Cast: Prateik, Amrya Dastur
Direction: Manish Tiwary
Genre: Romance
Duration: 2 hours 28 minutes

Story: A love story adapted from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, set against the backdrop of sand mafia, political power games and Naxalites in Banaras.

MOVIE REVIEW: Welcome to the holy city of Banaras – replete with ‘spesal’ paan, levitating smoked-up (on herbs) saadhus, Banarasi babus high on bhaang and others’ biwis on un-Holi celebrations. And amidst this colourful backdrop, an age-old feud simmers between two powerful families – The Mishras and the Kashyaps. Mishra son, Rahul (Prateik) – a romantic at heart, (chooses girls over guns); falling madly in love with Kashyap girl Bachchi (Amrya). One tight-chumma is all it takes to win her over (shortcut Romeo, haan?).

While the city bleeds with rivalry, enraged Naxals (led by Prashant Narayanan) and political powerplay – the starcrossed lovers defy all rules of bloody war and bravely take on the world. A band of characters add to this drama – Rahul’s gori ex-girl (Evelyn Sharma); Teeta (Ravi Kissen – best of the pack) as Bachchi’s vicious mamu; sadhu baba (Makarand Deshpande) high on crack; Mishra’s lusty doosri biwi (Rajeshwari Sachdev – impressive act), and Rahul’s homeboys (Amit Sial and Vineet Kumar Singh – lending strong support).

Prateik doesn’t quite fit the part of a Banarasi boy in this tangled love tragedy. His accent doesn’t blend in. He air-dives and leaps from terraces and ‘Spidermans’ his way across walls. His range of emotions remain untapped and inconsistent throughout. Debutante Amrya, as a demure damsel (while unabashedly declaring, ‘hum virgin hain’ – Holy Mother!), lacks the charisma for her part and ends up looking like a pretty bahu from a tele soap opera. Manish Tiwary’s ‘Issaq’ lacks vibe, soul or depth needed for a classic love story.

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With incoherent narrative, unsketched characters, wispy (sometimes embarrassing) dialogues, one good melody in the whole ditty (Issaq tera); pointless shooting (mostly in the dark), gold-plated bandooks and bombs galore – Tiwary misses every target. There are movies beautifully adapted from Shakespeare’s works in the past, but none that tragically assault your creative, poetic or cinematic senses.

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