Dedh Ishqiya Critics Reviews

dedhishqiyaDedh Ishqiya Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

It’s a well-established trend to have a franchise or a sequel as a meritorious follow up to a triumphant prequel. The year 2013 ended on a high, with the third installment of the lucrative DHOOM franchise rewriting the record books. Now, in the second week of 2014, a sequel to the immensely likable ISHQIYA [2010] is out to woo the spectators — DEDH ISHQIYA. But unlike most franchises/sequels, which have an urban backdrop, DEDH ISHQIYA, much like its predecessor, is set in the hinterland, has an unassuming, homespun feel and an old-world charm to it. But let me make one thing clear: Cosmetically, the two films may be in the same space, but the stories are in sharp contrast to one another.

Abhishek Chaubey created an out of the ordinary world in his directorial debut ISHQIYA. The tale of a love-lorn and ruthless woman Krishna [portrayed by Vidya Balan], who uses Khalujaan and Babban to settle scores, caught the attention of cineastes for varied reasons. Besides a differing plot and an enthralling screenplay, that film had wit, conspiracy and romance that was so unconventional and individualistic on the Hindi screen then. DEDH ISHQIYA continues the escapades of Khalujaan and Babban, but the duo has the extremely desirable, sophisticated, but a secretive woman [Begum Para] and her confidant [Muniya] for company. In addition, while the first part was a love triangle, with both Khalujaan and Babban falling in love with Krishna, DEDH ISHQIYA has two love stories running concurrently.

ISHQIYA was sharp, spicy and volatile, with impulsive characters and a storyline taking a somersault every few minutes. DEDH ISHQIYA is no different. It transports you to a diverse world, but like the first part, this one focuses on love and deceit as well. Also, it’s far more complex this time around… and the truth hits you like a ton of bricks!

Begum Para [Madhuri Dixit-Nene] of Mahmudabad is hosting a festival of poetry and music in her mansion. The country’s best poets are in town. Khalujaan [Naseeruddin Shah], posing as the Nawab of Chandpur, is participating as a poet in the festival. He is not there merely to show off his poetic wares, but to impress the widowed Begum who, as the grapevine suggests, is scouting for a husband — preferably a poet.

Babban [Arshad Warsi] arrives in Mahmudabad to take Khalujaan back to their old life, but his plans alter the moment he sets his eyes on Begum’s maid and confidant Muniya [Huma Qureshi], a brash and sexy young woman. Muniya too has plans of her own. She leaves the palace every now and then in a disguise to meet gangsters in dark alleys. The palace is rife with intrigue…

Unlike the promos of the first part, which communicated quite a bit about the film, the promos of DEDH ISHQIYA maintain the element of mystery around the characters and its plot. Sure, one is familiar with Khalujaan and Babban, but the new characters that Abhishek Chaubey introduces us to in DEDH ISHQIYA — Begum Para and Muniya specifically — are shrouded in secrecy/ambiguity. While ISHQIYA was earthy and rustic, one gets to witness an alternate universe in DEDH ISHQIYA. There’s a lot of poetry, music and color this time around. At the same time, there are layers to the story that baffle you. Garnished with chaste Urdu and peppered with unconventional humor and simmering sexuality, the characters indulge in a treacherous game yet again. This time, it’s even more dicey and perilous.

Abhishek Chaubey deserves colossal admiration for taking the story forward by retaining some characters and adding several new ones. The screenplay is capricious and unpredictable, imparting a flavor that’s distinct and one you most certainly haven’t experienced heretofore. Also, a section of the audience may find the chaste Urdu a tad strenuous to comprehend [although the sub-titles make it quite effortless to decipher], but come on, when you have a film based in Punjab or a South Indian state, the essence of that sector has to come to the forefront, right?

The music [Vishal Bhardwaj] is a sore point and one misses winsome tracks like ‘Dil To Bachcha Hain Ji’ and ‘Ibne Batuta’ from ISHQIYA. This film deserved an entrancing score, also because the emphasis is on poetry this time. Dialogue, also penned by Vishal Bhardwaj, are the mainstay and the backbone of the enterprise. The lines are loaded with wit and the usage of Urdu is prudently juxtaposed in several sequences. The DoP captures the old-world charm wonderfully well and the visuals are absolutely stunning.

