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Movie review: 'Dangerous Ishhq's' ham-fisted dance with reincarnation

The Indian film by director Vikram Bhatt is wildly over-complicated and difficult to follow. Then there's all the nonsensical 3-D moments.

May 15, 2012|By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Indian Bollywood actors Arya Babbar, Rajneesh Duggal, Karishma Kapoor and Divya Dutta, along with director Vikram Bhatt (far right) attend the premiere screening of "Dangerous Ishhq" in Mumbai.
Indian Bollywood actors Arya Babbar, Rajneesh Duggal, Karishma Kapoor… (Getty Images )

Packing a lot of action — if not a lot of sense — into its story, the Indian film "Dangerous Ishhq" likely won't win over any new believers to the idea of reincarnation as it weaves between a quilt of romantic thriller and historical drama.

The film opens with a Mumbai supermodel (Karisma Kapoor, a star making her return to the screen after an absence of a number of years) preparing to leave for Paris to be an international face for a luxury fashion brand. As she is wavering about whether to leave behind her wealthy industrialist boyfriend, his beachfront home is attacked by a gang of kidnappers. In the ensuing scuffle, she suffers a blow to the head that causes her to start having visions from her past lives.

Looping back though eras, she comes to discover that the answers to her present-day kidnapping conundrum lie within her many pasts, as ancient rituals and rivalries continue to play themselves out in the present day.

It's all wildly over-complicated and at times even a bit difficult to track which era she has stumbled back into.

The idea of the past's effect on the present is handled in such a direct "ah-ha!" manner — scars that unmask character identity, spells that span time — as to feel ham-fisted rather than mystical.

Director Vikram Bhatt previously made "Haunted 3D," India's first 3-D film, and "Dangerous Ishhq" was released in India in 3-D, although it is playing locally only in 2-D. While that explains such visually exciting but narratively nonsensical moments as a room full of elaborately exploding pottery, the jumbled storytelling couldn't be helped by any technological enhancement.

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