Daawat-e-Ishq: Half Heart (Y) Feast

Ratings: **1/2 There is a scene in Daawat-e-Ishq when the tapori 12th fail restaurant owner and wannabe groom, Tariq (Aditya Roy Kapur) walks into a five star hotel suite with a plate of Lucknowi seekh kebabs. The occupants, father (Anupam Kher) and the bride-to-be daughter, Sanya alias Gulrez (Parineeti Chopra), have been conducting interviews with prospective grooms. Sanya launches a tirade of angry protests against Tariq and picks up the phone to call the security. Tariq simply holds out a plate of the luscious kebabs in front of her. A long minute of silence follows as she picks up one and continues to take a bite after another bite of the Lucknowi delicacy. This is Tariq’s power of ‘ishq’ in all its culinary glory. A few scenes before this wondrous moment, Gulrez has just kicked out her last prospective groom and his family from her table. “Bloody vegetarian,” she screams as she denies them the burgers and cold drinks she and her father have just paid for. The family and the “English speaking” groom with American accent, had thrown the last straw in the dowry demand line up. They wanted the high court clerk and his shoe salesgirl daughter to pay up Rs 80 lakh in order to get her hitched. The film opens well, in a middle class Hyderabad house. Booji (Anupam) leads a family up a few flight of stairs to his house. The first word the guest utters is, “kitna?” Booji earnestly tells them he can pay them Rs15 lakh as dowry for his daughter, Gullu. At some point, the guests leave or rather are thrown out by Gullu. No, not because she has any objection to her dad paying his life’s earnings but because the unsuitable boy cannot speak English. She is after all, a topper in her school. Besides, she is fairly independent, works as a sales girl at a footwear shop, rides a scooter and drops her father daily to work after he cooks and packs her dabba. Her dream is to have her own shoe design label in New York. Gullu, after several humiliating experiences, decides to end the dowry drama by turning the tables and coming up with a plan. She ropes in her partner-in- crime, her reluctant father. An interesting con game begins in Lucknow but ends faster than you can say biryani. A beautifully choreographed title song at interval point promises a lot but fails to deliver in the second half. Quick, easy resolving of the story does not leave any room for conflict. This could have been an intense dowry cum love story flavoured with Hyderabadi and Lucknowi spices but ends up as neither. Feisty female characters and funny lines are his forte and writer/director Habib Faisal (with story co-writer, Jyoti Kapoor) does not disappoint in that area, after Ishaqzaade. However, his major weakness of faltering in the second half of the screenplay, remains. Both Aditya and Parineeti serve their best but dish out more fun than chemistry. A rushed up climax renders the duo forgettable by the time you leave the theatre. Anupam Kher’s performance as a desperate and loving father helps in keeping one engaged and amused throughout. Daawat-e-Ishq is like the kebab that melts at first bite but lacks enough meat. Good enough to taste. But not enough to raise a toast. (The writer tries to make peace with her own filmmaking nightmares, of being a scriptwriter, actor and assisting film icons by moonlighting as a film journalist.http://gayatrigauri.blogspot.in)

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Submitted by Gayatri Gauri on Fri, 09/19/2014 - 17:15

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