Expectedly, Naseeruddin Shah is supremely efficient as Khalujaan. Getting into the skin of the character, the actor gives it all to the film, delivering a performance that’s sure to be recalled amongst his premium works. Matching Naseer is Madhuri Dixit-Nene, a powerhouse of talent. Cast in an unconventional role, it’s a colossal leap for the actress who has several power-packed performances in her repertoire. She also deserves kudos for opting for an unconventional, avant-garde character, which will only win her tremendous admiration and honour in times to come. Arshad Warsi is in terrific form yet again. The actor, a spontaneous performer, wows you with his brilliant act. In fact, Naseer and Arshad are a delight to watch in several sequences, with both complimenting each other from commencement to conclusion. Huma Qureshi is fantastic and if one were to say so, catches you with complete surprise. Her sequences with Naseer, Madhuri and Arshad reiterate that she can stand on her feet, despite being pitted against top notch actors. Yet another performance that stays with you is that of Vijay Raaz. One of the finest talents around, I am sure, DEDH ISHQIYA will make the film fraternity realize that you cannot ignore him for long.

Salman Shahid is top notch in a cameo. Ravi Gosain does a decent job. Manoj Pahwa registers a solid impact.

On the whole, DEDH ISHQIYA is a worthy follow up to the widely admired ISHQIYA. Powerful writing, superb direction and outstanding performances make DEDH ISHQIYA a must watch. Just don’t miss it!

Rating: 4 Stars


  1. 8 years ago

    Isne D3 ko kitne stars diye the ?? oh yaad aaya ra 1 ko bhi 4 stars the !!!

  2. Author
    aryan 8 years ago

    Dedh Ishqiya Movie Review by Saibal Chatterjee/NDTV


    For a Hindi movie critic subjected to cinematic trash week after week, the unenviable job is often an onerous chore.

    Rare is a Bollywood release that one genuinely looks forward to. Dedh Ishqiya, for sure, is one such atypical film, and certainly not for its capricious title alone.

    On account of several other worthy reasons, not the least of which is the presence in the cast of the still-incandescent Madhuri Dixit, it has got to be one of this year’s most anticipated releases. Dedh Ishqiya measures up on most counts.

    Co-writer and director Abhishek Chaubey delivers a delightfully droll thriller set in an upcountry feudal milieu where adorable rogues and unfettered tricksters have a field day.

    In fact,Dedh Ishqiya is in many respects appreciably more enthralling than Ishqiya.

    Thematically, the follow-up casts its net far wider and comes up with striking insights into the flaws and foibles of people who haven’t lost their flair for the flashy despite their lives having hitting the skids.

    The screenplay is laced with acidic wit, the comic touches are subtly sly, and the on-screen performances are marvellously modulated.

    Dedh Ishqiya entertains, but does so in a manner that does not trifle with the intelligence of the audience.

    In other words, here is an exceptional film that does not have to negotiate the kind of facile crowd-pleasing narrative formulations that most Bollywood flicks must necessarily wade through in order to get to the Rs 200-crore mark.

    Dedh Ishqiya might not get there, but it is a triumph of measured craftsmanship and storytelling finesse.

    Shored up by producer Vishal Bhardwaj’s razor-sharp dialogues and unusual musical score, Dedh Ishqiya looks, sounds and feels like nothing that the Mumbai movie industry has produced in a while.

    It is more an Urdu film than a Hindi one, with a majority of the characters speaking lines in a language and with the kind of mellifluence that have gone out of Mumbai cinema.

    Much of the credit for the look and texture of the film must obviously go to both cinematographer Setu and the production designer duo of Subrata Chakrabarty and Amit Ray.

    Working primarily with natural sources of light, Setu composes some truly remarkable images whose glow lingers long after they have played themselves out.

    The quality of the writing and the sharpness of the editing (A Sreekar Prasad), too, deserve an equally large measure of praise. Each neatly constructed sequence leads into the next flawlessly and without leaving any creases behind.

