What’s it about
Siddharth aka Siddhu (Teja Sajja) works in a software company in Vishakapatnam. He is in love with college student Anu (Priya Prakash Varrier). On her birthday, Sidhu takes her on a long drive.
He takes her to a secluded parking lot to get a kiss from her. As the young lovers make out in the backseat of their car in a parking lot, two creepy strangers posing as police officers intrude and start harassing them. The night turns into a nightmare for the young lovers.
Teja Sajja and Priya Varrier starrer “Ishq Not a Love Story” is the Telugu remake of a Malayalam film of the same name. Barring minor changes, the Telugu version faithfully follows the original movie. The Malayalam film itself is a problematic one, narrating the tale of revenge against sexual harassment/moral policing in an unconvincing way.
When the source material itself is not convincing, how can the faithful remake be interesting?
As the title says, ‘Ishq’ is not a love story. It begins as a love story but turns into a revenge tale. The tender romantic moments in the initial moments are beautiful in the original movie, but they are not as effective here. Then comes the intrusion of a moral goon, who taunts the young boy, harasses the girl relentlessly. The Telugu director SS Raju has handled this part more effectively than the original.
Just because the young couple doesn’t want to get dragged into a police case, it is foolish to show that they would suffer such a level of harassment, just for getting caught kissing together in a parking lot! The scenes of the goon taking pleasure from the helplessness of the young couple are captured well. But at another level, the scenes seem unrealistic, even though harassment is universal. And it is hard to believe that this generation of boys and girls feel shameful of admitting to kissing. This whole first half of the sequences and harassment is repressible.
Plus, the second half turning into a tale of revenge, and the victim also indulging in similar harassment is anti-thesis to the message the film wants to drive. Despite the noble intention of showing the attitude of some moral goons, the film also glorifies another kind of harassment in the second half.
But the beautiful aspect of the film is in the final moment, where the girl’s self-respect is highlighted.
Coming to performances Teja Sajja does a neat job. Priya Varrier is quite impressive in this film. Ravindra Vijay, the villain of ‘Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya’, as the pervert guy shines in the role.
Among the technicians, Mahati Sagar’s work is noticeable. The camerawork is a replica of the Malayalam movie. The Telugu director Raju has slashed the runtime but he has failed to narrate it more effectively.
Bottom-line: ‘Ishq Not A Love Story” a remake of a Malayalam movie, suffers from poor execution. Despite having an interesting point, the narrative is filled with many problems.
Reviewed by Jalapathy Gudelli
Film: Ishq Not A Love Story Cast: Teja Sajja, Priya Prakash Varrier, and others Music Director: Mahathi Swara Sagar Cinematography: Shyam K Naidu Editor: A Vara Prasad Producers: NV Prasad, Paras Jain, Vakada Anjan Director: SS Raju Release date: July 30, 2021