Love Sex Aur Dhokha

Lead Actors: Anshuman Jha, Nushrat Bharucha, Raj Kumar Yadav, Neha Chauhan, Amit Sial, Arya Banerjee, Herry Tangdi
Genre: Documentary, Crime
Rating: 4/5

Love, Sex aur Dhokha (LSD) is for a mature audience that has an understanding of today’s pervasive Indian media. LSD has a feel of having been shot on personal camcorder and store-cams which provides a raw feel to the stories. The plot has 3 stories set in Mumbai, which intersect each other once or more, but do not necessarily influence each other’s direction. Concerted effort has been put in to sketch into celluloid, a successful and symbiotic relationship between today’s voyeuristic audience base and overbearing media that channelize the former’s needs. In the film, each story is focussed upon for 35-40 minutes. Story 1 is about a young couple – an average middle-class boy, Rahul (Anshuman Jha) and rich girl Shruti (Nushrat Bharucha), both students of a film institute in Mumbai who fall in love and want to get married. While filming their first amateur on-field movie, Rahul and Shruti fall in love. Unable to confront Don of a father (Shruti’s), the couple elopes and gets hitched. Post wedding when the couple breaks the news to Shruti’s father, they get killed.

Story 2 is based in a mid-size supermarket in Mumbai. It’s about a store supervisor Adarsh (Raj Kumar Yadav) and his resolve to bed a lady supervisor Rashmi (Neha Chauhan) and video-record it. The big idea is to then sell the footage to a TV channel for big money. By talking nice, not acting fresh too soon, and by displaying feelings of jealousy (sometimes genuine), Adarsh floors Rashmi, who trusts him enough eventually to engage in physical contact. Footage captured, it is eventually sold. Story 3 is about a TV news reporter and a Bollywood item girl, and is about carrying out a sting operation against a famous Bollywood music director. The reporter Prabhat (Amit Sial) is down with counter-allegations regarding similar work earlier and the struggling starlet Naina (Arya Banerjee) is being taken advantage of physically by a renowned music director Louki (Herry Tangdi) whose claim to fame is a supposedly famous yet lewd song composition ‘Tu nangi achchi lagti hai’. The sting is planned and carried out perfectly. When Louki is confronted with the footage and a warning to go public, he pulls out a gun and shoots Prabhat in the leg. The latter part occurs in the supermarket where Adarsh and Rashmi work. Link to Story 1 is that Shruti and Rashmi are best friends and the 2 couples meet to casually hobnob. The 2 couples meet once again in a hospital where Prabhat is being treated after the gun-shooting incident, and before Rahul-Shruti’s betrothal.

PERFORMANCES:

All actors in this movie are unknown and/or are new faces. LSD does not have dance sequences, so the challenge for the actors was to only prove their acting prowess. The three couples are protagonists in their respective stories and don’t eat into footage of any other. In Story 1, Anshuman Jha as Rahul forms a good impression on the viewers as a timid individual, and we see Anshuman only when he’s shooting himself during conversations. Nushrat as the silly, shy Shruti was more the glamour element. Another big impression will probably be the character of Shruti’s father. A haughty, sly, guthka-chewing, red-haired Mumbai trader, his mannerisms, dialogue delivery and diction with slang are memorable, who gets Shruti and Rahul killed in the end. Story 2 is shot on store-cams so we see people only from a distance. Raj Kumar Yadav as Adarsh seemed like the most mature actor in entire cast. His speaking style, usage of space around him, hand-gestures etc were adequate, and of a confident actor who probably had good vision of the scene from camera-view. He has lived his character well by emoting various personality traits – comedy, anger, sadness, lust, jealousy, etc. Neha Chauhan had to play a timid girl Rashmi, embarrassed and socially shy because of her monetary situation. If it is not justified how Neha could not portray Rashmi easily falling in love with Adarsh, it’s a directorial flaw, given the story-time.

Story 3 had Amit Sial playing reporter Prabhat who’s gung-ho about his new project with Naina. His excitement, frustration and concern for starlet Naina (Arya Banerjee) are all well-captured. In comparison to Arya though, Amit seemed more wooden on screen and does not provide great depth in terms of emotions. It could have been that Prabhat’s characterization was dry to maintain the common man’s take on a reporter’s lifestyle. Arya Banerjee has played the starlet role of Naina to perfection, almost. Sometimes reminding the viewer of today’s Bollywood starlet, Rakhi Sawant, the wicked seductive advances, silly talk, loud emotional outbursts, and the drama queen tendencies have been very well knit together by Arya into Neha’s character. Also worthy of mention is the effervescent character, Louki played by Herry Tangdi, who has uniquely portrayed cunningness, charm, zest, fear, lust, frustration all in 10-15 minutes. There is a certain comic element in him and may somewhat match viewer expectations of how Louki would look and behave.

