I Hate Luv Storys

So you’ve just settled into your favourite chair with a Terry Pratchett novel — one that you’ve read five times already but just can’t help revisiting every so often. Just as you’re building into your first chuckle of the evening, the doorbell rings. It’s your neighbour. The guy’s just moved in, but is the I-wanna-make-friends-with-everyone type. There’s one in every apartment block, I’m sure.

He makes some small talk (idhar udhar ki baatein, vagaira vagaira…), then launches into this spiel about how he’s been furniture shopping all weekend. Talks about how he loves classic designs, whatever that might be. Then he asks you to come over to his place and take a look at the stuff he’s just bought. Not exactly how you envisioned spending the evening, but he’s got this puppy-dog earnestness that makes it difficult to say no. So you put the Pratchett down and head over to his place to see…

Furniture parts. In the master bedroom, for instance, there’s a bunch of planks, parts that presumably comprise a frame and a plastic bag with nuts and bolts, all neatly arrayed in one corner. You move from room to room, seeing variations on the same theme, sneaking peeks at your neighbour’s face to see if there’s a punch line coming. Nope, the guy’s earnest as they come. When you’re done with the furniture show, such as it is, he looks at you with this expectant smile, as if to ask: “Well, what do you think?”

So you stand there and weigh your options:

1. You could bash the guy’s skull in with one of the planks in the bedroom.
2. You could say nothing, shake your head slowly and go back to Sam Vimes and Captain Carrot.
3. You could say to yourself, well, two can play this game. And tell him what you think about each plank and nut (including him) in the house.

Me, I’m going with Option 3. Read on…

Plot: Boy-who-doesn’t-believe-in-love meets Girl-who-does against the backdrop of a romantic film-within-a-film that references every Yash-Raj-Dharma romantic movie in recent times. If you can’t fill in the rest, you haven’t watched enough rom-coms, and this one gives no reason to add to your meagre count.

Hero: Imran Khan does well when he needs to raise an eyebrow or clown around. But when he gets serious, he contributes heavily to the com portion of the rom-com without meaning to.

Heroine: Sonam has the sort of sunny screen presence that is perfect for this sort of material. She has very little to do, and does it winsomely enough.

Loser(s): These stories typically give both leads significant others who get dumped before the end. Sameer Dattani plays an “Investment banker. London se“. Personally, I have friends who fit that description, but anyone who actually introduces himself like that deserves to get dumped. Preferably in a vat of toxic debt. Bruna Abdullah seems to be auditioning for a Foley artist gig — the next time you want someone to provide the sound effect for nails scraping on blackboard, you know whom to ask.

Sidekick: Usually, the hero and/or the heroine have sidekicks who are always on hand to provide useless advice. This time, it’s just the hero, and the sidekick in question is the pudgy guy from the Sprite ads. He has a few shining moments, notably one where he displays a graph that looks something as follows:

The Hyperplane of Desirability

The Hyperplane of Desirability

Anything that expects people to remember their co-ordinate geometry in order to get the joke is a plus. I’m still waiting for the day when they start putting stochastic differential equations about love on screen. After all, with investment bankers (from London) on the scene, can Black-Scholes formulae for pricing the option of falling in love with one guy while being engaged to another be far behind? Then again, we might end up with consultants (from New York) and end up with 2×2 grids.

Rom: Much has been made of the chemistry between the leads. Frankly, I didn’t see much. They looked good together, and had a few scenes that worked, but nothing earth-shattering.

Com: There’s a running gag about the people in the hero’s life calling him aΒ  girl. His mom included. Instead of the customary gay-related digs alone, this one has lines targeted at the entire LGBT spectrum. Not sure if this counts as progress, but given how the rest of the movie is, I’ll take what I get.

Director (of film-within-film): Samir Soni has among the best roles in the film. His lunacy has such a perfect pitch that a full-out spoof centered on him would not be entirely unwelcome. Preferably one written by someone who knows what he is doing.

Director (of this film): Nut.


11 thoughts on “I Hate Luv Storys

  1. Banno says:

    Since I’ve forgotten whatever co-ordinate geometry I had learned, I decided to give this film the miss. πŸ™‚

    Your build-up makes a better film.

  2. PV says:

    Imran Khan appears to be a one-hit wonder thus far.

    Not many random variables in Desi Rom-Coms – so no room for S.Diff.Eqns

  3. The director IN the movie is the only comic touch that brought out my laughs. Everything else was too predictable. The film unsuccessfully struggled to escape being victim of the same comedic derision it shot at similar romantic films..crap trying to crap on crap.

  4. Ground Nut Bawls says:

    (Yeah that’s Punit protesting his chakki peesing over here!) πŸ˜€

    “favorite chair”– aiyyo ennadhidhu, ellarom chair chair-ngara? (ok, that’s coz I caught first half of Kola Kola Ya Mundhirikka last night; final countdown, tonight).

    Also, first 3 lines of your para 3 reminded me of compli’s “complaint” (from couple years back), on how his sister (possibly also playing up puppy-dog earnestness) had “conned” him into a complicated furniture assembly project; precious hours of East Coast weekend spent piecing planks together with perfectly packaged nuts and bolts from IKEA, he said. You, otoh, got lucky, thanks to Plan 3.

    So, looks like only Bruna Abdullah gave KJo the most bang for his buck by playing both (second) fiddle and foley artist for the price of one huh?

    And oh, Deferential Equations has already been put up on screen, no? Or so said boss in a review of the romcom romp Ugh-Lee and Pug-Lee or something.

  5. Banno>> Apparently, watching How I Met Your Mother might make up for your lack of mathematical proficiency πŸ™‚

    Neon>> Thanks for the link! Didn’t know he got it from somewhere, and Barney’s explanation really does the concept justice.

    Varsha>> Was I too obvious? πŸ˜€

    Giri>> That’s sort of the trouble, isn’t it? It’s basically a cliche that’s trying to get its laughs by lampooning the very same cliche. Not a bad strategy per se if it’s done skilfully, but when it fails…

    PV>> True. I guess we’ll have to settle for ordinary differential equations after all. Maybe there is a case to be made for a blog post that concentrates on the mathematics of Hindi cinema. A while ago, I spoke of sigma fields in Godfather — let me see if I can do more with this sometime. Ought to be fun, even if the readership is likely to be a bit limited.

    GNB>> Bruna Abdullah giving KJo the most bang for this buck… please tell me you didn’t mean this the way it came out.

  6. They got a couple of other ripoff jokes from HIMYM in the second half. *eyeroll*
    I’m a romcom nut and love most of the Johar/Chopra work, but this was just plain unimaginative and trite. I wish I’d read your review before wasting two hours of my life.

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