It has become a cliche by now to say that Malayalam cinema is among the very best that India has to offer. One of the aspects that sets them apart from the rest is the way they look at a story and approach it in a different manner. This is precisely what makes Ishq a fascinating film. In his review, Baradwaj Rangan said that the film becomes more impressive the more you think about it, and he is absolutely right. It takes some time to register what is happening on screen and when we finally process it, the effect is quite astonishing.
It is hard to talk about this film without mentioning certain scenes but I will try my best. You need to go into this film knowing as little as possible and then the effect gets amplified. The script by Ratheesh Ravi is one that takes a look at patriarchy and manhood from a different angle which is one that hasn’t really been explored much in Indian cinema. There are many stretches in this film that will make you uncomfortable and there is a reason behind that. The makers want you to feel every bit of the ordeal that the characters go through.
Shane Nigam continues his ascent as an actor that reached great heights with Kumbalangi Nights and with Ishq, he shows a different side to him and it is thrilling to witness. The cast is rounded off with some stunning work from Shine Tom Chacko, Ann Sheetal, Jaffer Idukki and Leona Lishoy. Another strength of Malayalam cinema has been its casting and this film is further proof of that.
The essence of Ishq can be seen in the mirror events that happen in the first and second half. This is a brilliantly conceived film but to be fair, at times the length feels a little stretched. But given how much is unfolding and the meaning behind all of it, it makes it a experience worth watching. The title will not make sense unless you have seen the film but the moment the bird was flipped, I wanted to whistle with joy. Powerful performances with intriguing characters make a deadly combination and that is exactly what Ishq is.