Ishq Vishk Rebound has standout performance from Pashmina Roshan

Jibraan Khan, Naila Grrewal, Rohit Saraf and Pashmina Roshan in Ishq Vishk Rebound. Photo: Universal Communications

When you have a brand, you have to be cautious that a sequel of that same film does not demean the memories of the original. And when you are writers and directors, you cannot make your new film look like an extension of a web franchise—we will come to that later!

Ishq Vishk, released 21 years ago, is one such brand. It was as much in the Archies cult mould as a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai still earlier. It was also a film of substance, unlike trivial or mediocre movies in that genre then like a Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi. It had a brilliant music score that remains alive to this day, gave us a major star in Shahid Kapoor, and a remarkable actress, who has almost quit films now, in Amrita Rao.

Let us now compare that one with Ishq Vishk Rebound, the film under discussion. Pashmina Roshan, daughter to composer Rajesh Roshan and first cousin to Hrithik Roshan, is a skilled performer, given that this is her first film. She is intensity personified and has the talent and range as actor that is not always there in newcomers in their debut films.

Rohit Saraf, the leading man, is just about okay in his first film, despite the author-backed role. His hangdog and stereotypical emoting begins to irritate after a while as there are no variations, and his intonations are flat and dull. Jibraan Khan gets shortchanged, akin to Vishal Malhotra in the earlier film, but has a great presence and very likable persona. Naila Grrewal is terribly neglected, though something tells me that she can make a bankable actor.

And now for the main aspect: the music. 21 years later, Anu Malik’s music in the original film remains as fresh, youthful and peppy. Rochak Kohli, who debuted in cinema in 2012, reworks two of his Ishq Vishk classics, Ishq vishk pyar vyaar and Chot dil le lagi but fails to match the magic of the originals. He even attempts Anand-Milind’s Gore gore mukhde pe from Suhaag, which is from the Tips’ audio repertoire.

Gurpreet Saini’s add-on lyrics as well as the other originals, follow, ad infinitum and ad nauseam, the puerile, by now done-to-death repetitious overuse of Urdu lingo (Rehmat, iltajaa and so on) and Punjabi (the film is set in Uttarakhand, and if Punjabi words can intrude into Maharashtrian, Gujarati and Bengali-based movies, guess this too can “work”!!). The songs are sung by ‘today’ crooners, generally intoning as if they are yet to brush their teeth after sleepily awaking, or are exhausted after a day’s hard work (take your pick!).

With the music being a total letdown, the brand’s prime USP (as a musical also produced by a major music label) vanishes into thin air, and the rest of the soundtrack is intolerably monotonous: someone should have at least stood, so to speak, on the “creative” music team’s heads to prevent this! The film’s script shows promise in the first half, with an alarming slide into confusion among the characters and in the narration in the second. Despite a crisp length of 106 minutes, the film does not rivet, grip or hook you and you feel a strange sense of disappointment in the end.

The first-person narration by Raghav, just like Raghav himself, begins to jar after some time, needlessly interrupting key emotional or dramatic sequences. Teenage and beyond may be romantically confusing for many, but surely Indian GenZ can’t be so vacuous-headed as the characters shown here.

Sahir’s father (Shataf Figar) is unbelievable, as are his actions—never mind the fact that the actor looks like a 2024 cover-version of Danny Denzongpa! The climax seems as artifice-ridden as most of the film, and I for one am shocked that a colossal talent like Nipun Avinash Dharmadhikari (best known for the humdinger Marathi biopic, Mee Vasantrao, on musical prodigy Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande) could be involved in such a harebrained exercise and stud the film with pedestrian music too.

In such a milieu of break off-reconcile-break off yawn…Oops! Sorry!…yarn of four friends (the story lies within this constricted framework) , what is the use of the plus-ses like some of the actors mentioned above, the terrific locations, the awesome camerawork (Milind Jog) and the superb choreography (Vijay Ganguly, Ahmed Khan and Farah Khan)? The story seems to be conceived conceived as a pale extension of the web franchise, Mismatched, delivered by Nipun with Akarsh Khurana, also a writer-cum-actor here as well! And with Rohit Saraf once again as the confused romantic lead! As for the writing, well, haven’t we heard the proverb, “Too many writer cooks spoil the script broth”?

The rebound, as it stands, should not have happened in the hallowed name of “entertaining” the youth, who, as said above, are far from being the “Duh!” tribe shown here. Khurana and Dharmadhikari must now reboot their mindsets and concentrate on showing the bright side of Indian youngsters.

Tips Films’ Ishq Vishk Rebound  Produced by: Ramesh Taurani & Jaya Taurani  Directed by: Nipun Avinash Dharmadhikari  Written by: Dr. Vinay Chhawal, Vaishali Kamalakar Naik, Ketan Pedgaonkar, Akarsh Khurana, Lisha Bajaj & Nipun Avinash Dharmadhikari  Music: Anu Malik, Anand-Milind & Rochak Kohli Starring: Pashmina Roshan, Rohit Saraf, Jibraan Khan, Naila Grrewal, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Shataf Figar, Akarsh Khurana, Sheeba Chaddha, Shilpa Vishal Shetty, Kusha Kapila, Anita Kulkarni & others



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