2 Stars (out of 4)
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Dangerous Ishhq (“Dangerous Love”) looks like a good movie, but visually pleasing sets and costumes can’t make up for poor performances.
Karisma Kapoor returns from a nine-year acting hiatus to play Sanjana, a supermodel preparing to move to Paris. She cancels her trip when she senses that something bad is going to befall her boyfriend, Rohan (Rajneesh Duggal). Her premonition proves correct when Rohan is kidnapped the next day.
Sanjana, who suffers a concussion during the kidnapping, wakes up in the hospital. She sees Rohan laying on the floor in the hallway suffering from a stab wound to the abdomen, only Rohan appears to be wearing a wig and insists on calling her “Gita.” When a horde of torch-wielding villagers storm the hospital — then promptly disappear — Sanjana knows something strange is going on.
Neetu (Divya Dutta), a mutual friend of the couple and a doctor at the hospital, doesn’t attribute Sanjana’s hallucination to her serious head injury or the shock of the kidnapping. Dr. Neetu suggests that Sanjana is probably seeing visions from her past lives. A hypnotist who specializes in past-life regression assures Sanjana, “Modern psychiatrists have accepted reincarnation.” (No, they haven’t.)
A hypnotized Sanjana sees a vision of the Rohan she saw in the hospital. His name is Iqbal, and Sanjana’s is, of course, Gita. Neetu’s even there, as Gita’s sister, Chanda. Sanjana uses the information from her past-life regression to inform/muck up the investigation into Rohan’s kidnapping, lead by Detective Singh (Jimmy Shergill).
As she regresses further back through two other previous lives, Sanjana realizes how events from the past have shaped the present, fueled by a grudge hundreds of years old.
While I don’t believe in reincarnation and past-life regression, I don’t mind it as a storytelling device. However, the rules of reincarnation need to be applied consistently. Divya Dutta is present in three of the past lives, but not the fourth, when her role is usurped by actress Gracy Singh. Rohan’s brother plays an important part in one past life, but not the others. The rules change depending on the needs of the plot.
The past life gimmick allows the movie to utilize some cool sets and gorgeous costumes. Kapoor is decked out in everything from modern platform heels, to the garb of a village girl in 1947, to courtly attire from the 16th century. The temple and palace settings are beautiful, showcased by top-notch cinematography.
Still, great visuals and an intriguing storytelling device are overshadowed by lousy acting. Jimmy Shergill seems disinterested. Divya Dutta is good, but she isn’t given enough to do.
Rajneesh Duggal is in a tough position, because Rohan spends so much time kidnapped and off-screen. It’s hard to be concerned about him when we don’t know anything about him. The movie doesn’t bother to explain the motive for Rohan’s kidnapping in the modern day, or even what his job is. When we do see Rohan or his other incarnations, he bears a kindly but bland expression on his face.
Ultimately, the burden of carrying Dangerous Ishhq falls on Karisma Kapoor, who is clearly rusty after her hiatus. She gets better as the film goes on, but the early image of her emotionless good-bye scene with Rohan as Sanjana prepares to leave for Paris lingers. Even in the film’s final scene, the tears roll down Kapoor’s cheeks, but there’s no emotion in her eyes.