A happy positive Vidya Balan movie with a Cute Dude! If you say that isn’t your dream film, you are lying. Watch this! Be happy in life!!!!
I honestly don’t have much to say about this movie, because it’s not a movie to talk about, it’s just a movie to enjoy. Think Khoobsurat, or Happy Bhag Jayegi, or Luka Chuppi. It’s a film so light that when you start to talk about it, it all kind of falls apart. Like the croissant I just had for breakfast. Daawat-E-Ishq is an almond paste croissant, light and fluffy but with a sweet thick filling. This movie, it’s just the pastry. Fluff fluff fluff. Eat it, get crumbs all over your shirt, feel happy, and then be hungry again in like two hours. And there’s no real point in trying to dissect the thing, you will just end up with crumbs all over the floor and no food.
Here is Vidya giving her charming can’t-help-smiling-back smile. Here is a neighborhood in a city with realistic things like sweet stalls and English classes and crowded streets. Here are costumes which are modest, but also brightly colored, and super flattering to Vidya’s fuller figure. Here is a romance between a very handsome TV star 20-something young man, and a full figured 30 year old woman. Here is a central mystery which resolves in a way to provide ultimate happiness to all involved. Here is a cast that includes Vidya Balan, Tanvi Azmi, Supriya Pathak, Zarina Wahab, and Anupriya Goenka. Oh, and also, here is a movie set entirely within the urban Muslim community of Hyderabad.
Here is an opening song that is both an homage to and an answer to the James bond themes:
With all those ingredients, and a slightly less than two hour run time, do you want to watch this movie? My answer is a resounding “YES!”, but if your answer is “no”, that’s okay too.
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Whole very light plot:
Vidya lives with her father and mother and aunt and two sisters and runs a tiny detective agency out of the backroom of a sweet shop. She has one regular client, Ali Fazal, who pays her to dig up dirt on prospective brides and slip it to his father so he doesn’t have to get married. She was also hired by a family friend to follow her daughter Anupriya Goenka around and see if she is still seeing her gangster boyfriend. Vidya blackmails and gets pay offs from the gangster to not share the photos. And then Kiran Kumar shows up and offers her loads of money to track down a young woman of a certain age, with a certain birth mark and name. She finds her and gets paid. He gives her another assignment, she finds that woman, but then starts to worry that something is wrong and investigate her client. Ali Fazal helps her which leads to them being caught at a hotel and now they HAVE to get married. Anupriya tries to kill herself for love of the gangster which makes Ali realize he loves Vidya for real, but fights with her because she is still determined to get more information about her client. Vidya finally traps her client and forces him to tell the truth. The people he wanted her to find were his longlost children, he wanted to find them so he could give them lots of money and make their life better. Coincidentally, Ali has just realized that the gangster is the last of these children!!! The gangster reunites with his father and reforms, and can marry Anupriya now. Vidya and Ali make up at their wedding and dance together.
A lot happens in this movie, but almost none of it really matters. Mostly we are just watching Vidya go about her day, solve cases, fight with her family, flirt with Ali, or just walk through the neighborhood eating sweets. She’s a great character and a great actress, and we watch her daily life happening with some sort of vague “start” and “end” point to the narrative.
Vidya’s great, and she is surrounded by a great world. I would ADORE a whole TV series in this setting. She’s got the enthusiastic landlord who rents the space to her and has a crush on Ali, she’s got the teenage boy she terrifies into lending her his cell phone when she needs it, she has the sweet shop owner who complains about her not paying her bill but is also interested in her mysteries. She’s got her aunt Supriya Pathak who is a matchmaker for the neighborhood and recommends Vidya to do background checks on grooms. She’s got her grumpy Dad who is ultimately supportive but likes grumping. And of course pretty sweet scared Ali Fazal, always needing to be rescued. Plus the local gangster, plus her pretty best friend Anupriya who keeps getting in trouble, plus plus plus. It’s just this happy little world where everyone knows everyone else, everyone is more or less contented with their life, and in the end only good things happen.
If there is any kind of “message” to the film, it is in this world. The film is set in a Muslim neighborhood of Hyderabad. This is a place that is usually considered very much “other” from mainstream India. And here are these nice happy people doing nice happy things! Vidya’s Dad has three daughters and adores them all (although Vidya bothers him). He is also supportive of his older single working sister. That’s a statement right there, the scary Muslim patriarch stereotype turned over into a nice man who just wants his daughters to be happy and despairs of his difficult oldest child. They go to the mosque as a normal community gathering moment for prayer, they navigate easily with the rest of the city (Ali working as a TV reporter), nothing is any different from any other community in India. The only slight darkness is when we learn Kiran Kumar lost his children in the communal riots of 1992. But that is treated as a tragedy everyone knows about and understands, and of course Kiran was right to put his children in a safe place and then go back for his wife, and kill a man who had killed her. No one could even consider blaming him for that.
So, yeah, it’s a happy movie! The Big Bad Guy, who I was sure was going to be an organ harvester or something, turns out to be a really nice generous person who just wanted to find his children. Our heroine makes up with her Dad. And the super Hot Dude, against all odds, ends up realizing he is totally in love with the bossy older girl next door.