A beautiful Hyderabadi girl meets a charming Lucknow boy and love blossoms amidst culinary extravaganzas. If that’s what you expected from this latest offering from Yash Raj Films you would be quite disappointed. The food and locations seem to just serve as cleverly chosen garnishing to a story that’s completely different from what you may anticipate from Daawat E Ishq. And this turns out to the draw as well as the weak-link in the film.
A slate mentioning the number of dowry deaths in the country in the opening credits of the film suddenly makes you realise that you are actually up for something far more serious than what you may have walked in for. There is a dowry related death every five minutes, says the slate. Needless to say the film opens up with a scene featuring a gutsy Gulrays Qadir (Parineeti Chopra) taking on a dowry seeking family even as her father willingly succumbs to demands.
We have an independent thinking Gulrays, a state topper in her twelfth and yet working in a shoe showroom as a salesgirl while she completes her BCom. Her father (played by Anupam Kher) is an upright clerk at the high court who is fine with concept of dowry but not to accepting bribes. Gulrays of course is not. She is rather tired of being turned down by parents who expect much more than her honest father can manage with his meager Rs 30,000 salary. After a series of such encounters with dowry demanding parents she decides to change the game. They land up in Lucknow where they meet Tariq. And suddenly the screenplay slacks as the romance in built through needless songs. The first half still does have a fair share of action. The second half zips fast as if the writer decided he has used enough of his creativity in the first. It could have been salvaged, but the climax only made it more difficult.
The premise is new, but the contrivances pull it down. Daawat-E-Ishq reminds me of a buffet meal I had recently at a very well known restaurant chain. The main course was hardly eatable. But the starters and the desserts are worth killing for. Daawat-E-Ishq achieves little success in its attempt to touch upon the seriousness of dowry allegations as it makes almost comic references at 498 (A). What is extraordinary however are the characters. Habib Faisal builds each character – big and small – with his usual deftness. Gulrays excites you while Tariq charms you.
Livewire Parineeti pulls off the character of a Hyderabadi girl with gusto. She puts her best foot forward with a practiced Hyderabadi accent. Aditya Roy Kapur is remarkably polished as he steals your heart almost like the shahi tokri that his character cooks. The best moments of the film are however provided by Anupam Kher. After acting in close to 500 films, Kher continues to find something new to delight the audience every now and then. These three actors together make Daawat E Ishq a far more watchable film.