Karisma Kapoor as Salma, Geeta or Sanjana gets news of death of her lover’s death / kidnap multiple times in the movie. Her dovey eyes turn red just too often, her voice cracks, she breaks down just as often. Every time she does this you don’t have dialogues but you hear loud Himesh vocals (as loud and as listenable as ever) in the background. You want to relate to the girl, you want to feel bad for the one who died or at least feel concerned. But you just cannot. Dangerous Ishq is a romantic thriller that spans across centuries to get the lovers connected but fails to connect to the one sitting on the other side of the screen. The movie marks the comeback of Karisma Kapoor, one of the most famous actress of the last decade who has earlier proved the mettle of her acting genes in films like Dil To Pagal Hai, Zubeida, Fiza and Raja Hindustani. So did she succeed in her lacklustre comeback film? Did Vikram Bhatt succeed in putting her comeback in a 3D success unlike Mimoh’s comeback in Vikram’s last film (Haunted)?
The movie is about a girl’s journey through various births to unite with her lover. Super model Sanjana’s (Karisma kapoor) boyfriend, Rohan (Rajneesh Duggal) gets kidnapped from his beach house. Sanjana is admitted to a hospital, and there starts the story which is told in a non-linear narrative and moves back and forth in her various births to give Sanjana clues for her current mission. There is an India-Pakistan partition angle thrown in with a Hindu-Muslim love story, there is a love story thrown in for Aurangzeb’s brother and there is one more from Chittorgarh at the time of Mirabai. There are various colors and shades in roles of a sisterly friend Neetu ( Divya Dutta), a brother (Ruslaan Mumtaz) and a cop who is trying to solve the case (Jimmy Shergill). The canvas is so big and ambitious that it wouldn’t have been easy for any director to make a success of it and if truth be told the director struggles throughout here.
To answer the important part first, yes Karisma kapoor comes up with an earnest performance. She surely enjoyed facing the camera after so many years and she looks beautiful in the movie. Her characters had many variations and major screen time. She was a supermodel, a Pakistani Hindu, a Mughal time lover and a maid to Meerabai at different times in the movie. But good actors alone can’t make good films; a script needs to support it too. Rajneesh Duggal’s roles were bad story writing and his acting made it worse. The story is about two lovers who are separated in every birth and they meet again in the next. But unfortunately the movie is only about one of them. You hardly relate to any of the roles that Rajneesh Duggal plays. In fact, you relate to the villains more than him and that was a pity, as you really don’t relate to Karisma’s stories because of it. In fact during a few points in the film I even thought that the leading lady should actually pair up with the villain, it would be a match of equals at least. Ravi Kissen, Arya Babbar, Sameer Kochhar and Jimmy Shergill, all played their roles with required fervour. Ravi Kissen shines in his small role of Durgam Singh. I wish Jimmy Shergill and Divya Dutta could have had a larger screen time. Both of them are grossly underutilized in this film.
Vikram Bhatt’s creation of a back drop and addition of gloss and technology is as beautiful as in all his movies. But unfortunately his story telling is just as bad as well. The biggest deal breaker for this movie is in the writing department. Story (Amin Hajee) is not paced well. Characters are completely underdeveloped particularly the ones like Mirabai (played with conviction by Gracy Singh), which are almost caricaturized along with the use of clichéd dialogues. Screenplay by the director himself gets bumpy at times. There are scenes like a false trap where police officers die- completely unnecessary and don’t add to the story. At the same time there are important parts of stories which we run through and don’t get time to soak in. Dialogues by Girish Dhamija are clunky. It is not easy to digest a Rajasthani Rajput senapati using words like “Berukhi ka Raaz”, daasi using words like “Kismat” and “Zindagi”. Surely the Urdu words are a part of life in today’s Hindi culture but language is an important tool to give a sense of time. Girish Dhamija misses it completely. Film editing by Kuldip Mehan also has nothing to negate the effect of writing. The pacing of the movie is also badly misplaced.
A special mention here for action director Abbas Ali Mogul and 3D effects from EFX Prasad. It is one of the first movies where 3D isn’t added as a gimmick and still is well managed. There are occasional in your face moments but mostly the 3D here adds another dimension and you can see the depth and space more clearly. Vikram Bhatt has to be lauded for his efforts in lapping up new technology and giving utmost detailing in framing of sequences. Pravin Bhatt’s cinematography is apt. Play of light and especially shadows during various stages of the movie adds to the non-existing story telling. Production design needs a very special mention here. Tackling various timelines and historical context setting is not easy but the sets and design completely lives up to it. Music by Himesh Reshammiya is always an highlight when he sings less. “Tu Hi Rab” and “Naina Re” though loud in their vocals, overpowers the scene they appear in. If the story telling was sharper, music would have gelled beautifully in the movie.
There is a scene in the latter half of the movie where both Sanjana and Rohan are declared dead. You almost feel that the movie ended. I was very scared that Vikram Bhatt was planning for a sequel but the end turns up like good news, even if it’s not a good climax. And that feeling more or less summarizes the movie. If you are watching the movie as a Karisma Kapoor fan, you will not be disappointed by her performance but the movie is at best average. The backdrop of the movie could have made it an interesting effort. Past life regression and finding “aatma ki aawaz” aren’t new themes but could have been presented in a more engaging manner. The movie doesn’t do anything interesting for the director and other actors, but surely Karisma Kapoor’s hard work would not go unnoticed. Welcome back Lolo.