    So, despite its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, Dedh Ishqiya does not ever appear to flag.
    Small-time thieves Khalujaan Iftikhar Hussain (Naseeruddin Shah) and Babban (Arshad Warsi) con a jewellery store owner and flee with an expensive necklace.

    In flight, Khalu and Babban are separated. The latter ends up in a pit, with local strongman Mushtaq (Salman Shahid) and his men all but ready to bump him off.

    But Babban talks his way out of trouble and goes in search of Khalujaan, who, the younger man has reason to believe, has pulled a fast one on him.

    The latter, now in the guise of a poetry-spouting nawab, walks into the swayamvar of the widowed Begum Para, the ruler of Mahmudabad (Madhuri Dixit).

    The lady has decided to remarry the best versifier in town and everyone is out to make an impression on her.

    Even bigger trouble brews for Khalu and Babban as a smarmy politician, Jaan Mohammad (Vijay Raaz), throws his hat in the ring.

    He goes to the extent of abducting a poet named Nur Mohammad Italvi (his nom de plume is derived from his Italian mom) so that he has a steady supply of lines to electrify the Begum with.

    But in Mahmudabad, nothing is what it seems, and the Begum and her lady-in-waiting Munira (Huma Qureshi) have a few tricks up their pretty sleeves.

    Dedh Ishqiya is filled with many delights: the repeated banter between Khalu and Babban, Khalu’s efforts to woo the Begum and bring her out of her self-imposed exile from dance, Babban’s typically brazen attempts to win Munira over, and of course the dangerous cat-and-mouse game that they all play with the unrelenting Jaan Mohammad.

    All of this works wonderfully well because the acting is of a consistently high order. The two spirited women in this male-dominated landscape play second fiddle to none and get their own back with ease.

    If it is difficult to take one’s eyes off the screen when Madhuri is on it, it is no less a joy to watch Huma Qureshi effortlessly matching strides with the veteran, move for move.
    Naseeruddin Shah captures the essence of the worldly wise Khalujaan with the kind of acuity that only an actor of his proven calibre could have.

    Arshad Warsi, as always, is a livewire who injects full-on fizz into the proceedings without breaking into a sweat.

    The director also extracts outstanding performances from the supporting cast.

    Vijay Raaz as the villain who is loath to take no for an answer, Manoj Pahwa as the poet in captivity who never tires of flaunting his Italian origins and Salman Shahid as the eccentric gang lord are first-rate.

    Notwithstanding the title, there are no half measures in Dedh Ishqiya.

    From dilkashi to junoon, the start and end point respectively of Khalujaan’s take on the seven stages of love, the film has them both and everything in between and beyond.

    Dedh Ishqiya is a must watch.

    Rating: 4 Stars.

  3. 8 years ago

    All the critics are giving good rating to this movie (never believed Adarsh Taran). Till now minimum 3.5 stars. I am not reading any (only looking at rating) as I intend to see this movie on Sat. and hope it must be a good movie.

  4. sputnik 8 years ago

    Dedh Ishqiya Review by Raja Sen

    Public recitation is as fine an art as poetry itself, and — like in a magic trick — so much depends on the reveal, on teasing the audience into expecting a certain completion to the thought, a certain rhyme, and then to deny them that (but with a flourish.)

    It is this taunting of the listener that makes shayri so special, the wizards of Urdu repeating their half-lines over and over, forcing those present to fork over applause even before the punch line.

    And when that final line falls into place just right, surprisingly and cleverly, the abracadabra moment is one of rapture.

    Abhishek Chaubey’s Dedh Ishqiya, true to its fractional title, lives for those half-lines, teasing and wheedling and coaxing its audience so that we fall in love even before the charms of the final act are upon us.

    Calling a film “One and a half” instead of “Two” could signal varied intent — including tributes to Federico Fellini and/or the Naked Gun franchise — but I’d like to believe Chaubey’s superb sophomore effort shies away from the obvious name because it’d rather be called an equal than a sequel.

    Rarely is a Hindi film as mischievously besotted with wordplay, but one look at Chaubey’s co-conspirators confirms that no syllable has been picked accidentally. In this sleight-of-hand tale where gangsters point with iambic-meter before pointing with guns, Chaubey has master wordsmiths Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar alongside him, making for a script that balances words as deftly — and, crucially, with as much nervous energy — as a knife-juggler with a case of the hiccups.

