• The way to a woman’s heart is also through her stomach – this twisty idea is enlivened by director Habib Faisal in his collaboration with Yash Raj banner flick, Daawat-E-Ishq which provides a spicy and eclectic romantic affair blending the cuisine culture of Hyderabad and Lucknow.Faisal is known for his penchant to craft authentic middle-class milieu with his rooted characters under the context of relevant social topics,and this time he examines the stigma of dowry practices which has maligned the institution of marriage, but in a ligher vein.

    Disillusioned by love and tired of matrimonial encounters with over-demanding prospective bridegrooms,Gulrez aka Gullu(Parineeti Chopra),an shoe-sales girl, hatches a con-plan to avenge her humiliations by duping them into fake marriage and imposing charges under section 498A of anti-dowry act.In that way, she can also get hefty sum of money to fulfill her long-nurtured ‘American’ dreams.She cajoles her resistant father,Bujji(Anupam Kher) an ordinary high court clerk who succumbs to her emotional blackmail.This leads them to Lucknow,where they stumble upon one of their ‘bakras’,Tariq Hyderi aka Taru(Aditya Roy Kapur) who happens to be an extraordinary cook.Taru is bowled by the feisty girl’s charms ,and while Gullu gets gradually swooned by the aroma emanating from the biriyanis and Kababs of Taru’s kitchen, their plan is thrashed sweeetly by the blossoming love.

    It’s a richly textured premise which offers us an irresistible array of starters , a somewhat delicious maincourse but the dessert spread turns out to be rather bland.
    Cutting through the colourful nuances of the city of Nizams, Hyderabad,the narrative also presents a warmth-filled camarederie between the father and her daughter.The film’s latter half dwells in the revelry of Lucknow and its rich culinary traditions which forms a canvas for the romance between its protagonists.The Blemishes – it suffers from logic issues.The climax looks hurried and doesn’t convince us about Taru’s sudden change of heart for Gullu.

    These lacunae are however washed off by the spirited performances of the film’s central characters.Parineeti Chopra imbues Gullu with full radiance, sparkles and confidence.Its a comfort zone for her to be in her ‘feisty’ self, but the actress takes an extra leap to get her Hyderabadi diction impeccably right, a trait that was grossly goofed-up by the ace star Vidhya Balan in Bobby Jasoos.Anupam Kher’s comical nervousness reminds us of his superbly staged act in Special 26, and he shines in all sequences requiring emotional gravitas.And most importantly, Aditya Roy Kapur makes a revelation, playing the revered restaurateur with cocky delight.

    Dawat-E-Ishq has a fresh and exotic aroma to appetize you, but that doesn’t last too long to tingle your taste buds.

    September 22, 14