Love Hostel is pointless orgy of violence

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Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra in Love Hostel. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Ahh, yes! The alien influence.

Recently, an eminent filmmaker with a history of blockbusters told me, “The problem is not that we are copying foreign filmmakers. The problem is that we are copying the wrong filmmakers from abroad!”

This is probably the greatest tragedy and irony of the times—and of this execrably senseless film masquerading as ‘intellectual cinema’. And the OTT platforms have aggravated this problem no end by being the ‘preferred’ (read ‘only’) terrains for such exercises! Release this ‘film’ in movie halls and we can expect record low occupancies!

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What’s more, the very same gullible and thoughtless (a deadly combo, really!) sections of our audience (including the media) tend to give a thumbs-up to such mimics of noir and other film styles even as they scoff at remakes of foreign films per se!

Now that’s one ‘helluva’ intellectual paradox, if ever there was one!

So it’s alright if the Anurag Kashyap-Vishal Bhardwaj-Shankar Raman kind hijack the “phoren” camera angles, shot-takings, needlessly dark tenor, brutal violence et al and general filmmaking styles and disrespect and ignore those Indian audiences that want healthy entertainment across genres as wide-ranging from the Bahubali franchise and Sooryvanshi to Chhichhore, A Wednesday!, English/Vinglish, Badhaai Ho and Iqbal.

The add-on worse part is the way they take up an Indian socially-relevant issue, like Khap here. A Hindu girl, Jyoti (Sanya Malhotra) chooses Ashu a.k.a. Ahmed Shoukeen (Vikrant Massey) as a life partner to elope with. They get married in court and are sent to a “safe home” for protection against the girl’s family. Jyoti’s grandmother (Swaroopa Ghosh) is a ruthless politician who now wants both eliminated—the girl for “choosing Eid over Diwali” (Sic!). She therefore employs assassin extraordinaire Dagar (Bobby Deol), who loves animals, possibly because he has become one himself, to do the dirty job.

The safe home is governed over by a pervert cop who is also corrupt. Oh, and we forgot to mention: Ashu seems no saint, is a delivery boy for a drug dealer, and his father has been abducted on a framed charge. His mother is blind, noble and helpless, and blesses the newlyweds. The Hindu home, on the other hand, is vitiated and violent. Jyoti’s mother wishes she had strangled her “at birth” and the teenage brother is an uber-violent deviant.

Ashu’s colleague and friend (Akshay Oberoi) drives him around for his illegal errands, but has betrayed him too. In an absurd sequence that “consumers” of such cinema will swallow minus protest even as they hit out at mainstream movies for minor illogic, Ashu drives him at gunpoint over a long journey when the latter could have easily overpowered him at any point.

We also come to know of some back stories: Ashu is actually a police informant, but the cop (Raj Arjun) is helpless in his twin missions to arrest Dagar and protect the lovebirds. Dagar’s daughter has betrayed her father once, making him the evil crusader, and now she helps another couple in love. Dagar, incidentally, shoots people with the same abandon of a mischievous kid sprinkling colored water on all passersby at Holi!

And at the end of 100 minutes, we can’t quite figure out how many bodies have fallen to the bullet, including the hero, heroine, the hero’s families, random guests at a wedding, the inmates of the love hostel and more. Clearly, Raman has a mental kink about eschewing violence, feels the gorier the merrier, aspiring to the “heights” of (presumably) European, Korean and other such filmmakers. Wonder now if Dagar is his role-model alter-ego! Raman absolves him in the end from the clutches of the law as well.

Bobby Deol shows a manic avatar again, but his character is obviously way diverse from the script-chiseled nasty god-man of Aashram. His performance is decent, but we wonder why he accepted the role in the first place—such a film was more up Abhay Deol’s deviant street!

Sanya Malhotra does a reprise of her past “spirited” roles but gets short shrift, footage- and depth-wise. Vikrant Massey must do a serious rethink on what he considers cinema worth doing, if he still wants a semblance of popular recognition that he lacks as of now: maybe a check on how Rajkummar Rao is handling his career will not come amiss. As of now, his filmography has been majorly pathetic, with just a couple of exceptions.

Swaroopa Ghosh is good as the grandmother. But Akshay Oberoi is wasted—I believe he did this role out of friendship with the director. Of the rest, Sidharth Bhardwaj as the safe house supervisor impresses.

A key point here: we simply do not know what a redoubtable actor like Raj Arjun, whose recent work has been par excellence (Secret Superstar, Shershaah, Thalaivi, Sabka Sai), is doing here. His half-baked character is so pointless and goes nowhere.

And this last sentence aptly describes this orgy of violence presented in an unoriginal and unpalatable alien format. So what propelled Gauri Khan to co-produce it??? We are not even talking about why ZEE5 decided to stream this wasteful exercise.

Rating: * (We must be charitable!)

ZEE5 presents Red Chillies Entertainment & Drishyam Films’ Love Hostel Produced by: Gauri Khan, Manish Mundra & Gaurav Verma  Directed by: Shankar Raman Written by: Mehak Jamal, Shanker Raman & Yogi Singha  Music: Starring: Bobby Deol, Sanya Malhotra, Vikrant Massey, Raj Arjun, Akshay Oberoi, Swaroopa Ghosh, Yudhvir Ahlawat, Sidharth Bhardwaj, Seema Raaj, Simran Rawal, Yogesh Tiwari, Kumkum Jain, Kumkum Jain, Aditi Vasudev, Vishal Om Prakash & others

 

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