The powerful role of Zoya (Ishaqzaade) is becoming the talk of the town, a brief analogy between Zoya & Muthazhagu (Paruthiveeran).
Ishaqzaade is probably the most women centric film to have come out from the commercial stable. Similar to how people associate good cinematography with flashy - oscillating shots that stand outside of the film rather than be integrated to it, women-centric roles are recognized only when the protagonist brings about violence on screen. Muthazhagu (in Paruthiveeran) was recognized as a great women centric role not because that the character stood up to Paruthi in the aftermath of the interval block, but for the climactic battle & the vehement tenaciousness it portrayed to signify the love for Paruthi in the confrontation scene between Muthazhagu & her parents. Yet here is a film (and a role) which doesn’t go over the top to emphasize the stubbornness of Zoya.
Baring the opening block that acts merely as a gimmick, Zoya like any women of today, faces threats from all & sundry in the form of subjugation & constant reminder that she is after all a woman. A Muthazhagu would have snarled at the person who had tried to boss her. But Zoya lets the opponent to still be at large while she stands firms in her point aided by the air of confidence that oozes out of her. It isn’t Zoya’s weakness that she is better accessible than Muthazhagu who had confined her life only to Paruthiveeran. Because, while Muthazhagu is an audience’s delight, modeled to cut short people with her quirkiness & nails her point across the board, Zoya is modeled to be a challenging debater who lets you speak as well. True to that point, Zoya at every point in her life remains unfazed by all the negativity surrounding her. That doesn’t mean she is all tightened within. She is a girl, when insulted by a guy, gets into a jeep & guns him down using a pistol that she bought by selling her jewels. Her grip over the world is so intoxicating that we would have forgotten that this movie is primarily a love story, if not for the wonderful preluding sequence for the enchanting song - ‘Paresham’. Akin to the catch phrase of the song, Zoya is troubled by the unheralded entry of a guy into a territory, she never realized existed. Though perturbed & angered by the forceful events, she remains composed & that is where Parineeta Chopra who lives the life of Zoya scores the most, displaying those mixed emotions with élan.
Even though Priyamani & her Muthazhagu will always be appreciated for the woman power they brought on screen, they couldn’t overshadow a male dominated script which won the hero, star status instantaneously. But with Ishaqzaade, a film centered on & around the life of Zoya, commercial cinema finally has got a strong women centric film that doesn’t ask for its leading leady to be differently-abled to showcase her deftness.
Harish S Ram