    It’s a marvel.

    (It’s also a marvel we may not have been able to understand. Most of us, even those who drop stray Urdu words into conversation, could scarcely navigate the many nuances on offer without the sharp subtitling job. Having the lines present in spirited (and non-literal) translations helps enormously, and it’s a very wise decision to keep the subtitles around even for us Hindi-speaking philistines.)

    Set in the fictional town of Mahmudabad, the film sees returning anti-heroes Babban and his dear Khalujaan Iftekhaar back and, as ever, on the run.

    The two ignoble opportunists are, in a way, like a very amoral Asterix and Obelix: one shrewdly has his eye on the prize while the other frequently squanders his menhirs in the name of love. Questing thus for inaam and inamorata, the leads — played by Arshad Warsi and Naseeruddin Shah — wade through increasingly muddy waters.

    Yet is it fair to call these lovable oafs the leads? For this is the tale also of an enchantress, a bonafide beauty whose gorgeousness and fortune brings forth many a suitor from across the land, poetry-lined notebooks in hand.

    Because, you see, this winsome widow wants to be charmed by couplets, swept away by sentences, ribbed by rhyme. And thus we have a swayamvara where instead of bows and arrows — as her sassy handmaiden explains — a line must be tossed into the air and a challenger must shoot it down with a lyric. The one and only Madhuri Dixit is the suitably unattainable lady in question, with Huma Qureshi as her first mate, so to speak.

    Speaking of challengers, however, Dedh Ishqiya may perhaps be the story not of the first-billed impostors or either woman, but of the yearning lover who kidnaps poets to furnish his chance at romance.

    A slaphappy politician who is a bully, one suspects, because brooding isn’t considered macho enough. A plum role played masterfully by the scene-stealing Vijay Raaz, this gent too is part of the mix, then, putting the ‘verse’ in ‘adversary.’

    Voila, what an ensemble.

    Unlike the first Ishqiya which was — even to those like me who loved it — at best a glorious mess, the plot this time, while rollicking enough, is fiendishly simple. The focus, instead, is on the characters.

    And, as mentioned, on what exactly they say.

    A fair bit of the film admittedly takes its time staring at Madhuri, and this is no complaint for the legend gleams brighter than we’re used to seeing in our movies nowadays.

    She’s old-world, breathtaking and so utterly graceful it’s like someone draped a saree around a Rolls Royce. Her performance — one that demands small, precise shifts in tone instead of showy histrionics — is pitched perfectly. And it’s a privilege to see her dance the classics.

    The actors are uniformly smashing.

    Naseeruddin Shah is great, wistful and dreamy and unashamedly wicked, chewing luxuriantly on the dialogues as if they came wrapped in betel-leaf.

    Arshad Warsi has always been instantly loveable, but he equips his character with a flammable fury that makes him very compelling indeed. Huma Qureshi uses her fiercely intelligent eyes to great effect as she keeps things unpredictable, while Manoj Pahwa and Salman Shahid make themselves impressively indispensable with mere scraps of screen-time.

    And then there’s Vijay Raaz. Too often do we Hindi cinema audiences unfairly sideline villains and comedians, but here is a gem of a part, a truly meaty role — the kind of character that, in a Hollywood film, would have been played by Christian Bale or Javier Bardem — and Raaz sinks his teeth into it magnificently.

    A lanky man given a leonine mane, Raaz here looks disconcertingly like the director himself, and it may even be this doppelgangering that sees his character so well-etched.

    He performs with an all-knowing weariness so masterfully that he emerges not just a memorable villain, but, like the most memorable villains of all, impossible to root against.

    This is a rare joy.

    It’s a genuinely smart film. It’s beautifully, lovingly shot.

    The music aids the narrative instead of distractingly taking it hostage. It’s the most quotable Hindi movie in years.

    It’s a sequel that leaves even a highly original first-part far behind.

    And, for a film so accessible, it’s armed with the most cunning, most delicious twist. It’s terrific — and a half.

    Dedhriffic, then.

