Karisma Kapoor’s grand-slam of a return to form (and shape) in Vikram Bhatt’s startling mix of myth and mystery in “Dangerous Ishq” proves that there is life after 30 for Bollywood divas. You just need to get a life.
Bhatt, so far consumed in making relatively small films about paranormal experiences, pulls out all stops in “Dangerous Ishq” to make Karisma’s comeback a near-spectacular cinematic event.
The film told through many eras of tumult, mythology and history engages our attention on many levels. It takes its interestingly-etched protagonist through several lives in search of her missing soulmate. This commodiousepic time-frame stretching from 2012 to the 16th century gives Karisma a chance to slip into several costume changes.
Luckily for her and for the audience, “Dangerous Ishq” is not only about getting into the right clothes. Amin Hajee’s script makes resonant existential statements without getting the plot tangled in ideas and concepts. Beyond a point it ceases to matter whether the audience believes in after-life or reincarnation.
Bhatt’s splendidly executed mythological-thriller just makes you thankful for the gift of mythology, philosophy and cinematic technique that makes a film so daring in concept come alive in flaming colours of pain anger defiance and redemption.
Indeed, this is a film that takes us far beyond the accepted boundaries of entertainment to forge a new genre of cinematic experience where the “pauranic katha” of Savitri retrieving her husband from the clutches of Yama, the God of death, is taken to an unexplored level of cinema.
In “Raaz”, 10 years ago Bhatt had explored the same theme. Here, he takes the theme to the arena of the unknown.
From the opening scenes where Sanjana (Karisma) turns back from a traffic snarl on the way to Mumbai airport to board a flight for a year of a posh a modelling assignment in Paris, to be with her beau (Rajniesh Duggal), you know when it comes to love this lady means business.
Bhatt gets considerable support from his technicians in building a rugged reverberant artefact that carries the love tale through centuries of strife, blood shed and anguish. The drama is created with a keen eye for heightened emotions. And yet ironically, Karisma pitches her performance at a subdued decibel. Even when her soul screams in protest at being separated from her eternal lover through four life times, the actress exudes fortitude andrestrain.
Welcome back, Karisma!
Karisma gets able support from a slew of capable actors playing her predatory male adversary in various lifetimes. Rajineish partners her ably. Ravi Kissan and Aarya Babbar stand out among the villains who want to separate them.
Divya Dutta as Karisma’s friend once again proves that she can carry any kind of situation to a believable level. However, Gracy Singh as Meerabai provides unintended laughter.
As for Jimmy Sheirgill, here’s an actor who never lets a script down. Here he has a role that reveals several dark shades of psychological trauma as it progresses from investigating a kidnapping to investing in afterlife. Jimmy is every bit in form.
But the film’s real hero is Karisma. She is virtually in every frame. Cinematographer Pravin Bhatt captures Karisma’s lucid face in dazzling shades suggesting an ageless fusion of night and day.
And then there are the 3D effects. Never before in an Indian film have we seen the 3D technique been applied with such resounding impact. The flying rubble, boulders and the dust in the key action scenes actually makes you flinch as they hurl out of the screen at the speed of the film’s excellent sound.
“Dangerous Ishq” has the best 3D effects seen in an Indian film, on a par with what we saw recently in “The Avengers”, if not better.
Miraculously the audience forgets the film is in 3D, as the gripping story takes over, transporting us into several world, moods, emotions and interpretations of love commitment and determination.
Indeed “Dangerous Ishq” is a far greater achievement than a sum-total of its storytelling and technique. Bhatt creates an audacious heady mix of mythology and the supernatural.
This film could be interpreted as an illustrated graphic novel with the 3D effects being optional. Leave it out, and you are still left with a film that balances many lives in the same line of vision without making the drama a slave to period or costumes.
Bhatt tells it with a deep-throated rush of passion. You may not believe in past lives. But this film sure makes you believe punar-janam has a future in our cinema.
A not to be missed experience.