Reincarnation is a theme often explored in Hindi films, mostly in the context of re-born lovers. In “Dangerous Ishhq,” Vikram Bhatt and his writing team give it a contemporary packaging with the now-recognized scientific technique of Past Life Regression that has more or less comprehensively vindicated an ancient Hindu belief.
And so when Sanjana starts getting visions soon after her fiancé Rohan (Rajniesh Duggal) gets kidnapped, her doctor friend (Divya Dutta) takes her to a lady who employs this technique on her. A cop (Jimmy Sheirgill) in charge of the case chides her for harming the investigation with the mumbo-jumbo but soon realizes that Sanjana’s visions cannot be taken lightly.
So far, so good, but after this interesting basic premise, the writers and directors go (in terms of today’s audience and box-office prospects) terribly wrong. In their effort to perhaps justify the use of 3-D in a period film, they home in on three previous births of Sanjana without explaining how the love story fared in between. Going in reverse order, we have Sanjana as a Hindu in love with a Muslim boy in post-Partition Pakistan, as a Muslim lover of a soldier in the 16th century and a ‘daasi’ (maid) to princess Meerabai (Gracy Singh) of Lord Krishna fame. In each of these births, there is a snake-in-the-grass enemy who destroys her lover and is also responsible for her death(s).
Even this jump in births would have been acceptable to today’s audiences as a cinematic license, but the claptrap with which this is mixed makes the film laughably dated. For one, there is the absurdity of the lovers having the same faces but the villains looking different, though in one case, the friend (Divya Dutta) conveniently looks the same! For another, the ‘vardaan’ (boon) given by Meerabai, even if acceptable to a 2012 audience, is a sequence ridiculously presented, and this coupled with a lady ‘tantrik’ (Natasha Sinha) who ‘blesses’ the villain to go each time into the lovers’ lives is straight out of the cornier elements of ‘70s cinema. Bhatt scored with an immediate connect in the stories of “1920” and “Haunted 3D,” but this time he woefully goes awry.
Bhatt makes another cardinal mistake: he gets Himesh Reshammiya to compose what is by leagues the finest music score to date this year, and fails to exploit the five beautiful numbers, either in the audio promotion (what was T-Series doing too?) or visually within the film. To waste “Tu hi rab,” “Ummeed,” and above all, “Tujhse door jaane ka sadma” and “Naina re” in the background robs the film of this biggest asset that could have got the film a decent opening at least. “Lagan lagi” is wasted on Gracy Singh as by that time the audience is in a state of dismissal with the convolutions in the script and the sketchily-written character has little impact.
The 3D effects are okay but there are areas of tackiness. A lot of expense and effort on technology, costumes, sets and so on could have been replaced with a better script wherein three consecutive earlier births could have been shown in say, the ‘80s, ‘60s and ‘40s.
The cast performs well overall, with special mention of Ravi Kissen, Jimmy Sheirgill and Ruslaan Mumtaz. Divya Dutta, as is her wont, shows uncalled-for cleavage all the time. Rajniesh is sincere in a poorly-sketched role.
But what about the return of Karisma Kapur? Sadly, Karisma’s performance varies from stiff and raw (like a newcomer) to extremely efficient. Her eyes are effective, but there is a ‘90s touch to her body language that could have been prevented – or rectified. Wish Karisma, who had the greatest hit average of all heroines in the ‘90s (like Katrina Kaif today) would have realized that more than roles and footage and the concept, it is the script that always works.
Reliance Entertainment, BVG Films and Dar Motion Pictures present
Dangerous Ishhq (3D): Major Flaws Ruins Potential Winner
Produced by: ARUN RANGACHARI
Directed by: VIKRAM BHATT
Written by: AMIN HAJEE, GIRISH DHAMIJA
Music: HIMESH RESHAMMIYA
Starring: KARISMA KAPUR, RAJNIESH DUGGAL, RAVI KISSNE, GRACY SINGH, DIVYA DUTTA, RUSLAAN MUMTAZ, AARYA BABBAR, JIMMY SHEIRGILL, SAMIR KOCHHAR & NATASHA SINHA