‘Kyunki itne mahino ki tumhaari khamoshi ke baad tumhaari awaaz sunaai nahin de rahi hai Gia,’ says Neil [Rajeev Khandelwal] and Gia [Neha Ahuja] once again gives her patent-bemused-confused look ‘silently’ murdering the very sparse audience that had braved to watch Anish Khanna’s ISHK ACTUALLY in a suburban Mumbai multiplex. In an attempt to showcase the cerebral ‘artistic’ quotient, this film subjects you (thankfully) to very few dialogues and the predictable acoustic-guitar-piano and melancholic- violin aided background score unsuccessfully tries to weave together a ridiculous love story that makes you cringe in disbelief. Literally!
The story goes back and forth defying all logic or reason as to why, Gia, who apparently seems to be in love with Kabir [Raayo Bakhirta] flips like an infatuation-struck-teenager once long-lost-love Neil comes back in her life. The premise for Gia’s passionate overtures towards Neil (and why they parted ways) is never established. Neil, on his part, conveniently shifts from being a wise, earnest lover to a frivolous playboy who charms Kabir’s friend Ann [Ann Mitchai]. Ann is having a soft spot for Kabir too. Kabir and Gia make love and she drapes herself in a rich bed-sheet, thinks hard and breaks up with him acrimoniously. Next scene her head is nestled in his shoulders as they’ve reached Ooty in a car. The whole film is riddled with such amateurish collection of disconnected scenes that don’t affect you emotionally at all.
Story, screenplay and dialogue writer Arindam Mukherjee falters miserably. Till the end of the film you’re unable to figure out what the film is all about. There’s little semblance of a screenplay. As for dialogues, sample this: ‘Haath, main tumhaara pakdoon, aur uspe ungliyon ke nishaan Neil ke hon’. Mercifully, due to the abundance of killer pauses, the dialogues are few and far in between. Duleep Regmi’s cinematography comprises of laidback-cute-camera-angles that desperately try to present wannabe artistic sensibilities. Editors Siddharth Van Shipley and Mukesh Thakur have been extremely liberal with the length of the film and the lackadaisical manner in which it has been cut. Chirantan Bhatt’s melodious Aye Dil Bata [beautifully sung by Arijit Singh] is the saving grace of the film.
Rajeev Khandelwal is a fine actor who’s known for his discerning choice of roles but even he must be wondering why he agreed to work in such an unintentionally funny film as this that wouldn’t do anything to further his acting career. Raayo made a promising debut in ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ but he is royally wasted in this outing. Neha Ahuja looks pretty but her unquenchable ‘quest’ for deeper meaning of love ends up in laughable frivolousness. She provides several moments of unintentional humour by her relentless flip-flops between Kabir and Neil. The supporting star-cast is embarrassingly amateurish.
ISHK ACTUALLY could easily have been called ISHK CONFUSED or maybe ISHK, REALLY? You don’t want to sit through an ordeal of a love story. Avoid!