UAE Review: Feels Like Ishq

Sushmita Bose /Dubai Filed on July 29, 2021

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

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.


Sushmita Bose

Sushmita, who came to Dubai in September 2008 on a whim and swore to leave in a year's time (but then obviously didn't), edits wknd., the KT lifestyle mag, and writes the Freewheeling column on the Oped page every Friday. Before joining Khaleej Times, she'd worked for papers like Hindustan Times and Business Standard in New Delhi, and a now-defunct news magazine called Sunday in Calcutta. She likes meeting people, making friends, and Facebooking. And even though she can be spotted hanging out in Dubai's 'new town', she harbours a secret crush on the old quarters, and loves being 'ghetto-ised' in Bur Dubai where she is currently domiciled.


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