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Ishq Vishk Rebound Is A Polycule Of Stupid People

Ishq Vishk Rebound reserves a truckload of apathy for the young people. Nothing else explains the shared intent of the makers to make the youth look more disinterested, annoying and boring.

Ishq Vishk Rebound Is A Polycule Of Stupid People

Promo poster for Ishq Vishk Rebound

Last Updated: 03.14 PM, Jun 21, 2024

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EVERYTHING about Ishq Vishk Rebound feels like a marvel. I will start with the basics. It is incredulous that three people wrote this film (Vaishali Naik, Vinay Chhawal and Ketan Pedgaonkar are credited) when a ten-year-old could have thought the plot and no one would have raised an eyebrow. It is equally unbelievable that actual human beings wrote the dialogues for there are gems I will carry with me till the end of time. Sample these: A studio executive (?) tells a budding writer: “Don’t think I am acting fresh with you but your writing is very fresh”; later when he misses his deadline, she retorts, “When am I getting the climax?”; the said writer, who does not write a single word in the whole film, thoughtfully remarks, “Writing is difficult…like love”; later a middle-aged woman says a line capable of winning at the Olympics if sprinting-to-generalisation was a game: “Broken ghar ke bachche hamesha disturbed rehte hain” (Kids from broken homes are always disturbed). 

Why Ishq Vishk Rebound exists is a question that answers itself. Two decades back, Ishq Vishk (2003) was released and its success launched the careers of the lead actors. The Ken Ghosh film has not aged well (many would say it was Cocktail, the 2014 Homi Adajania film with fraught gender politics, of its time) but there was genuine newness in the proceedings which, aided by a terrific album, encapsulated the curiosity of youth better than most outings did at that time. Reviving the franchise at this time makes sense given how the young continue to baffle and that there is a dearth of stories about them. But the problem with Ishq Vishk Rebound, one among the many, is that its understanding of the people in the frame is as much as mine of the stock market, which is to say not much. And it is capable of derailing the non-existing careers of the actors involved. 

There are four leads in the film, all have jobs but their primary profession is interfering into each other’s lives. There is Raghav Pandit (Rohit Saraf), the writer who doesn’t write, Saahir (Jibraan Khan), the army man who doesn’t cut his hair, Ria (Naila Grrewal), the owner of a thrift shop who does not repeat her outfit throughout the outing so really not the best face of sustainable fashion, and Saina (Pashmina Roshan), a supposed golfing champion who holds the golf stick only once in the film and that too to throw them in the water (Don’t ask).

The film, I think, takes place across two timelines (it is difficult to be sure when none of the characters change their expressions). One unfolds in the present day when Raghav is in Mumbai and writing a film and the other takes place a year back (really not sure) when they are students of Spencer College (there was a college of the same name in Ishq Vishq) in Dehradun. Back in the day, everyone was in love with everyone. Literally. 

Here is where you need to pay attention. Saahir and Saina were initially a couple. They used to fight, break up and patch up, and the person instrumental in putting them back together is Raghav, the third person in the friendship and their common best friend. Now, Raghav falls in love with Ria when he sees her at a protest holding a placard that says, “protest”. If this does not make one fall in love with somebody else then what can? Anyway, I digress. Soon enough Ria gets uncomfortable with the closeness of Raghav, Saahir and Saina, and breaks up. Then Saahir and Saina break up. Then Raghav and Saina hook up. The rest of the film is just more of the same.

Still from Ishq Vishk Rebound.
Still from Ishq Vishk Rebound.

I am not sure if there is another way of putting it but Ishq Vishk Rebound reserves a truckload of apathy for the young people. Nothing else explains the shared intent of the writers and the director, Nipun Dharmadhikari, to make the youth look more disinterested, annoying and boring than they have in a while. The film gives them zero personalities (although the competition is fierce, I have not come across a more exasperating character like Saina), they start all their sentences with “bro”, and everything about them (each has one character trait at best) comes back to their parents like they are hollow beings, incapable of thinking. 

Why is Saina needy? Because her parents are divorced. Why is Saahir too focussed on his career? Because he has an overbearing father. Why is Raghav non-confrontational? Because he hasn’t seen his parents confront each other. Why does Raghav break the fourth wall? Because he thinks he is Fleabag. And while we are at questions, I have a final one query: what is the weather at Dehradun exactly? We see Raghav only wearing sweatshirts, Saahir only sweaters and Saina wearing bralettes and shorts. But I digress, again. 

Honestly, it is difficult to pay attention to Ishq Vishk Rebound for how incompetent and unserious it is. In one scene, the camera kept swirling from one scene to another and made me nauseous. In another, where Saina plays golf (yes, the very one where she throws the sticks into the water), the scene transitions like a golf ball. Later, Raghav gets a job at a production company whose name is ... Tips (the same one bankrolling this film) and a party song takes place at a beach that has speakers of “Boat”, the electronic company. While witnessing this horror one after another, as characters continued to fall in and out of love with one another, it struck me that Ishq Vishk Rebound is not about rebound. It is most definitely not about love. It is about a group of polyamorous people who have a shared kink of stupidity. 

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