Ask a filmmaker, “What is it that makes interesting ingredients for making an epic love story?” to which he’d say, “Literature, Shakespeare, a cute actor, a firangi look-alike actress, a Holy yet folly setting, love and pain, Romeo and Juliet!” And when he ends up with one, you’d say “Bingo!” But that’s such a big fallacy! Because not all the films that are based on epic romances like Romeo & Juliet end up being lauded by the audience and this film surely falls in that space.

Manish Tiwary whose debut film Dil Dosti etc. earned him a decent repute (although the film was a dud at Box Office) has made an attempt to try his hands in bringing forth a desi adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Romeo & Juliet with this second film Issaq. The story is set in the Holy city of Benaras also known as Varanasi where two high-flying families – Kashyaps’ and Mishras’- are at loggerheads. Both the families are involved in the sand mafia business which is also eyed by the Naxalites. The two families have young, tender hearts breathing under their roof namely Rahul Mishra and Bachi Kashyap. The Mishra boy sets his eye on the Kashyap girl and hence a love story commences. The guy chasing the girl in attempts to woo her and finally the girl falling for him. But as fate would have it, the two have to face family opposition and thence begins the lovers’ trials and tribulations. What’s interesting is Prateik Babbar who comes out as a Spider-man inspired lover, keeps jumping buildings to meet his lady love. Having read Shakespeare, one would surely understand the essence of the story. Or to put it in other words, the film is a classic romance picked up to its entirety, placed in the setting full of violence and crime and then presented to the audience. Rishta wahi soch nayi…



Coming to the technical aspects of the film, you’d surely find it clichéd. From the unwanted graphics used to reel Rahul’s fantasy world to the glitches visible on screen, the film shows technical faults. The camera work is not at all appealing as is the acting. Inspite of having polished actors from the theater and television industry like Makarand Deshpande, Ravi Kishan,Yuri Suri, Sudhir Pandey, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Neena Gupta and Prashant Narayanan, the film fails to live upto their talents. Although none of these actors falter in doing their job, it is the manner of character portrayal which litters the nitty-gritty. The newbies, however, should be lauded for their acting skills; be it Evelyn Sharma, Vineet Singh or Amit Sial, all have done their job with utmost honesty which is very evident on screen. In the surge of these magnanimous wave of disappointment, are the leads – Prateik Babbar and Amyra Dastur. Amyra who makes her debut with this film, refuses to leave behind her accent as she ravels in the role of a simple girl from Benaras. Her acting looks amateurish. Period. However, Prateik even after six films, hasn’t got into the skin of the actor. His UP accent and style is underdone. His attempt to be a rustic and rowdy lad is visible and to the audiences’ dismay his cuteness can also not conceal the flaws in the performance. Another glitch that is very prominent are the various emotions that fail to reach out to the audience. The love, pain, hurt doesn’t look one bit convincing. Only element that convinces the viewers is the violence while comedy also is a failed attempt.


The film touches sensitive issues like sand mafias and naxals but it fails to bring out the essence of these issues in totality. It leaves a void when portraying these issues but strikes a six while showing the openness of the criminals, naxals and the government being hand-in-glove with each other. Speaking of violence, you’d definitely feel like you’ve entered a real-life game of Counter Strike where the view-finder keeps finding the rivals and takes them down one-by-one.
The music of the film is not alluring. While the Holi song has got nothing to do with the festival of colors (but more to portray illicit relationship within Kashyap family), the other songs urge you to fast-forward them.
The film shall bring viewers a step closer to the desi-dining halls, rasois, wrestling akhadas and the likes but is not a first-rate depiction of Benaras.

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