Dedh Ishqiya Movie Poster
Dedh Ishqiya Movie Poster

Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four Stars)

Star cast: Arshad Warsi, Naseeruddin Shah, Madhuri Dixit, Huma Qureshi, Vijay Raaz

Director: Abhishek Chaubey

What’s Good: The finely told story with a fiery screenplay and a consistent higher ranks of acting exhibited by each performer are the primary pluses. Amongst the secondary ones is the harmonious crooning, the crackling dialogues and most importantly Madhuri’s breathtaking dance moves.

What’s Bad: As critics there’s hardly ever a film we can call flawless; but it would be a crime to point out any in this one.

Loo break: None at all.

Watch or Not?: Despite the name, the film has nothing in half measures about it. It is a decadent masterpiece and a wholesome entertainer with streaks of romance, comedy, poetry and social commentary making it a fulfilling treat. Abhishek Chaubey topples the standards he set by his last film Ishqiya and delivers a more intricate and more pioneering work of outright genius. In myriad ways Dedh Ishqiya is notches higher than its predecessor and the most gluing factors in this one are its narrative and performances. If you can rise above the populist strains of cinema, Dedh Ishqiya reserves for you a deeply satisfying and enormously enjoyable film.

User Rating:

In the small princely state of Mahamudabad, the widow Begum Para (Madhuri Dixit) organizes the annual Mushaira every year in memory of her dead husband, the deceased Nawab of the region. The late Nawab’s last wish was that the Begum remarries a poet. Hopeful that finds a suitable man to replace the Nawab, she is looking for a man for herself. To her aide is her confidante Muniya (Huma Qureshi) who helps her choose between the sly Jaan Muhammad (Vijay Raaz) and the romantic Iftekhar (Nasseruddin Shah). Amidst all the love and war surrounding it, Babban (Arshad) is smitten by Muniya.

Where do these love stories head? Or it  will be another story of betrayal.

Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit in a still from Dedh Ishqiya
Naseeruddin Shah and Madhuri Dixit in a still from Dedh Ishqiya

Dedh Ishqiya Review: Script Analysis

What had worked the best for Ishqiya was its performances and the writing. The same remains the highlight point for Dedh Ishqiya as well. The film’s story is remarkably laced with confident wit and fantastic performances. The film rolls briskly from the word go and compared to the last editions, the breathers and glitches are fewer in number, much to the credit of its writers. The writers have done an excellent job in enmeshing all key ingredients of a great film and lucidly written this fast paced comic thriller. Dedh Ishqiya could easily mark the beginning of another nouvelle vague period in Indian cinema but then again that would be a delusional statement to make, understanding the limitations of commercial Bollywood films.

The film is stylishly written, entrapping the essential milieu of an old world charm, rustic, brutal and elegant. The story of Darab Farooqui has been well rendered by the brilliant cast to harbor the intrinsic essence of it with panache. Bashir Badr’s couplets have come to great use in giving the film a strong footing with audiences who can fathom them.

The film’s script is not shallow which is reflective from the fact that characters like Jaan Mohammad haven’t been treated lightly. He for me, was the film’s most fun character. Kidnapping a poet and many of his antics were indicative of crisp humor that essentially made Dedh Ishqiya so endearing.

The constant bantering between Khalujaan and Babban is great but one thing which stole my heart away was the chemistry between Muniya and Begum. They often steal the show from the men and make us have a gala time with them alone. For such instances and more like the story’s energy, wit, enthusiasm, passion and the gripping quality makes it quite unmatchable.

Dedh Ishqiya Review: Star Performances

Madhuri Dixit Nene is gorgeous and unlike most actresses of this era, the criteria to become an actress required a lot more than just a pretty face. Besides the dancing which makes her the diva she is, I doubt anyone can replicate her ‘Iftikhar’ with as much alluring seduction as she did. Now this was indeed her comeback film as the actress said it more emphatically than ever, that she can still give the younger guns and the reigning super actresses a run for their money. *take a bow*

Nasseeruddin Shah in the last few roles was nothing like himself. The charm of watching his realistic rendering was completely absent in all his stints of 2013. But in Dedh Ishqiya he is back with the same flair that elevates him above the rest of the crowd.

Arshad Warsi is enigmatic and gives the plot the entertaining element. Though the focus never leaves Nasseeruddin and Madhuri’s chemistry, the narrative is such that Arshad manages to score every time he is on screen.

Huma Qureshi is brilliant and confident. The actress has in her the vivacious energy that proves her talent.

A special mention for Vijay Raaz who is impeccable, sly and manages to evoke laughs without testing your intelligence.

Dedh Ishqiya Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay

Abhishek Chaubey’s direction is rightly effective. Only 2 films old and the filmmaker knows the right chords to hit with his films. To conjure up such a perfect recipe is tough but Chaubey doesn’t shirk from trying his hand at different genres and making an optimum concoction with Dedh Ishqiya. There are so many perfect scenes which just exhibits Chaubey’s imaginative vein so well.

There is a scene when Khalujaan and Babban are holding guns up to a group of hostile men. Neither groups give up and next morning they are yawning and still holding their guns. The best thing about the film is that it gives you not a single slack moment despite painting a world very surreal.

The music is quaint and beautiful. Every drip of it is magical poetry and so succulent that you can’t have enough of it. The film’s cinematography is picturesque, recreating the feudal set up with such poise is rare.

Dedh Ishqiya Review: The Last Word

Dedh Ishqiya is a sexy film. Mystically poignant, grippingly lucid, dark, subtle and so invigorating-ly well performed. It’s not everyday that you stumble upon near perfect films which entertain you so enthralling-ly. I am going with a 4/5. This movie was worth every buck and there should be no reason to miss this film.

Dedh Ishqiya Trailer

Dedh Ishqiya releases on 10th January, 2014.

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