Issaq (2013) – Romeo Must Die

600full-issaq-posterRomeo must die! Unfortunately, he must; so must Juliet. They ought to die. Artists, storytellers, dramatists, and filmmakers need to paint a new picture of these two immortal lovers, and perform an after death ritual. The souls of these lovers are lost in the oblivion of space, and it must to be human duty to free them from the bondage of pain and perpetual suffering. Please let Romeo and Juliet free, so that their love could dance into eternity and cease haunting the souls of ordinary human beings. Dear Romeo, with all reverence, thee hath die for the greater good of literature, drama, and films. The question; however, how does one kill the already dead?

The beautiful Juliet, with all love, devotion, and affection, thy must cease in remaining so naïve, clean, divine—almost a deity of the 15th century. Dear Juliet, this hath not qualities of the 15th century—for today, souls standeth in thy presence of the 21st century, where love shan’t save thou, only thy wisdom shall. The evolution of the character of Romeo has been historic, as he has transformed from a smooth lover to a smooth criminal—almost a badass of the modern era, yet poor Juliet, she remains stuck in Shakespearean fantasy and behaves like a Princess from the 15th century—clean and pure at heart, but surrounded by hordes of gruesome companions. She is almost awaiting that passionate love, her Soulmate, her Romeo—even today! Seeing this condition of Juliet, why, oh why Juliet, art thine eyes so pure like melting horizon? Why, Juliet, art thou so unreal that no other girl in this planet resembles thee Goddess incarnate from Heavens and beyond? Much ado, for nothing…

Together, let’s pledge—that they cross, leap over the River of Taraka and reach their destination, their salvation, even if many of today’s gems do not allow them to take that leap into darkness, into a new life. Let us pray that the souls of Romeo and Juliet attain His Excellency, and only their memories serve as gospel of drama and not terrors of screenings. Not from now, hereon. Let us pledge…


Almost done with my mumblings; I apologize. My friend, Pragyan, offered me this once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the spectacle from Manish Tiwary, a love story, with the exotic background of Varanasi, amidst a bitter rivalry between two families. The Prince of the Streets, Rahul Mishra (Prateik Babbar) and the Princess of the Castle, Bacchi Kashyap (Amyra Dastur) meet in a colorful blizzard and instantly fall in love. In fact, our suh-pesal Kanya Kumari (translation: virgin) is so desperate for love that when a stranger comes into her house and smooches her, she congratulates him on this, once in a lifetime, opportunity. How sweet! But this is Banaras wala love (Varanasi-esque love), so it’s all fair in love and war. Henceforth, we witness more LOBEZ between the two, but there isn’t any love—as the sequences between them and most of the characters are rather comedic than poetic. It’s. A. Big. Deal.

In this two way rivalry between the Mishra and Kashyap families, there is third caucus intent in making Varanasi red. The Naxalites, the so called fighters on the ideals of Marxist and Maoist principles, find their way into the mix. One of my friends once talked about an incident of a movie that seemed to have ten Assistant Directors, and each AD kept on inquiring with the Director about his or her responsibilities and tasks. The irate Director would yell at them and order them to find something and leave him alone. In this case, the Naxal leader (Prashant Narayanan) seemed confused as to what his role really was and kept on popping in the middle—almost probing the audiences on what he was supposed to do. The most ironic part, whenever the Director and the Screenwriter ran out of ideas: enter our Mr. Naxal to give us and the pan chewing walas—a red salute!

After watching Issaq, one has to wonder why India hasn’t won an Olympic Gold Medal in Long Jump, High Jump, or even 400 meters. Our hero here, Mr. Romeo aka Rahul jumped from one building to another and another to another like a monkey would springboard from one place to the other. In fact, a monkey would be humbled by this man’s sheer athletic grace. His gymnastics abilities including shooting as well as target skills and running prowess would definitely earn him fame worldwide as not only a lover but a Superman, He Man, and Spider Man—all put together in one. The participants in Rio de Janeiro 2016 are now no longer safe from this man, myth, Legend. Enough…

Coming to the genre of the movie, the trouble begins here. Established as a romantic movie with strong political conflict, Issaq moves slowly from a social, crime-based drama to a standup comedy—with more slapstick sequences and over the top accents that slowly moves into becoming a parody of regionalism, and eventually into an espionage movie, with dashes of melodrama to top it up. Director Tiwary is hardly certain of his vision and what he intended to achieve through the movie. The movie is all over the place akin to a work of an amateur and in an attempt to squeeze every bit of filmmaking knowhow into the movie; Issaq turns out to be a substandard movie, without any emotional quotient, storytelling consistency, and technical authenticity. Quite frankly, the movie is a mockery of the intelligence of cinema goers and fans of cinema.


With a story that seemed to have been written in a day, to the lack of characterization and genuine conflict, and the serious flaws in the inconsistency of the mood and tone of the movie, whilst the theme being all over the place, Issaq is one dire effort, and the viewers would be wise to watch this movie selectively. For the filmmaking enthusiasts, this is a must watch movie for the various invaluable lessons one would learn from it. For film analysts and historians, Issaq would serve as a wonderful reminder that technology and knowledge are mere tools and nothing more, while for fans of cinema, it teaches the wonderful life lesson: little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

One would hope that Issaq had some little bit of issaq, after all.


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