If you're looking for a glitzy, upbeat Bollywood flick, theaters have nothing to offer this weekend but three-week-old Dhoom 3. But out Friday is dark comedy-crime thriller Dedh Ishqiya, a sequel to 2010's critically acclaimed Ishqiya (dedh is Hindi for 1 1/2). Featuring mostly well-seasoned actors (other than relative newcomer Huma Qureshi, 27), Dedh Ishqiya is more complex and sexually charged than typical Bollywood entertainment, although it is still reportedly less profane than its predecessor.
Slow-speaking Naseeruddin Shah and rugged Arshad Warsi return as the star petty criminals, scheming to make money and competing with a crime lord for the favor — and then hopefully the hand — of a wealthy widowed aristocrat and her promiscuous maid (Qureshi). Playing the aristocrat with a weakness for poets — or criminals masquerading as poets — is Madhuri Dixit, a dancing darling of the silver screen in the '80s and '90s taking on her first role since a 2007 "comeback" in Aaja Nachle.
Dixit's popularity hasn't seemed to dim in her decadelong absence from regular roles, and that alone is expected to drive ticket sales. Add solid performers like Shah, a thoughtful writer-director like Abhishek Chaubey, classic-caliber music and a hefty dash of romance, and the expectations are truly running high.
Dedh Ishqiya, with subtitles, opens Friday.
Caitlin E. O'Conner, Times staff writer