DIRECTION, SCREENPLAY & CINEMATOGRAPHY:
The film was not meant to be a breakthrough of sorts, but it does bottom-line how voyeurism (direct and indirect) plays a significant role in today’s Indian lifestyle. The stories are not very novel given their abundance today, Story 1 was clichéd and does not enliven viewer’s sensibilities, probably only to evoke humor by pointing at the dead-beaten-horse with sequences like boy wooing girl, pataoing her dad, etc. Stories 2 and 3 are more mature and highlight issues which have been common incidents in the recent past, but are big only because they’re now witnessed by common public through media’s overbearing interest in selling any type of news. More than the crime rating to such incidents, the voyeuristic interest of the common mass is what seems to fuel the media. But the main challenge for Director Dibakar Banerjee must have been optimizing screen-time and move the three stories along the same theme (peeping). Credit must be given in terms of not using many actors, locations or storyline to paint a larger-than-required picture. Stories 2 and 3 are weaved within the parameters of the main message, but somehow Story 1 does not connect. May be in the Director’s vision, Story 1 was a warm-up so the audience can expect watching scenes as if shot by the actors in the scene, themselves. The way each story proceeds, the viewer does have an idea of what to expect and Dibakar succeeds in creating some edgy moments for the curious viewer who’s wondering about next turn of events.

Screenplay. The stories proceed in a non-linear fashion, so there probably has not been much work in creating common ground except create couple of scenes with all actors. Although, the big challenge has been about containing a story within the parameter of its time limits and locations relevant to the story. The movie has been shot like a tele-serial, or more like a daily conversation. Facial expressions, incomplete sentences, double entendre, and colloquialisms have been effectively used to add momentum to the story without having the actors to mouth exhaustive, dramatic dialogues. There is no background music, no melodrama, and this adds to realism in the movie. The editing is very good in that there is good amount of footage to actors in their respective story. Sometimes unjustified, but quality of give-and-take between the actors is not appreciable and not appealing in a movie-format. The justification could be though that the movie was meant to appear conversational and real-life.

Cinematography by Nikos Andritsakis is very intelligently pursued and packaged. Bluntly, the format can be compared to the recently released indie movie, Paranormal Activity. Shot as if the actors themselves are the DoP, scenes with intended shaking of the camera, the angle at which camera is held, motion, stability etc, actually make the viewer believe that the camera is the actor’s hands. Stories 1 and 3 shot from a close-up range, the challenge must have been to make sure the subjects are in the field of vision, sometimes chopped off to add to the reality effect. Story 2 must have been the real challenge with 2-3 CCTV cameras creating the field of view. The faces are not clearly visible always and there are a lot of distracting objects since it’s a departmental store, but being able to capture the conversation, while having the subjects in sufficient amount of zoom along with the background, would have been the big thing for Nikos. Locations, clothing are very ordinary all along and nothing very titillating for the eyes. Naina is most glamorous of the three girls, and Nikos has been able to capture the nature of her character through her looks, body gestures, her gait and how she carries herself in provocative clothing. Other actors, their screen presence has depended a lot on how they’ve used space around themselves, sitting or standing.

Why 4/5:
Filmed with limited amount of resources, the movie categorically sheds light on the newly available, dark conduits of voyeurism; how the society and media work in synergy to put everything on telly, no emotions involved. At the risk of appearing to have been shot with unappealing video quality, and suggesting to have been filmed using hand-held camcorders, store cams, etc, this new-age photography combined with good screenplay and direction manages to add great viewer appeal to LSD. The 3 stories have been developed well in the limited amount of time allocated for each. The film, although a fresh concept technically, loses 1 point because of illustrating known stories which have been widely reported in media in recent years. Of course, the other side of the coin is depicting background events that lead to such incidents. Also, acting performances could have been much better to add to make it appear more mainstream and this is one point I debate on with myself, in recursion. It was was probably intended that the actors maintain their raw appeal and act very ‘everyday’, or may be the amateur actors were able to pull off only so much and let the story become the star instead of themselves. Any case, the big credit must go to the director Dibakar Banerjee for taking up a bold script and  give it life. All in all, the subject is also a holler to the society to be more careful about personal activities, and do believe that voyeurism is immortal!
Advertisements

Write Here, Write Now

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • "What is this..movie reviews and all? Chaa!! Do you ever think outside films?" - if this is exactly what you are itching to ask, may I interest you in my other blog Sandeepish?
%d bloggers like this: