood ‘macho’ flicks. Third, it maintains the essence of small cities. Fourth, it celebrates the food culture of Hyderabad and Lucknow, something that is uniquely similar in both sides of the Vindhyas.
Within 15 minutes, the basic premise of the film unfolds, and you automatically start searching for the conflict line, but here comes the first problem. The setting of conflict has not been given ample time and it feels that the director was eager to take Parineeti to Lucknow.
However, there are things which complement for it. One of them is witty dialogue writing. Yes, the North Indian audience, who are grown up on a staple diet of Mehmood’s Hyderabadi Hindi, have all the rights to imagine them saying ‘nakko’, ‘baataan’ and ‘jahej’, but they will be surprised to hear the characters in DEI, because they don’t go overboard with their ‘ahaan’ at the end of each sentence.
During a scene, Gulrez scolds Amjad for being coward and says, "Bloody vegetarian". Similarly, Anupam Kher butts in during an intense scheming session with "Kanoon hai nail-polish nahi ki jab chaha use kar liya." It’s not dialogue-baazi by any standard, but it creates the necessary tension.
Now, when we are talking of tension in the story, one has to admit that it’s not as clearly visible as it should be in some complex scenes, especially the climax. Things get sorted out too easily. This doesn’t hamper the flow of the story much, but a bit of tweaking would have made it even more enjoyable.
The philosophy behind the theme is simple that love conquers evil, but some may not like the representation of 498A.
Performances make DEI a fun watch. Aditya Roy Kapoor will surprise you with his easy manners and understanding of script. He is good, probably the best of the lot. It’s high time when filmmakers stopped offering him the roles of a self destructing drunkard. I don’t know who the first choice was for the film, but Parineeti is absolutely fit for such a role. Yes, it’s in continuation of her earlier roles, but she has done a fabulous job. Anupam Kher has taken a cue from his Khosla Ka Ghosla character and does what the director expected him to do.
Habib Faisal has maintained some common threads throughout the film. For example, he showcases the same kind of cuisines at both the places, Hyderabad and Lucknow. He focuses on autos with slogans like ‘bye bye’, ‘thank you’ and ‘talash’. His handling of Karan Wahi’s character is also interesting. Wahi plays a docile guy who wants someone to fund his MBA in America. He works in a call centre and speaks with American accent. He doesn’t stand up for the right thing but is not a bad guy. This shows Faisal’s understanding of today’s youth.
In short, Daawat-e-ishq is not a film to miss this weekend. For me, Aditya Roy Kapoor is the show-stealer in DEI. A delicious watch.