- Movie Name: Ishq: Not a Love Story
- Release Date: 30th July 2021
- Lead Cast: Teja Sajja, Priya Prakash Varrier
- Director: SS Raju
- Screenplay: Ratheesh Ravi
- Music: Mahati Swara Sagar
- Movie Plot in Brief
Ishq: Not a Love Story is a Telegu remake of a 2019 Malayalam romantic thriller movie of the same name. The movie shows the case of a young couple, Siddharth and Anas, who come across the hazards of moral policing. They get mentally and physically harassed by two police officers unknown to them, challenging their love and bond. The movie shows how they cope with the situation.
Though they are initially traumatized by the events, Siddharth and Anas later seek revenge for their harassment, unveiling various truths in the process.
To explain in brief, though Ishq: Not a Love Story tries to delve into the problems of moral policing on young couples and leave them traumatized for life, it mostly shows us huge male ego, misogyny, and feminism.
Being a remake of a 2019 Malayalam movie with the same name, Ishq: Not a Love Story, came with mixed reviews. Though Director SS Raju has done an admirable job in adapting the storyline of the Malayalam movie and showing the effects of moral policing on young and unmarried couples, the vengeful angle of the story creates a problem.
The movie shows Siddharth or Sidhu (Teja Sajju) as an average IT professional in love with his girlfriend Anu (Priya Prakash Varrier) and is looking forward to settling down together. Here we see Siddhu as a person of excessive possessiveness about his girl and how hard he works to make her birthday becomes a remarkable one.
They go on a long drive along Beach Road on her birthday, look for a secluded spot to park their car, and enjoy a lonesome moment with each other. However, their moment doesn’t last long as trouble finds them in the shape of a self-proclaimed police officer, Madhav. He threatens them as an act of moral policing. Things start spiraling down as another so-called police officer joins Madhav, and the Siddhu-Anu duo faces harassment.
The movie starts a romantic journey and turns into horrific events. Though the movie shows Siddhu’s character to be super possessive about his girlfriend initially, and you expect him to care for Anu and ensure she is mentally fine, that is not how the story goes. From the moment of moral policing, the character of Siddhu shows a toxic character of masculinity. It is nothing new to Indian movies.
The movie has done a remarkable job in delving into how horrific an event of moral policing can be. It can be troublesome when every unknown passerby feels it their duty to know about your personal affairs. But what makes it worse is the double entendres of Siddhu’s character that leads Anu to seek years of psychological therapy.
Ishq: Not a Love Story is an odd combination of misogyny and feminism, and the director has failed to establish them parallelly. Anu’s character is shown as a person who is concerned about her family’s defamation. She understands what she needs from her partner, yet she gives Siddhu the lead, even when their thoughts don’t align.
The background music shows Siddhu as a hero who picks up a fight with random men if they look at his girlfriend. Yet, he comes up with cruel revenge ideas on moral policing. Viewers believe that the transition of Siddhy is a little jarring and exaggerated.
Though the young actors, Priya Prakash Varrier and Teja Sajja, gave their best for the movie, you feel the effects of Ravindra Vijay (Madhav, the villain) longer. He plays a twisted, evil character and gathered more praises than the lead pair. Even the chemistry between the lead paid failed to gather admiration. Even the music by Mahati Swara Sagar was ineffective.
Though Ishq: Not a Love Story had more potential, it ended up as a bad display of male ego.