UAE Review: Feels Like Ishq


Dubai - Feels Like Ishq is a breezy, feel-good anthology of six shorts that reinstate the status of love as being understated and yet a many-splendored thing


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 29 Jul 2021, 5:33 PM

Valentine’s Day is nowhere in the picture — or around the corner — but Netflix has gifted us a bundle of romance. It’s nice to get slightly old school — notionally that is — and take a break from complex, complicated love lessons stoked amid grey mindscapes. Feels Like Ishq is a triumph of love, at least in the present, there’s no indication of happily ever afters or closures; it’s just being in the moment, being woke, being typically Gen Z and millennial-like.

But there’s a little glitch. Some of the shorts — all uniformly well-acted — are way superior to a few others. The last two — Interview and Ishq Mastana — are easily the pick of the lot, they are absolutely superb in nuance and execution. If I had to rate the series on the basis of these two alone, I’d probably go with an 8.5; unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the other four. One of them, She Loves Me She Loves Me Not was a bit ham-handed I thought, even though there were nice interplays. The other three are sweet enough, but clearly not in the same class as the ones I mentioned.

They are all set in different places in India — Goa, Mahabaleshwar, Mumbai (two of the films are set here), Delhi and Chandigarh. The zeitgeist of each city/town is captured beautifully, lending a unique aura that blends effortlessly into the storyboard.

Other than the first flush of love, there is also another interesting motif: technology — how smartphone and apps have become intrinsically linked with relationships. Each of the six films hinge on Internet connectivity — very subtly but effectively — and how it’s changed how the way we live… and love.

Here are short encapsulations on the different takes on love.

Save The Da(y)te: When the bride gets cold feet at her destination wedding in Goa and runs away, it’s up to her starry-eyed best friend and the hard-headed wedding planning manager to find her before the family apple cart is upset.

Quaranteen Crush: A guitar-strumming and somewhat misguided teenager falls for a pretty girl quarantined (for 14 days) in a guest house across the road.

Star Host: A young man letting out his parents’ house in the hills as an AirBnB ends up playing host to a woman who prefers the beach, and is his guest only because her ex-boyfriend had made a prior booking.

She Loves Me She Loves Me Not: A budding friendship between two women in an advertising agency is fraught with former baggage of relationships past.

The Interview: A man and a woman land up at an electronics showroom for a sales job; soon, it becomes a two-horse race, but by then, ambitions give way to emotions.

Ishq Mastana: A recently-dumped man tries to date a girl for a one-night stand — as a rebound — but gets caught up in the aftermath of a protest march along with her (and her friends) to discover something new about himself.

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