Film Review: Dangerous Ishhq

What at first appears to be a conventional thriller about a woman's desperate efforts to rescue her kidnapped fiancé takes a mystical turn.

Successful model Sanjana (Karisma Kapoor) and her boyfriend, Rohan (Rajniesh Duggal), have just gotten engaged when the unthinkable happens: A mob of masked kidnappers bursts in and drags him away. Knocked unconscious during the melee, Sanjana wakes up in an eerily empty hospital to find the wounded Rohan in a hallway, calling her name—though the name he's calling her is “Gita”—as an angry, torch-wielding mob surges through the corridors, baying for which point she really wakes up to a different kind of nightmare.

Sanjana checks herself out and goes directly to Rohan's home; to her shock and dismay, his family is incredibly hostile, as though she were somehow responsible for his abduction. Police Inspector Singh (Jimmy Shergil), who's heading up the investigation, is a little warmer—not that he could be much colder—but treats her as an unneeded distraction in a delicate situation. The only person she can talk to is her friend Neeta (Divya Dutta), who's supportive but clearly disturbed when Sanjana keeps relating her increasingly vivid dreams, which take place in various historical periods but all follow the same tragic trajectory: Incarnations of Sanjana and Rohan are deeply in love, but are betrayed by a false friend who wants her for himself and will do whatever it takes to get Rohan out of the way.

Sanjana finally consults a psychiatrist who assures her that she isn't going crazy: Her dreams are actually memories of past lives and since she and Rohan have been living out the same experience over and over, those memories may just contain information that Sanjana can use to alter the version now unfolding. The key is, of course, the present-day identity of the triangle's dangerous third leg, but while Sanjana and Rohan look just like their present-day selves in each interation, his face is different every time.

Yes, Amin Hajee's screenplay hinges on past-life regression, but if you can go with the premise of, say, Ghost, then you can go with this one, which allows director Vikram Bhatt to deliver four stories—three set in the exotic past—for the price of one. And to his credit, he keeps all the narrative plates spinning gracefully, slowing revealing the differences in the paths each variation takes to its predestined end, differences that make it more difficult for Sanjana to tease out the constant that could save her Rohan.

Dangerous Ishhq (“love”) has none of the show-stopping musical numbers that are a staple of most Bollywood films, though there is a nightclub sequence in which the police try to trap the kidnappers as a floor show featuring a glamorous singer backed by dancers in creepy mime costumes plays out in the background.