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Not A Love Story

What's worse than truth? A movie so shamefully voyeuristic and so inept.

Written by Shubhra Gupta
New Delhi | August 19, 2011 6:16:22 pm

Director: Ram Gopal Varma

Cast: Mahie Gill,Deepak Dobriyal,Ajay Gehi

Indian Express rating: *1/2

So a girl who helps her boy-friend chop up a temporary lover is one of those headlines which slaps us in the face of a morning and tells us that truth is,indeed,stranger than fiction. Stranger,and scarier. Then along comes Ram Gopal Varma who makes a film on it,forcing you to ponder some more: can there be anything worse than the truth? Yes,when it’s a movie so shamefully voyeuristic,and so inept.

Actually,terming ‘Not A Love Story’ voyeuristic is like saying the sky is blue: the real-life story of Maria Susairaj and Neeraj Grover that this film is based on invites us to witness the heinous acts humans are driven to when overcome with obsession and blind jealousy.

Varma makes his intentions clear right from the start,zeroing in on a couple of lovers (Gill,Dobriyal) entangled so close that their breaths mingle,along with other body parts. Anusha loves Robin,but she also loves the idea of stardom equally. So off she goes to Mumbai and starts the rounds of the endless auditions-waiting-expectantly-in-coffee-shops-hoping-desperately-for-the-phone-to-ring thing. It does ring,on and off,leading her to the mandatory lecherous producer who puts a paw on her knee,many disappointments and finally to a guy (Gehi) who looks all set to make good on his promise to make her a star.

Till then,there is an attempt,even if oft-seen,at creating an effective snapshot of an excited entrant into Bollyland. But within a too-short period,Anu is staring at the dead,naked body of the self-same guy she slept with in a flash of momentary pity,and the crazed face of her jealous boyfriend,and the sharp knife with which he chops up the stiff. After that,the film is on predictive text: Varma adds nothing but noise to the story we know,from all those panting details that have been splashed in the tabloids.

All we are left with is the detritus,of the body,and a film that could have delved into the minds of those whose lives unravel when a crime of passion occurs: when the hacking is going on,with the kind of ear-shattering background score that Varma laces his films with,to helpfully leach out any subtle notes within,the girl is seen cowering on the balcony of her flat,and thereafter hiding behind dark glasses. That’s the extent to which her disturbed state is revealed. The expressive Gill does what she can,but her knees get more play than her face,which is crowded out by those shades. And Dobriyal,who is handed the shortest end of the stick,doesn’t get to do anything. Other than wield a cleaver,and glower.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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