To enter a cinema hall, with a pre conceived opinion about the movie is never a good start. But with the recent antics of the director – Ram Gopal Verma, it is difficult for one to not have an opinion, albeit a negative one.
For the uninitiated, to promote the movie RGV resorted to the extremely disgusting, distasteful and insensitive marketing ploy of releasing the trailer of the movie on the same day the verdict of Nikhil Grover-Maria Susairaj case was to be declared, the real life murder case from which the movie draws inspiration.
Despite these adverse thoughts and RGV’s reputation over the last few years, one has to give the Devil its due- this is not a bad movie.
Anusha Chawla (Mahie Gill) is one of the hundreds in Mumbai – trying to make it big in Bollywood, she hails from the not so small town of Chandigarh. Her obsessive boyfriend Robin Fernandes (Deepak Dobriyal) still resides there and keeps calling her every other minute. He asks her why she is panting when she has picked his phone call; you get the boyfriend type, don’t you?
After the usual struggles and casting couch attempts, Anusha finally lands a film role with the help of Ashish Bhatnagar (Ajay Gehi). Her celebration party results in a naked Ashish the next morning at her rented apartment. All hell breaks loose when Robin pays her a surprise visit the same morning and realizes that Ashish has just completed his worst nightmare. In a fit of rage Robin murders Ashish and with the help of Anusha disposes off the body. This is done by brutally hacking it into pieces and packing them off in small white plastic bags (yes, you read it correctly, in plastic bags). With the sheer cold bloodedness displayed by the characters on screen, having sex for example, while the dead body is rotting – the director does manage to shock you and make you squirm in your seats. Also he tends to trust Sandeep Chowta’s excellent background score over any dialogues his writers could come up with, frequently using the former over the latter.
Post the murder though; the movie does drag a bit, before the cops come into the picture. The inspector (Zakir Hussain — brilliant cameo) figures out the nuts and bolts and makes Anusha squeal. Some of the best scenes of the movie play out now, along with the brilliant rehashed version of the Rangeela Re song (Sandeep Chowta). The final court room sequences are a bit over the top, with the parents of the dead raising the eq, making it seem a bit out of sync with the rest of the movie. The final kissing scene of Anusha and Robin though, is the icing on the cake that displays the animalistic nature of the principal characters.
Regarding the performances, Mahie Gill is excellent as the Maria inspired Anusha. She plays the grey character to the hilt, never once inspiring any sympathy from the audience but displaying the pain and angst of a shattered dream. In a role very different from the goofy ones he has played so far, Deepak Dobriyal displays his depth as an actor in his portrayal of Jerome/Robin. Watch his audacity as he questions the cops, “Aap mere jagah kya karte?” and you cringe even more in your seat. The shock and awe effect is complete.
Couple of more points needs to be mentioned about the movie.
First, can someone please tell RGV to stop playing with the camera? We do not want the vibrating cameras and those silly angles. The first half of the movie shows Mahie Gill’s curves in so many different ways, it is downright cheap and embarrassing to watch. For heavens this was not meant to be a soft porn movie, atleast that is what I thought!
Secondly, the more serious thought of the motive behind RGV making this movie.
Look there are several reasons to make a movie, ranging from noble ones of satisfying your creative juices to pure commercial ones. Money can be made from cinema by making hard core realistic movies and also by making porn. RGV clearly wanted to make a quick buck by squeezing out whatever was left out of the sensational real life murder. Sensationalizing from sorrow is not new to RGV, remember the Maharashtra CM lost his job for giving him a terror tour post 26/11.
I cannot imagine the joy of making a movie when you know at the core your objective is to titillate the audience by feeding them this kind of voyeuristic cinema. And the very same reason forms the guilt as a viewer while watching this movie, you know what you are being shown and why, and your conscience will not let you enjoy it, hopefully.
In the end, Not a Love Story turns out to be a disturbing movie. One is reminded of the recent Shaitan which too was disturbing but certainly not distasteful which this one in my opinion is. The mind also ponders towards No One Killed Jessica, a far more careful portrayal of another high profile real murder case.
There is an inherent uncomfortable feeling which one experiences while watching this movie. It somehow feels plain insensitive to watch the gruesome scenes playing out on screen knowing that they possibly happened for real.
Sorry RGV, the popcorn is harder to gulp down with these thoughts in mind.