Feels Like Ishq is Netflix’s newest addition to their selection of anthologies. The trailer for the film promised six different tales of love with unique plots and meet-cute moments that would turn the viewers into mush & the film delivers on it, more or less. However, the underlying theme that is consistent throughout these stories is the characterization of love for people from various walks of life.
While Ruchir Arun’s ‘Save the Da(y)te’ takes one on a drive through Goa with a bridezilla on the run, Tahira Kashyap’s ‘Quaranteen Crush’ nudges us towards a pandemic version of a high school romance except it’s not a high school setting at all! While the former might be an overused plot, the subtle commentary on relationships and marriage by Avni (Radhika Madan) and Jay (Amol Parashkar) rescues the plot.
Tahira Kashyap’s directorial debut is a sweet relief as it explores the love story of a sweet nascent boy Maninder (Mihir Ahuja) and Nimmi (Kajol Chugh) who is his temporary neighbour on quarantine. Both share a mutual love towards music and we hear Ayushmann Khurana’s voice and composition through them. The script makes one reminisce about their first love and the naivety that came along with it.
Anand Tiwari’s ‘Star Host’ is set in the charming town of Mahabaleshwar where Aditya (Rohit Saraf) and Tara (Simran Jehani) meet by accident. Their collision sets the tone for a journey of self discovery, love and adventure. While the film is replete with philosophical anecdotes and is supported by good acting, the script falls short at points and makes the audience crave for a more wholesome ending.
‘She loves me, she loves me not’ is directed by Danish Aslam & he beautifully captures the essence of queer love. Muskaan (Sanjeeta Bhattacharya) and Tarasha (Saba Azad) tell their story in an endearing way. From brilliant transitions between scenes to seasoned acting, this short film is lighthearted even if it lacks finesse at certain points. The script delivers a contemporary take on setting boundaries in love and de-stigmatises the romanticism of healing your partner with your love.
Sachin Kundalkar’s ‘Interview’ is a peculiarly fresh take on love and tends to stand out for the same. Shahana’s (Zayn Marie Khan) confidence not only rubs off on Rajeev (Neeraj Madhav) but also rubs off on us as the audience. The ability of the actors to bring justice to a well rounded script is unparalleled. With two protagonists from different cities and cultures, they meet at an interview as we witness an unlikely affection grow.
Jaydeep Sarkar’s ‘Ishq Mastana’ is the final short film of this anthology. From personal baggage to activism, the director pushes Mehr (Tanya Maniktala) and Kabir (Skand Thakur) to find love in an unexpected setting. While the film is unable to achieve a depth of character in 30 minutes, it does leave one feeling warm and fuzzy by the end of it.
While the stories and characters serve us a concoction of mixed feelings and may not necessarily leave a profound impact, the anthology stays true to delivering sweet romantic beginnings, especially heartwarming in the state the world is currently in. This series encourages a diverse range of storytelling in the genre of romance and leaves one yearning for meet-cutes and juvenile love. Feels Like Ishq is a laid-back watch and is set to put one in a good mood through its heartwarming content.
According to me, the anthology has done justice to its proposed crux- young love. It does not deliver happy endings but instead a vague sense of how love stories begin. The audience is left to direct the rest of the lives of the character as they wish, and that in itself is noteworthy.
Feels Like Ishq is now streaming on Netflix.