    Rediff Rating: 5


  5. sanket porwal 8 years ago

    My review of Dedh Isqhiya:

    Cast: Arshad Warsi, Vijay Raaz, Naseeruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Huma Qureshi.

    Director: Abhishek Chaubey

    Its said that good films gives you a high, just like alcohol. And I second it. When I saw “Ishqiya” I was thoroughly entertained and satisfied with what it offered. Now comes the next installment “Dedh Ishqiya” that is equally thrilling, funny and engaging film. A story about two lovable thieves who falls for women and puts themselves in trouble. Now this one line story may sound common and quite boring, but here’s the curveball that the writers throw with an adequate script packed with sharp-pointed twists, lasting whacky humor and some delicious romance. Also “Dedh Ishqiya” wouldn’t have emerged a winner had it not been for tremendous and inevitable effort put in to establish the characters.

    The film has thick screenplay which joints all the dots one by one. The film’s basic and vital premise is kept under the covers until the last half hour where all the answers are solved. Not too much of brain-work is required, but yes, one needs to be attentive in the film to get into where really the film is heading.

    The film is high on zany humor that takes you for a ride. They are rib-roaring and witty. The one-liners particularly gives you some stomach-ache and asks you for claptraps. The first half, although bit complex, draws your attention to its story. The new characters in particularly are very effortlessly gathers on screen. So you have a princess-like looking Madhuri Dixit who is served with a helping hand in gorgeous Huma Qureshi. And then you have merciless goon in Vijay Raaz who is trying his hands to learn poems to woo the Begum. The movie nicely stealth into a zone where you’re caught oblivious about the proceedings. The director’s victory is in terrifically sketching the scenes, like the intermission point where we see Arshad-Naseeruddin planning a mysterious robbery.

    The film somewhere loses its sheen to over-cooked drowning romance between Naseeruddin and Madhuri Dixit. The moments between them somewhere gives the superficiality vibe and such thin plots does injects uneasiness. Also the upturn in Manoj Pahwa’s character comes across abruptly, lacking the conviction. Yet, the film immerses itself again in its notorious type of setting in last 30 minutes where all the cards of the pack are disclosed one after the other.

    The film falters when it comes to music and it does bring the film a notch down. However, the writing is amazing and throws a lot of twists that woos you. Also the inflammatory romance between Arshad and Huma reminds you of that beautiful romantic part of “Ishqiya” between Arshad and Vidya Balan.

    The film belongs to each of them but especially Arshad Warsi who is so strikingly sincere in his efforts that you fall for him. Kudos! Naseerudin Shah plays the vulnerable, yet incorrigible ego-minded thief with lot of energy. He although wasn’t at ease when it came to romance. Madhuri Dixit has half-baked role but the actor invests a believable personality in her character who suddenly goes the other way around in the finale. Huma Qureshi surprises and how! She is efficient and confident and not even once comes across as an inexperienced actress who is working with actors who have been here for a long time. Vijay Raaz gets to do what he does best- a villain whose fun can be made of – a role quite reminiscent of what he played in “Delhi Belly”. Salman SHahid deserves special mention for the two-scene cameo he has- one at the start, other at the end. He made me roll on seat for those two hilarious moments.

    DEDH ISHQIYA is consistently toned thanks to an able director, terrific writing and excellence in performances. It has the laughs, it has the intensity, it has the suspense, it has the romance. Yes, the film does have the glitches too which comes glaring brightly. But few moments here and there could be spared, than DEDH ISHQIYA is a delicious little ride which you must not miss.

    Rating- 3.5/5

  6. sanket porwal 8 years ago

    My take on The WOlf of Wall Street:

    Watched The Wolf of Wall Street couple of days back. Found it pretty ordinary.

    The film is dragged to death. The humor, although doing the trick at places,is very forced. The slapstick brand of comedy took me by surprise.

    The dramatic scenes are very occasionally taut. Most of the scenes are destructed for their over-pulled length.

    The guy who played Denim is really good. He gave Leo a run for his money in couple of scenes. Leo is good. Loved him in the scene where he is convincing a client through voice call but simultaneously showing middle fingers and using “fuck you” as an expression of excitement. That scene is fantastic. But sadly, the film never really looks back much in the stock market in last 1.5 hrs. The first hour is very well narrated. But there on there is no story.


