The first question which you are bound to ask yourself is why the title of the film is spelt this way. you go to the movie hoping to unravel the mystery of the name, but soon, you will be trying to keep track of so many plaots and subplots that the name becomes least of your worries.
Directed by Manish Tewary, Issaq is supposed to be an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet. The scene is set in Banaras where two warring families – the Mishras and the Kashyaps show their enmity towards each other by mindlessly shooting people and that too without any shred of law intervention. Several characters appear and disappear on the scene with their own agenda which you cannot unravel. A most uninspired romance flourishes between Rahul Mishra played by Prateik Babbar and Bachchi Kashyap played by the debutante Amyra Dastur. The absolute lack of chemistry between the lead actors do nothing for a film which is supposed to be centered on the star crossed lovers. Prateik jumps from buildings and dives into the river on the least provocation while Amyra is left talking about her virginity in the purest South Mumbai action in bell like voice though she pronounces ‘special’ as ‘suppecial’. She is unquestionably pretty, but her acting talent – if there are any – found no expression in this film. Prateik on the other hand, sailed through the film without bothering much with acting.
Issaq completely fails to capture the essence of Benaras. On the other hand, it also cannot do justice to the Bard’s great work. The result is an unappetizing mixture which drags on for more than two hours. Sequences like where Prateik meets Amyra and starts mooching within two minutes appear completely improbable while the herb smoking Makarand Deshpande appear to be high. The small town characters either appear ridiculous or clueless while a naxalite band of rebels lead by a Malayalam speaker who are suddenly dropped into the film seem completely without any context.
Adapting any script to the complex world of Benaras is a
difficult task and scriptwriters Pawan Sony and Padmaja Thakore-Tiwary have
evidently bitten off more than they could chew. All the action seem to be
happening without much rhyme and reason. Character actors like Rajeswari
Sacxhdev, Vineet Kumar Singh and Amit Seal have done good work within the short
time they were on the screen. Apart from these few moments, you can give Issaq a miss.