Feels Like Ishq
Directors: Ruchir Arun, Tahira Kashyap, Danish Aslam, Anand Tiwari, Sachin Kundalkar, Jaydeep Sarkar
Cast: Radhika Madan, Amol Parashar, Kajol Chugh, Mihir Ahuja, Simran Jehani, Rohit Saraf, Saba Azad, Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, Zayn Marie Khan, Neeraj Madhav, Tanya Maniktala and Skand Thakur
Netflix’s anthology Feels Like Ishq navigates through the different meanings and interpretations of love without ever trying to confine it to preset standards, and respecting its varying definitions.
Anyone who has grown up consuming a fair amount of Bollywood content knows that if you are not singing and dancing in a picturesque location, or going against the entire world to prove your love, it is not special. The six episodes of Feels Like Ishq take a detour from this trope and reminds us that love can be found in the most unlikely, even mundane spaces, and no matter how different each situation might be for the people, it is special.
Ruchir Arun’s Save The Da(y)te, written by Monisha Thyagarajan features a runaway bride’s best friend (Radhika Madan) who forms an unlikely bond with the wedding planner (Amol Parashar) while they are in search of the bride before the ‘muhurat’ passes; whereas Tahira Kashyap’s Quaranteen Crush, written by Ghazal Dhaliwal, will take you back to your teenage days, just with the addition of the pandemic induced lockdown. However, the heart wants what it wants and it finds a way around every situation, even a pandemic.
One might find Bollywood’s flavour in these shorts but they genuinely try to break out from those cliches.
Written by Sulagna Chatterjee, Danish Aslam’s She Loves Me She Loves Me Not deserves applause for normalising a queer love story. In his short, when two women (played by debutante Sanjeeta Bhattacharya and Saba Azad) fall in love, it is neither over the top nor about the struggles of two gay women. It is what it is- a heartfelt journey of two women.
It is for the same reason that Sachin Kundalkar’s Interview stands out. Written by Arati Rawal and starring Neeraj Madhav and Zayn Marie Khan, the story follows two characters who go for a job interview, but come back with a blooming friendship. The short shows the struggle of the working class without being excessively depressing or pushing the idea of toxic positivity that one should always be satisfied with less.
Rohit Saraf and Simran Jehani’s blooming chemistry in a picturesque location in the episode Star Host, directed by Anand Tiwari, will strike a chord, where the former proves that he is more than just his charm and charisma.
Lastly, Ishq Mastana by Shubhra Chatterjee (writer) and Jaydeep Sarkar (director), starring Tanya Maniktala and Skand Thakur, finds its premise in a protest ground where a guy sees his worldview change.
The series has its share of flaws and imperfections and not all the stories boast uniqueness. But it does not take away anything from it because that is where the essence of the series lies.
Netflix’s Feels Like Ishq is neither old wine in a new bottle nor the most unique one you can get your hands on. It is a refreshing lemonade that you would love to sip on a warm summer day.