"Aap ka ishq ishq hai aur hamara ishq sex" - Arshad Warsi's outburst seems to bring forth the essence of the entire story in one single line.
The film has multiple layers of emotions displayed at various levels and it takes a while to get a grip on the plot. Ishqiya starts with Krishna (Vidya Balan) in bed, clad in a bright red sari. For a fleeting moment she reminds us of Kareena Kapoor in Omkara.
Next we meet her husband, a small time goon, who is on the run from law. Krishna is madly in love with him and pesters him to 'surrender'. And before you could bat an eyelid - BOOM! There's an explosion, of course.
Cut to the next scene. In some other part of the country, Babban (Arshad Warsi) and Khalujaan (Naseeruddin Shah) are seen drinking and dancing. Their enjoyment is short-lived as Khalujaan's mooh bola Jijaji tracks them down to extract the heist money from them. The duo somehow manages to fool him and run away with the booty and eventually land up at Krishna's residence in Gorakhpur. They introduce themselves as her husband's old friends and request Krishna to offer them shelter. Krishna obliges.
So far the story flows in a linear pattern as Babban and Khalujaan plan to cross the border to Nepal, while Krishna seems busy with her dairy business, domestic chores and singing. However, things are not as simple as they appear.
Khalu, hailing from a family with music background falls for Krishna's singing talent, and it seems for a while that Krishna too reciprocates. And she doesn't even try to hide her feelings. Meanwhile, the booty that Babban and Khalu fled away with disappears mysteriously.
We get enough hints to understand Krishna is not as docile as she pretends to be. The situation changes all of a sudden when Babban, who has been lusting after Krishna for quite a while, snatches her from Khalu after a much-publicised smooch sequence. When the tables turn, things have already moved too far. A kidnap plan is hatched to raise money to pay off the creditors; events unravel in an unexpected manner and we are confronted with yet another twist in the tale. __PAGEBREAK__It won't be fair to unnecessarily compare Ishqiya with Omkara. As a first timer, Abhishek Chaubey's direction is a welcome change. Though we find him losing his grip once in a while, Abhishek's choice of the subject and handling of the same make it a worth watch. The change of events during the kidnap drama and the heated argument that follows thereafter are fascinating.
Even the passionate lovemaking sequence between Arshad and Vidya has been dexterously captured. The saucy lingo spit out by Babban and Khalu may make you feel uncomfortable, but it only makes the characters look more real.
Vishal Bhardwaj's musical score has his unmistakable stamp all over. The songs, Ibn-e-Batuta and Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji are obviously the best picks of the album. One may be surprised to note the tune of Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji has an uncanny resemblance to Raj Kapoor's Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahan from Mera Naam Joker.
Every actor in Ishqiya delivers a commendable performance. Vidya steals the show once again after Paa with her role as a scheming woman, two-timing the uncle and nephew without flinching once. Naseeruddin Shah is superb. Arshad packs in a great stint with his little bit of madness and crazy actions. Even the kid, who sticks around with Arshad, is natural.
VERDICT: High on drama and wild at times, you are bound to fall in love with Khalujaan and Babban.
RATING: 3.5/ 5