Arshad Warsi All The Way
By Joginder Tuteja, MovieTalkies.com, 11 January 2014
Ok, so let me come straight to the point. If not for Arshad Warsi, Dedh Ishqiya wouldn't have been half as reasonably interesting as it eventually turns out to be. Of course the film has been in news for many other factors, most notably it being a sequel, bringing back the camaraderie of Naseeruddin Shah-Arshad Warsi and of course Madhuri Dixit Nene. However, as the film starts progressing and reaches its interval point, you know for sure that if it all it would manage to stand well till the very end of its two and a half hour duration, it would be because of Arshad.
This is what turns out to be the case as the core plot of the film turns out to be barely average. For all the hype around Dedh Ishqiya being a twisted affair with a cunning curve to it, the truth is that you can actually see the entire story unfold in your mind 30 minutes into the film. Yes, whether it is the anticipated twist, the characters involved in it, the motivation behind it all and the ultimate finale - somehow everything becomes apparent way too easily and way too early. In fact there aren't many red herrings thrown either which means if at all you actually involve yourself into the plot, the whole start to finish is right there in front of your eye.
Now for a film which is a sequel to a much better Ishqiya, which didn't just have a much better humour quotient to it but also a strong suspense (and revelation) angle thrown in, Dedh Ishqiya turns out to be a tad ordinary outing. So what is it that still manages to pull the film through? Well, some funny dialogues, a few interesting sequences (mainly centred on humour) and most importantly Arshad Warsi. He is the man who enlivens the proceedings practically every time he comes on screen. In fact he makes such a good impact in the very opening scene followed by his many encounters with Naseeruddin Shah and Huma Qureshi that you root for him to be back sooner than later.
However what one gets to see for a good part of the film is the romantic rendezvous between Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit which, after a decent start, only ends up bringing lethargy into the narrative. The dance sequence featuring Madhuri, the interspersion that happens with the flashback (which just doesn't connect and even comes out of nowhere) and the lady's equation with Huma doesn't hold much water. It may appeal to those die-hard fans of the actress who has been around for quarter of a century but honestly, one has seen her in much stronger and well etched characterization.
If one thought that second half would be a major improvement over the first half then well, that too is just about manageable, especially due to the twist and the back story which is - as mentioned earlier - plain predictable. Thankfully, Arshad continues to perks up the scene, dialogues at places keeping the quirk going and another man making it all so worthy - Vijay Raaz. In one of the meatiest ever parts, he is just terrific and well under control. As a matter of fact, he could well have been placed in the film's posters as one of the five prime protagonists in there; his relevance to the plot as well as his performance is so much up there.
What one does remember eventually are some stand alone sequences that have a distinct touch to them, courtesy director Abhishek Chaubey. The deadlock that happens between Vijay Raaz's gang and Naseer-Arshad as they stay awake overnight instead of dropping guard, Arahad's constant leg pulling of Huma, every scene featuring Naseer-Arshad, constant narration of seven stages of love - there is good enough fun on the screen. Sadly, this is discounted by Naseer's extended lip synch song in the beginning, his never ending sequences with Madhuri, the whole separate episode that runs with Manoj Pahwa, especially latter's emergence in the end and the South cop who arrives out of nowhere.
These are the reasons why one man who comes out unscathed is Arshad Warsi. Watch it if his distinct quirk is what has brought smiles on your face in his many comic encounters.
Joginder Tuteja tweets@tutejajoginder