'ISHQ' today hit the cinemas in style. The latest BO release is an official remake. Is it worth a watch? We will tell you in our review.
Siddhu (Teja Sajja) is in love with Anu (Priya Prakash Varrier) and they both are planning to get married. They plan a long drive during which Siddhu seeks a kiss from his girlfriend. Their intimate romance in a car is captured in his mobile by Madhav (Ravindra Vijay), who threatens them with dire consequences by saying that he is a cop. What does Siddhu do when he and Anu are faced with harassment? What follows next? Is there a way out? Answers to these questions are found as the film progresses.
For Teja Sajja, who played a cutesy character in 'Oh! Baby', this film offers him the opportunity to show an untapped aspect of his acting talent. As a revenge-seeking younger, the 'Zombie Reddy' actor shows conviction. After an unimpressive debut in 'Check', Priya Prakash Varrier gets to play a meek and harassed damsel here.
Ravindra Vijay, who was recently seen in 'The Family Man 2' as a Tamil intelligence officer, is impressive in a sadistic role. For him, this one is a very good follow-up after 'Uma Maheshwara Ugra Roopasya'. Leona Lishoy fits the bill.
Sam K Naidu's cinematography is appropriate. The night-effect scenes are well-shot. Mahati Swara Sagar's background music is apt. The montage scenes in the serious moments of the film play out well. However, the romantic songs in the initial portions could have been better.
Like the Malayalam original 'ISHQ' (2019), the remake too comes with the tagline, 'It's not a love story'. If it is not a love story, what is it? Well, it's a crime-revenge drama where love is not felt because the focus is something else. While the drama essentially involves two lovers and a creep, the genre is not romance.
When the Malayalam original came out, a well-known film critic said that the film was half-feminist and half-misogynistic. There is a subtle commentary on sexual violence. The elements of vigilante justice and moral policing are integral to the story.
The film stays true to the original version. There are moments where the tension is built up well. The scenes are effective in making the audience feel the unenviable situation that Siddhu and Anu are in.
At less than two hours, 'ISHQ' is crisp. But the Telugu audience might see its sensibilities as alien. There are whole stretches that work only if you understand human nature.
The second half can work for some. But others might be repelled by it. The climax is also not regular.
'ISHQ' is not your regular love story or crime drama. But the lack of nativity is glaring. It's a faithful remake. Director SS Raju, who has also written the dialogues, should have made effective improvements.