There are some good ideas in Dawaat E Ishq and the screenplay tries hard to ensure the more progressive concepts are put across. It is a shame then that the film decides to tell rather than show some of the pertinent arguments it makes against the outdated and exploitative practice of demanding a dowry – for the perfect counterpoint lies in form of the protagonist Gul who is intelligent, determined and fearless. Her chutzpah and drive make for an engaging watch and one wishes the screenplay had stopped trying to control everything and allow Gul to just be as it would have conveyed its message with far greater effect.
Having said that, DEI still has a fantastic flow – as well as an element of unpredictability, the YRF effect is in full flow with lush cinematography, great costume design and some cracking tunes. Also, the sheer amount of food porn must be mentioned – I was not quite sure what relevance the motif of amazing looking food had with the the practice of dowry demands but as a sub plot or means of distraction, it certainly worked very well and left my stomach grumbling whilst hungry eyes devoured everything on screen.
I really liked all three leads – Kapur grins sheepishly and manages to exhibit enough personality and energy that is endearing rather than irritating whilst making Taru a likeable male lead. Kher also gives a good turn as a worried father who gets caught up on his daughter’s journey – I liked that he was able to stay on the same wavelength throughout which looks far easier than it actually is to enact. Chopra is fantastic as Gul – she attacks the role with a gumption and spirit that is relentless and mostly hits the mark. I also felt Chopra strongly identified with Gul and there is a nice sense of kinship between character and actor there.
Dawaat E Ishq may not be quite the revolutionary film it intends to be but is an assured step in the right direction, capturing a sentiment of justified anger against the dowry system and the hypocrisy surrounding it. I also liked how the film didn’t drag on and was well paced – situations which older films may have stretched an entire screenplay out of are quickly resolved in a scene here and the action is better off for it. Definitely worth a watch, DEI is yet another film in 2014 which is not entirely sold as seen – but is the right kind of surprise package.