Saturday, July 15, 2023

‘Ishq-e-Nadaan’ is not about second-hand love, but giving love a second chance

When Ashutosh and Ramona meet at the hotel, their life takes a change. At the other end, Siya, an ambitious single pregnant woman who has just returned from America, unexpectedly crosses paths with Piyush to become sources of support for each other. Finally, Charulata becomes friends with filmmaker Subhash Kapoor and confesses a secret with him. What is the secret? The answers are all in Avishek Ghosh’s ‘Ishq-e-Nadaan’ - a heart-warming anthology set in Mumbai.

Taking the oft used route of anthology to convey stories (alike Anurag Basu’s ‘Life in a Metro’), the new JioCinema romance drama is a heart-warming tale that intricately weaves together the lives of three couples, each with a different tale to share. Embarking on their own path of love, self-discovery, and personal growth; these three interconnected stories not only portray how love works for different people of different generations, but is also about companionship, unexpected connections, and the strength of love beyond generations.

Starring Lara Dutta as Ramona Singh, a successful middle-aged independent woman and Mohit Raina as Ashutosh, the hotel manager; the 115-minute-long film starts with Ashutosh being asked to vacate the home by the builders. A hopeless romantic who doesn’t wish to settle with another woman ever since his wife passed away, this home holds many memories for him and to leave it is difficult for him. Meanwhile, Ramona Singh comes to stay at the International Hotel where Ashutosh is the hotel manager. For a man starved of love, he feels love knocks at his door via Ramona Singh. But when the secret is revealed, Ashutosh moves ahead in life. Their story stands out as the narrative blends emotions and drama, leaving viewers surprised by the outcome.

The second story is about Shriya Pilgaonkar as Siya and Suhail Nayyar as Piyush. When Siya, an ambitious single pregnant woman and a compassionate Piyush unexpectedly cross paths, their connection transcends the challenges they face individually. Siya who returned to Mumbai from the US, isn’t ready to confront Raghav (Mrinal Dutt), the father of the child since they’re not a married couple.  Demonstrating the resilience of human bonds over time, Siya and Piyush become sources of support for each other. But when Raghav, Piyush, and Siya come together, chaos starts.

The last chapter follows Neena Gupta as Charulata and Kanwaljeet Singh as Subhash Kapoor, two senior citizens, who meet by chance and instantly click over witty romance. As they develop a fondness for each other, they seek a revitalized sense of purpose in their lives. Charulata and Subhash’s hidden love story is the movie’s highlight but their story follows a predictable trope.

Ishq-e-Nadaan is a beautiful attempt and a lighter watch amid the intense content woven around three beautiful stories, six main characters, and a meaningful plot by Sudeep Nigam. It brings an interesting dynamic to all these characters as they accept things the way they are and still never step back from taking second chances. There are many moments in the film that will bring a smile to the face of the audience. But the writer and the director could have avoided many scenes that were straight lifted from other films. Like the scene where Charulata finds that Siya's father had written all the poems and had post dated for her birthday, before his death - a straight rip off from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Or 'Ki & Ka' re-written in a new way for this film in Siya and Piyush's story. 

Speaking of the actors, the performances of each one of them added depth to their characters. Most of lead actors tried to do justice to their roles, but it is Lara Dutta who outshines everyone with her performance. The glint in her eyes and her infectious smile does the job. While Neena Gupta and Kanwaljeet Singh added depth to their characters with their performances, Mohit Raina as the hotel manager was unconvincing, unlike Aditya Roy Kapoor who pulls off with ease in the Netflix series 'The Night Manager'. Mrinal Dutt who plays Siya's love interest gives the same drab expressions as in the Jio series, 'Ishq Next Door.' It just seems, he walked out of the series and into the film, without working on his character and performance.

Produced by Jyoti Deshpande, Ishq-e-Nadaan is indeed a good attempt, though does not sweep you off your feet completely. The film's slow pace hampers its connection with viewers, leading to moments of dryness and dullness. But one cannot but appreciate the cinematography and the editing as certain scenes were blended fantastically. Contrary to the lovely rendition of 'Jab koi baat bigad jaaye' in Lust Stories 2, the  music created by Raja Narayan Deb fails to resonate here. A one-time feel-good film for a monsoon evening, ‘Ishq-e-Nadaan’ is not about second-hand love, but giving love a second chance.

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