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I Hate Luv Storys

Intended Genre: RomCom
Actual Genre:   Romance meets Silly Drama meets Lame Comedy meets Straight face
Rating: 2/5

I don’t hate love stories, but ‘luv storys’, I probably should. ‘Luv’ and ‘Storys’ should have set my expectations but admiration for Bollywood takes a toll on me now and then. 87.82% of IHLS's opening week viewership  may have simply been because of the title. No matter how catchy the title of a Bollywood love story gets, the lead pair must and should end up together, so there, that’s the entire plot of IHLS by Punit Malhotra in one line. Putting in sequence, two assistants (Imran as Jay, Simran as Sonam) working under Bollywood Film Director Veer (Samir Soni) start off debating on love, etc. Jay is your typical ladkibaaz (casanova), Simran is the dreamer-chick with a perfect partner in Raj (Sameer Dattani). As it had to be, an already-engaged Simran develops feelings for Jay who does not reciprocate. Jay realizes his fault eventually, goes back to woo Simran who’s now back with the non-complaining Raj (Sameer Dattani), and hence won’t reciprocate. Jay uses inspiration from brand captions like Nike, Go Air, (and sponsors who paid less so weren't part of the reels), lecture series from his mom, his friends, a film actor, Veer and the Editor-knows-who-else; plays on Simran’s mind by sowing seeds of jealousy through his Casanova ways. What do you know; Jay and Simran unite and live happily ever after.

Imran Khan has come a long way. Although he’s not yet comparable to his peers (Ranbir, Shahid, etc), he has grown leaps as an actor, especially in comparison to his previous performances he managed to get signed off, FTW! Imran in IHLS is much of a stone, still. His face is mostly wooden, so expressions are out the window. Sarcasm, you’d know he’s pulling one because of the distinctive background music, only. His dialogue delivery is very monotonous and is sometimes reminiscent of Fardeen Khan from the gem, Prem Aggan. Imran’s main connect with the audience is his looks/style. If you can ignore his eyebrow-forest, he’s got a trendy fashion sense, carries off a non-filmy hairstyle with ease. His discomfort in front of the camera though, is evident. Imran seems more at ease with himself when he shares screen space. He appears charming alongside ladies; could have done better if not for his apparent two left feet. With washboard abs on the way and an ability to portray dejection/gloom, he could possibly do action but has a long, long way to go before completely shouldering a rom-com.

IHLS is a good pick for Sonam Kapoor simply for the screen time she gets. As Simran, she has bounced back and forth between being a teeny-bopper and a charming lady. For the most part you will visualize her as a young doe in love, so her dialogues are sugary. But Sonam’s range and variety of expressions are limited and she does not do well with sarcasm and anger. When she rolled her eyes, I wasn't sure if she was irritated or was fainting away. Her body language though is better in comparison to Imran’s. Simran is mostly glamorous (coming from a well-to-do family) and has capitalized well on her pretty smile. Areas of improvement would be – her expressions, mainly.

There’s not much merit to Veer (Samir Soni) except that he’s a fun detour when the screenplay goes for a walk. Same goes for Samir Dattani as Raj. His characterization as an I-Banker is very lame. Raj is all about uncool clothes, white flowers, sorrys, thank yous, honeys, sweetys; basically a pushover who deserves his girl walking out the door more than once to explore another world, Jay’s, and not to return. Bluntly, Sameer’s inability to act is transparent.

For a newcomer, Director/ Story & Screenplay-writer Punit Malhotra is just about OK. Punit has woven a story without substance that has already been told a zillion times in the last two decades. The actors’ performances and the loose screenplay totally threw IHLS under the bus. The treatment is very average, but is saved (however little) by good production values of Dharma Productions. Comedy is interspersed at regular intervals, but Imran and Sonam don’t help pull it off. Otherwise, there is liberal mocking at KJo and Yashraj’s films, a director’s behavior on sets (rumored to be a dig against SLB), etc. The chemistry between Imran and Sonam is missing, a department Punit needs to focus on next time. Bollywood film-making for a story backdrop is well-incorporated. Unjustified elements like Raj’s characterization, loose dialogue and inability to evoke humour are just a few negatives. The movie drags on and on; very little is conveyed with so much screen time and it really feels like a saga at the end.

If the final cut had the best there could have been, my heart goes out to  Editor Akiv Ali for chaffing out kilometers of trash that was canned. Either that, or having a great repertoire as an Film Editor wonder how Akiv got trumped. Cinematography by Ayananka Bose is the most notable aspect of IHLS. The close-up shots, the glamour, the gloom, the toned bodies, the fashion, the arty film-sets, the full-length shots, the song sequences, the mountains and outdoors in NZ, the colours (reds, whites and pinks especially), the bedroom scenes (Jay/Simran lazing around), the interiors (office, home, restaurants, shooting locations): all pure quality work. Ayananka has made the lead pair look very trendy. Ayananka even made their body language wake up from slumber. Background music by Vishal-Shekhar is better than compositions in the album. The background music set the right tone for each scene, playing a good substitute for critical-yet-missing elements. The songs in IHLS as such are not very catchy, Bin Tere being a stand-out.

Why 2/5:
The bad – performances, direction, screenplay, chemistry, music
The good – editing, cinematography, comedy
Although a lot of work appears sub-par, the cast and crew’s efforts shine through at irregular intervals. The actors grew through the movie, hence creditable. Go watch IHLS if you are a Bollywood fan, if not of KJo/Imran/Sonam.


varsha said...

Totally agree with the review and yes I pity the editor too! Although you could have elaborated a little more on Imran's stony face...and Sonam Kapoor's squeaky voice....hahaaha! And...I don't agree about the music...all the songs stand out.

Sunny said...

Thank you. Can't talk enough about Imran's stony face. Look at the image (poster) in the review, his facial expression is supposed to bleed sarcasm and disgust at the 'lovergirl'. But Imran was having a bad-stomach day, it feels like. I did not notice Sonam's squeaky voice, it probably got overshadowed by so many other things I was pondering over.

Music, I went by popular opinion. It's not grown on enough folks. Time should tell, I suppose?

Sunny said...

Punit has lost it. To quote him, his grandmother thinks he deserves an Oscar for IHLS! Sure, Luck and Kidnap deserve one each.

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