Ishq Vishk Rebound: Rohit Saraf carries a cute but misguided rom-com

Karishma Jangid
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Ishq Vishk Rebound

A worthy successor to the young, romantic Shahid Kapoor has arrived, but in a rather confused rom-com that lacks the charm of its predecessor.

Whoever watched Mismatched and thought, "Hey! Rohit Saraf is very much like a young Shahid Kapoor"- you were right! Thank you for your service! And to those who thought, "We don't have enough romcoms in Bollywood. Let's make one"- good call, but we need to do better!

I'll never fully grasp my longing for old Bollywood cliché romcoms. Is it their charm or just nostalgia? Substance seems irrelevant. Regardless, I yearn for them. Remember Ishq Vishk? Mindless yet charming, right? And young Shahid Kapoor? Charm multiplied by ten. So, when Ishq Vishk Rebound kicked off mindlessly, I didn't mind. I actually enjoyed it. Sanya (Pashmina Roshan), Sahir (Jibraan Khan), and Raghav (Saraf) are lifelong best friends. Sanya and Sahir are a couple, with Raghav often feeling like the third wheel. Eventually, Raghav meets Riya (Naila Grrewal), an environmental activist. However, trouble arises when Raghav prioritizes his friends over Riya. Meanwhile, Sanya and Sahir's relationship also hits a rough patch. After overcoming their heartbreaks, Raghav and Sanya start dating.

Also Read: 11 years later, Ishq Vishk still lives rent-free in our hearts via these moments

The film starts charmingly in the scenic hills of Dehradun with three privileged kids who are always laughing together. The sets are posh and the costumes are excessively aesthetic. Saraf shines with his adorable and humorous portrayal, marking a fresh addition to Indian rom-coms. As Raghav, he's not just charming but also displays solid acting skills, embodying a man-child who dishes out advice while lacking maturity himself. His knack for saying the wrong things at the wrong time is hilarious. So far, so good.

The second half derails quickly though. If you want to make a no-brainer rom-com, please go ahead. There is an audience for it, me included. However, adding maturity for maturity’s sake is irritating. The second half of Ishq Vishk Rebound tries pretty hard to provide a mature understanding of the parent-child bond. It attempts to establish itself as a deep movie that understands love in all its forms, but the truth is that it doesn’t. All the conflicts in the film seem insincere, half-baked and misplaced. Initially, Raghav struggles to write a climax for his script. The writers of the film also seem similarly confused about Ishq Vishk Rebound's climax; it is a haphazard and unappealing conclusion with no substance. Moreover, the film suffers from uneven pacing, sloppy camera work and editing, and the jarring inclusion of Punjabi songs in a Dehradun-based narrative

The characters are poorly written. Raghav wins a college play and gets a chance to write a Bollywood script under a cruel boss, played well by Kusha Kapila. Struggling scriptwriters in Mumbai would find this infuriating. Sanya shifts from golfer to painter to baker, with her life revolving around men who break her heart. The worst-written character is Riya, an environmental activist limited to college protests and thrift stores. The film tries desperately to please Gen Z but does so with ignorance and fakeness, lacking any real understanding, which is why it fails. At the same time, it looks down upon being woke. The writers seem confused about their moral compass and try to force it into the story when the film could have benefited without it.

Even so, Saraf has done the heavy lifting for a long time, and I am thankful, but eventually, you start to get tired of it. Roshan's constant repetition of the same expression makes it hard to tell if her naive, and even dumb, portrayal of Sanya is due to her acting or the script. Regardless, it remains weak and unflattering. Khan tries, but his role is limited. I've liked Grewal since 'Maamla Legal Hai'; she does well here too, but she's better suited for realistic roles rather than dreamy ones. Perhaps the best part of the film is Sheeba Chadha's guest appearance who is rewarded with something meaningful, unlike most other characters.

If you enjoy light-hearted rom-coms and can overlook the script as long as the lead is charming, Ishq Vishk Rebound can be a decent choice. However, if you're waiting for a quintessential Bollywood rom-com, you'll have to wait longer.

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