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    Saturday, 10 August 2013

    ‘Ishq Khuda’ modern-day ‘Ben-Hur’ with all its imperfections


    Before 2007, we all knew better than to expect a stunner cinema experience at the hands of Lollywood filmmakers. We knew no Waheed Murad, Muhammad Ali or Shabnam could possibly come back and save the day and hence what abysmal Pakistani cinema we did have was completely at the disposal of the self-centred lot, too proud to borrow an opinion or two from across-the-border cinematographers (just their films’ title and music seemed to be stolen and we’re talking about serious copyright issues here). And then, a saviour of sorts was hyped over and rumoured about at length. Some claimed he could be the saviour of Pakistani cinema and others just wished him luck with their fingers crossed. And the other lot? Well, they simply had seemed to lose their trust and interest in Lollywood, altogether.

    However, with Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ and ‘Bol’ striking a chord with the masses and not just the ‘Allah Badshah’ rooters, Pakistani cinema could take a breather and had finally climbed its ladder to the top with the first two steps. And the much-ignored efforts of filmmaker Shehzad Rafique to provide “healthy entertainment” to all the masses and not just a niche of it, were once again brought to surface as the healthy cinema team strengthened.

    And this year, with Meera announcing her last Lollywood project and Ahsan Khan as his first in the lead, Shaan not that enthusiastic about it, a new face from Dubai and Saima? Well, Saima with her usual silent self, Shehzad announced his mega Lollywood project with all the stellar cast early in 2012. With a bunch of delays and pre- and post-production halts and madness up to the final inevitable hiccups, ‘Ishq Khuda’ managed to hit the movie screens both nationally and internationally, much to the delight of all its anticipators.

    The story of the film is based upon characters that are destined to cross each other’s paths while either visiting or dwelling completely in a Pakistani village. Ahsan (Ahsan Khan) who lives in Karachi decides to pay a visit to his village to take care of family industry matters. He meets Iqra (Meera) while journeying in a train and happens to co-incidentally be a part of her extended family, who like him is also visiting the same village. They fall madly in love with each other due to passage of time and decide to marry. Kalsoom (Wiam Ammar Dahmani) is Iqra’s cousin who plays the role of an innocent backward village girl, who’s entirely at the disposal of her father, doing house chores and tending to him. It’s love at first sight for her as soon as she sees Ahsan and innocently believes he loves her too, though the matter is otherwise. When she learns of her dear cousin marrying the love of her life, her world comes crashing down and is bereaved for life. On the other hand Ruliya (Shaan) is a terror of the village, snatching away hard-earned properties of landlords, indulging in alcohol and prostitutes, killing away the opponents of his activities and hence creating a menace throughout. Malka (Saima) plays the role of a prostitute who is in love with Ruliya despite all his obvious flaws. Ruliya in turn is cursed by a much-revered and respected wali of the village with softening of the heart while he’s on his another terror spree, only to find himself haplessly in love with Kalsoom who turns him down. Ruliya experiences a change in demeanour and transits from being a terror to a forgiveness-seeker malang.

    How the story unfolds from there is for you to see as Shaan and Saima, who are one of the most seasoned actors we have, deliver in a way, which is effortless, engage the audience immensely with their spot-on dialogue delivery and are believable throughout. Meera delivers well too, but looks mis-cast a little playing Ahsan Khan’s love interest. Dubai-based Moroccan actress Wiam looks stunning and dances superbly, however she does need to brush up on her acting skills a bit more. The star of the film is undoubtedly Ahsan Khan who looks fresh, energetic and very much in tune. He is a treat to the eyes and makes one sure we have the Ranbir Kapoor of Bollywood right here on our soil.

    Wajahat Attre’s song compositiong is excellent with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Sanam Marvi and Shazia Manzoor as playback singers, however the forced song sequence is sure to make one wince with monotony. We loved how the scenic beauty of the north is captured beautifully with a screenplay sometimes dwindling but otherwise highly engaging.

    “I have high hopes for the film, this one being my last Lollywood project. I’ve given it my best and am sure audiences will love it,” said Meera while talking to Daily Times.

    “My love for experimentation made me sign the film and God willing, this one would strike a chord with the masses,” added Ahsan.


    Shehzad Rafique adds touch of Sufism, what goes around comes around karma, love-struck youth and the manifestations of true affection. All in all, ‘Ishq Khuda’ remains a masterpiece with all its imperfections. Lollywood revival begins in cinemas today (Friday).

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