Verdict: A romantic-drama about a girl’s self-discovery.

Coming-of-age films have been all the rage these past few years. In keeping with the zeitgeist, many filmmakers have been meting out films with rebellious, brazen protagonists that choose to live life with abandon and refuse to compromise. Ishq Forever seems to have started off wanting to be that, but strays off in a whole new direction, only to take a detour from there. Is it about her? Is it about him? It certainly doesn’t seem to be about them. You are left guessing and wondering for most part, till you reach a point where it stops mattering, because (ahem), love has prevailed.

Ishq Forever ostensibly centers around Ria (Ruhi Singh), a life-loving, chirpy girl studying in South Africa. Ria’s father (Chetan Pandit), is an eminent politician with an impeccable reputation and no lying bone in his body (sure!). Rebellious as she is, she is also extremely sheltered. Her idea of independence being, living on her own, but of course, in a sprawling apartment, paid for by daddy. When daddy wins the general elections of India and goes on to become the Prime Minister, Ria is over the moon. Little does she know that with great power come great responsibilites. Now, under surveillance and surrounded by security forces 24/7, she starts feeling smothered and suffocated. In her bid to teach her parents a lesson for their refusal to let her travel alone, she decides to and also successfully manages to dodge and escape from a slew of RAW agents. At this point, the audience need to completely ignore the fact that an inordinate number of RAW agents have been deployed at Ria’s disposal, all the way in Muizenberg, South Africa and all of them put together have been unable to contain her.

With an unbridled lust for life and longing for experiences, Ria sets out to explore the unplumbed, to tread the untrodden, to take the road less traveled.While this is happening, few terrorists have been conspiring to abduct the Prime Minister’s daughter. Two utterly ludicrous henchmen of the Kingpin of this group of militants reach Muizenberg, to look for Ria. Their attempts to do so are foiled by a strapping lad, with intense eyes and the air of an angry young man, Aryan (Krishna Chaturvedi). He comes in like a knight on a super-bike and whisks Ria away to saftey. Like a deer caught in headlights, Ria trundles around with him in South Africa, while he ensures she doesn’t land in trouble, like a doting, vigilant chaperon. Naina (Lisa Ray) and Amitabh (Javed Jaffrey), the RAW agents on the mission to bring Ria back home to daddy, find a way to reconcile their differences, (spoiler alert) despite being ex-lovers. Needless to say, amid a cornucopia of plot twists, Ria and Aryan (Or Ranveer. Or Dilawar) also manage to find love, in a hopeless place.

Ruhi Singh inspires instant affection, with her portrayal of the gullible, slightly spoiled and emotional to the degree of delusional girl. It is impossible to tell if Krishna Chaturvedi is incapable of emoting, or if he is just doing a very good job, given the fact that his character is supposed to be brooding and brusque. But he looks great, so one cannot complain. Javed Jaffrey and Lisa Ray attempt to provide comic relief through their banter, but it ends up being annoying and forced. Many of the serious scenes seem downright farcical, but the climax more than makes up for the unwitting gaffes. Being supposedly shot in South Africa, there was a lot of scope for mesmerizing shots and scenic locations, but the film leaves you wondering if it was in fact South Africa, or just a set. The songs don’t really elicit much of anything, but a couple of them could make great party numbers.

Why You Should Watch This Movie:

Watch Ishq Forever to see a Bollywood adaptation of Chasing Liberty. Ruhi Singh’s naivete is cute and Krishna Chaturvedi looks dapper. The culmination, though not remarkable, doesn’t feel like a waste of time. Ishq Forever won’t make you fall in love, but it will certainly not make you fall out of it. Watch it to experience exceptional equanimity. 

— By Maitreyee Avachat