What is it all about?
Blame it on Vishal Bhardwaj.. his masterly adaptations of Shakespeare's Macbeth (Maqbool) and Othello (Omkara) made us believe that Indian cinema's desi larten (read torch) can shine to such a great high on videshi kerosene (read stories) and while doing so can still keep the angoor of Indian tandoor (read ethos) very likably tasty, spicy and hot enough to have more and more 'beedi jalaile' moment for all. But alas this peedi (read generation) of new filmmakers like Manish Tiwari who no doubt have the 'Dil Dosti Etc' with Vishal Bhardwaj cinematic theory and Shakesphere story. Unfortunately when given a chance they struggle to get any near lyrically, cinematically or artistically and make a tragedy like Issaq .. the screen adaptation Romeo and Juliet which is forced to suffer from a premature death on screen.
In Issaq the writers Pawan Sony, Padmaja Thakore and Manish Tiwary set Shakespeare's timeless classic Romeo and Juliet in Varanasi.
We have seen many such love sagas churned on similar lines in Bollywood YRF Ishaqzaade was on similar lines set on parts of western U.P.
Issaq is in Banaras and its neigbouring areas that are witness to violence unleashed by sand mafia controlled by two warring factions Mishras and Kashyaps plus a Mao factor thrown in.
Kashyap has an 18-year old, pretty daughter Bachchi (Amyra Dastur) from his first wife, while Rahul (Prateik) son of Mishra is a good-looking teenager with predictable interests of girls and guns.
Things change when Rahul and Bachchi fall in love. Disregarding the consequences, the young lovers choose to go ahead with the diktats of their hearts.
What to look out for
Technically it is in sync with its feel and the locations are captured well. Art directions is good. The essence of Banaras is there in the background.
Sachin Jigar do a good job with their music the title track is a winner.
Debutant Amyra is a pretty face. The supporting cast excels where Ravi Kishan is fabulous. Prashant Narayan is very good, Makrand Deshpande leaves a mark, Sudhir Pandey, Vineet Kumar Singh and Prashant Kumar along with Amit Sial and Rajeshwari Sachdeva are brilliant.
What a pity. Juliet (Amyra) looks pretty but the Romeo (Prateik) appears disinterested. Further Issaq writers just couldn't hold and lose control after introducing us to the leads. It goes on and on and on.
The movie misses on all fronts. It fails to approach the emotional resonance of Shakespeare's timeless classic which is immensely popular nor does it excites in its modern day setting in spite of inclusion of Maoist in this world of guns, gangs and love.
Manish Tiwary seems to be so determined to stimulate you and seduce you with the eye that the story of the star-crossed lovers gets lost completely in the melee.
Poor Manish Tiwary is in the danger of finding himself guilty of chocking Shakespeare's greatest romance for unwanted sensational and visual desires.
Conclusion: Isaaq is a disaster in every sense. Watch it if you want to see how a classic play like Romeo and Juliet gets thrown on the waters of Ganges in Banaras in this updated cinematic version.