Ishq Vishk Rebound Review: Pashmina Roshan, In Her Bollywood Debut, Is The Film's Primary Focus Of Attention

Ishq Vishk Rebound Review: If there is one element in the film that is consistently solid, it is Rohit Saraf's performance in an author-backed role. Footage is apportioned equally between him and debutante Pashmina Roshan

Ishq Vishk Rebound Review: Pashmina Roshan, In Her Bollywood Debut, Is The Film's Primary Focus Of Attention

A still from Ishq Vishk Rebound. (courtesy: YouTube)

The bells and whistles and frills and fancies of a coming-of-age romantic drama are crammed intoIshq Vishk Rebound, an uneven but agreeable follow-up to a rom-com (Ken Ghosh's Ishq Vishk) from two decades ago that gave Shahid Kapoor's career a solid start.

If there is one element in Ishq Vishk Rebound that is consistently solid, it is Rohit Saraf's performance in an author-backed role. Footage is apportioned equally between him and debutante Pashmina Roshan, but it is he who holds the film together even when it isn't the easiest thing to accomplish.

In a film that is often confused (sometimes in a nice and harmless sort of way) as its young and restless characters, Saraf shines in the role of an aspiring screenwriter who falls in and out of love (or something akin to it) and uses the ecstatic highs and painful lows that he experiences in the process as grist for his script for a proposed film-within-a-film titled Ishq Vishk 2.0.

How much have the norms of dating changed in the 21 years that have elapsed since the Shahid Kapoor-Amrita Rao starrer was made? Quite a bit, one reckons if Ishq Vishk Rebound is anything to go by. Overthinking the smallest of things is now the norm and young couples in a relationship do not break up without going full-blast with the verbalisation of their thoughts.

You have a lot of growing up to do, a girl says to Raghav (Saraf) when she summarily breaks up with him because he aborts their first sexual encounter to receive a phone call from a friend. I do not matter to you, she surmises. End of argument.

Confrontations, conversations and conciliations abound as the well-intentioned as the goody two-shoes Raghav lurches from one emotional crisis to another. But as he goes along, he loses no opportunity to spill out his feelings and opinions.

Raghav swears by his two childhood pals Sanya (Pashmina Roshan) and Sahir (Jibraan Khan), who are madly and deeply in love but are prone to raging disagreements.

Conscious that he is a perennial kabab mein haddi in an airy-fairy menage e trois in which one angle of the triangle responds to purely non-romantically friendly impulses, he plays a rough and ready philosopher who frequently turns to the lens of the camera in the middle of scenes to share his inner feelings with the audience.

The alienation device has its uses all right, but it does little to provide lasting clarity on how Raghav's mind and heart work. That is hardly surprising. The man himself isn't sure what to make of the break-up between Sanya and Sahir over a trivial matter and the problems that brings in its wake for him.

Around the same time as the Sanya-Sahir split, Riya (Naila Grrewal), an activist and bookseller he takes a shine to, ditches him because she feels he is way too much in thrall of his friends. But when Sanya is at a loose end, Raghav reluctantly drawn into a chill trip with her. The outing ends predictably and threatens to derail the three-cornered friendship.

Coming from the same production stable (Tips Industries) that bankrolled the 2003 film, Ishq Vishk Rebound is directed by Nipun Avinash Dharmadhikari (the maker of the National Award-winning Marathi film Dhappa and the Netflix series Mismatched).

The film is written by Vaishali Naik, Vinay Chhawal and Ketan Padgaonkar with dialogues by Akarsh Khurana (who also appears on screen as Raghav's father). The script certainly has its moments but I undermined by lack of consistency.

Ishq Vishk Rebound, set predominantly in Dehradun, has enough going for it to be passably watchable as four young people navigate matters of the heart and seem make a hash of it as their relationships run aground on the back of imprudent moves.

There is more to life than just dating, one of the youngsters says in a specific context. The film does its bit to prove that point. Sahir and Sanya both have dads who impose their will on them. The former's tyrannical father (Shataf Figar) terrorises him into abandoning his own dreams.

Sanya's absent dad - he is divorced from her cafe owner-mother (Supriya Pilgaonkar) - wants the girl to follow in his footsteps and become a golfer. She lugs her golf kit around ever though her heart is barely in the game.

Raghav's parents are far more sorted but he finds ways to make things difficult for himself. He shies away from fights. Prone to hoping against hope that his problems will go away on their own, he drifts into avoidable imbroglios. Talk about learning the hard way.

For Rohit Saraf, Ishq Vishk Rebound has the potential to be a breakout. Having done films such the Norwegian drama What Will People Say and The Sky Is Pink besides starring in Mismatched, he has the experience to make the most of his first lead role in a genre film. He carries Ishq Vishk Rebound on his shoulders with aplomb.

Pashmina Roshan, in her Bollywood debut, is anything but a finished article, but she is definitely not without promise. She plays one of the two central characters - in fact, she is the film's primary focus of attention and gets top billing - is not as consistent as her principal co-star.

Jibraan Khan and Naila Grrewal have far less footage but in the handful of important scenes that the two are in, they do not fail to pull their weight.

The best way to approach Ishq Vishk Rebound as a viewer is not to expect the world from it. At least parts of it might then pleasantly surprise you.


Pashmina Roshan, Rohit Saraf, Jibraan Khan and Naila Grrewal


Nipun Dharmadhikari