  7. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    Saw KRK review. Didnt know Vijay Raaz was in this. Anything for him – a must watch for me now.

  8. sputnik 8 years ago

    Dedh Ishqiya Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 4

    January 10, 2014

    Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Madhuri Dixit, Huma Qureshi, Vijay Raaz, Manoj Pahwa

    Director: Abhishek Chaubey

    Who can possibly resist the promise of another rollicking adventure with Khaluj and Babban? Writer-director Abhishek Chaubey and co-writer Vishal Bhardwaj have come up with two ingenuous, delightful con men, one uncle, the other nephew, one the brains, the other the brawn. Actors Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi have made these characters completely their own. Khalujaan and Babban aren’t Munna and Circuit, Veeru and Jai, Starsky and Hutch, or Tango and Cash. They’re small-time thieves with one gigantic flaw — their minds turn to mush when they fall in love.

    It’s this common thread that ran through 2010’s Ishqiya and also runs through its sequel, Dedh Ishqiya. But if the earlier film benefited from an element of surprise – astonishing the audience with saucy comedy, and unpredictable twists and turns – the new one invites you to settle into your seat to savor the delicious Urdu wordplay and the naughty lines, even as you wait for the rug to be pulled from under your feet.

    After a fairly lengthy but enjoyable prologue in which they’re separated during a jewelry store robbery, the plot of Dedh Ishqiya kicks in with Khalujaan and Babban still on the run from their boss. Khalujaan is the man with a plan. He’s come away to Mahmudabad, intending to win a nawabi swayamvar for the hand of the beautiful widow Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit), who has organized a shayari competition at her palace.

    The Begum is shadowed by her protective aide Muniya (Huma Qureishi), and Babban instantly falls in love — and lust – with this feisty girl. Khalujaan, who is himself smitten by the Begum, schemes with Babban to live off her inheritance once he wins her over. But to complicate affairs of the heart and estate, there’s the nouveau riche gangster Jaan Mohammed (Vijay Raaz), who’s desperate to buy some respectability by marrying the Begum and becoming a nawab.

    The film’s crackling humor, set to Bhardwaj’s terrific dialogues, is its biggest strength. From laugh-out-loud punch-lines to cheeky repartee, Dedh Ishqiya has some of the most inspired writing you’ve seen on screen recently. In one of the movie’s best scenes, a stand-off between two factions that has lasted all night is interrupted by the shrill notes of a school assembly singing Hum ko mann ki shakti dena. Touche!

    Gorgeously shot, crisply edited, and handsomely mounted, large portions of the film are evocative of a nawabi culture and lifestyle alas seldom seen in the movies now. As with Ishqiya, Bhardwaj’s lilting music adds character to the film, even without the presence of a ‘hit’ number like Dil toh bacha hai ji or Ibn batuta. Against this backdrop, Chaubey and his writers set up a story that packs in everything from a kidnapping plot and a love triangle to a violent shootout. But it’s a tad indulgent; no wonder the film feels stretched in parts, dragging where it should’ve moved briskly.

    It’s Naseeruddin Shah’s character that suffers from these lagging portions, coming off almost tired in some scenes, yet convincingly earnest in others. Once the plot thickens, Khalujaan’s chemistry with Babban is potent. Arshad is particularly brilliant, pulling off naïve and smooth with equal ease. Madhuri Dixit is heartfelt as the vulnerable, stunning widow, and yet, as you peel the layers, you have to applaud her sheer bravura. She’s offset by a fierce Huma, playing Muniya with such a sharp tongue and firecracker energy. The unforgettable performance is from Vijay Raaz, consummately comical as the blundering, loutish gangster.

    Dedh Ishqiya gives the UP badlands a light cloak of humor and, to the viewer – we’re happy to note – a bold reveal that is more suggested than emphasized. The twist in the tale is one you can spot from a mile away, but it’s nicely done. I’m going with four out of five for director Abhishek Chaubey’s Dedh Ishqiya. Like heady wine, it delivers a welcome kick.


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