wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?) - Only for people who can stomach non-standard
Each of the three stories has a newspaper story item quality about it and thus is as enchanting as that can get. But the novel way in which it is recorded and narrated is engrossing. But, be warned it is not your movie if you are the kind who takes offense easily or can't handle non-escapist cinema.Read more
NOT A REVIEW - Just joining the curiosity bandwagon.. (Adult rated article)
Like them or not, Dibakar Banerjee films are something many of us look forward to. I am one of the "Didn't like Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye" (Ye, you art-house cinema lovers, bring those bricks on.) And yet, I look forward to Love Sex aur Dhokha. No point beating around the bush, of course, it's because of the three-letter 'S' word in the title. Because it takes courage to do that. There are so many of us who love watching and I doubt we gave the title even a first thought. But "haaaw…a Hindi film…with the 'sex' word in it? How dare he?" This is the taboo he's taking on, in a way.
Let's talk about sex, he says. And why not? The population of this country is a testament to the fact that we have a lot of sex. But, then there is a lot more to the film from what I read and see. For example, the director's article on Passion For Cinema sounds like this is an experiment with the new-age modes of recording life that we have in hand. Be it mobile videos or CCTV.
The digitized, fuzzy faces, the strobing, jerky movements, the furtive glances, the nervous camera, the clumsy, choppy edit, the scratchy sound, the repetitive slo mo rewind and forward – to me all this is a new grammar of cinema. A language that is evolving as we speak, a toolset that is all our generation’s own – no one had this before. We ignore it, look down upon it, go and see films about uplifting themes featuring good looking people in well shot backlight fighting incredible odds to sing the climax song in GLORIOUS backlight. And yet millions of downloads tell another story about what people want to see.
He wants it to be uncinematic and turn film grammar on its head. He actually call's it
A film that isn’t one.
Shhhh… let me see the film. Why’s the camera focusing on his paunch?
Which by the way, they have intentionally kept at a very low budget of Rs. 1 crore, which is petty in this day and age of 100-crore films. Since the cast is almost unheard of, there is a good chance that a lot of thought has gone into the story. fingers crossed
They seem to have spent enough gray cells, if not money, on the marketing and publicity. They are pretty active on the net at least, which might be the target audience, anyway. Other than non-traditional type of questions for contests, they seem to be trying different ways to publicize the cynicism that starts with the title -
“Instead of expressing love like every year, Dibakar thought it's time for those people who got fooled by love to express themselves. For as many people feel love, there is a counter number who abuse love too,” Balaji Telefilms joint managing director Ekta Kapoor told IANS by a text message. A radio network would localise and compliment the activity with a contest where lucky winners would have the opportunity to send their “not so dear ones” an “Un-Valentine” gift hamper comprising of a LSD “Dhokha” card and a cactus plant.One of the promos actually ends with a character saying -
Aisi story se samaaj ko bigaadte ho tum log(you spoil the values of society by stories like these)
"Have you had sex? There is very good probability that your answer would be yes! So why shy away from seeing a film around this theme? Why hide it? Why not talk about it? After all this is the most natural thing between a man and a woman. On the other hand the most unnatural thing between two humans would be one taking another's life. When something like that is so much available for even 'family audiences' in the age group of 7-70, why have problems with a film like LOVE SEX AUR DHOKHA", continues Dibakar.
All well and good. My main apprehension is that I might not like the film if it banks too heavily on shock value. Like they have this song
" we have a song with that title playing during a particular scene. It's an integral and important part of the movie. We have a character that downloads the song on his computer and then plays it over and over. It's a song that has been banned from being played in public and hence, gets sort of a cult following."
In the same interview though, he promises that it will shock and provoke us in the first five minutes and then we will be absorbed in the film
- meeta, a part of the audience
You see on screen what you might read with your morning cup of coffee. Except that it's less fictitious and feels closer to reality than the paid-for articles offered by the mainstream media. (Unless of course, you rely on your twitter timeline for your daily dose of news.) Love Sex Aur Dhokha is cinema about how uncinematic life really is. Because in reality, love might not be as easy a cakewalk as narrated by YRF Films or as true either. A DDLJ-type love with due credit, a comment on our voyeuristic nature, and a sting operation make us introspect about the society we live in.
Superficially, none of the three short films are exactly out of the ordinary. But there is something more than a story, director/writer Dibakar Banerjee is narrating. Yes, Rahul-Shruti's story is a spoof of happy cinema. And I had the same issued I had with it as I have with spoofy films that add nothing new but use the excuse of parody to do exactly what they are mocking at. Yeah, it also jeers at the how films are made in Bollywood - story being disregarded, etc. We've seen quite a bit of that. So, there's nothing new there. But it is also a comment on the Indian parent psyche - their priorities as guardians and a demonstration of their unconditional love.
While all three stories are about our keen interest in other people's lives, Adarsh-Rashmi's story makes it loud and clear what the entire film is hinting at. Have we ever wondered how many "bad things" in the world would have not occurred if it were not for our boredom in our daily lives. For those of us who take pleasure in others' misfortunes, would do it only to make their lives less mundane, right? Why else would the life of a regular, not-so pretty-looking salesgirl at a dull general store interest us at all?
Then there are issues that need to be exposed. Our media should be responsible for it. Some media groups take it upon themselves to reveal society's ugly face. But, how selfless are they? They bank on the same prying human nature to pick their stories. The theme of betrayal - from personal infidelity to how unfaithful media is with us - is repetitively emphasized by crossing, double-crossing, triple-crossing and more in the Prabhat-Nayna story.
By the way, just one word for the entire cast - pure awesome! How can you comment on something that is made to look so regular, so ordinary that you think you can do it?
Sure there is a connection between the stories in terms of characters crossing paths, but the connection seeps deep. No, the predictability of each story is not what I'm hinting at. Sure, none of the climaxes per se are shocking, but there is an all pervasive them of love, sex and dhokha (betrayal) running through the film. While one element might be over-powering than the rest in each one of them, the other two aspects are not far behind. Also common is the sort-of open-ended climaxes to all three stories. You know what actually happened, but the motivations of the characters is left to your interpretation. Interestingly, you can ask the same question of the entire superficial connection. Had the links in one story been picked up by characters from the other story, this one could have been not-so-dark.
There is a fourth element in the film which is silent but you cannot shake it off - the camera. The camera is left around, almost as if its presence is pure coincidental, if not accidental. I can only imagine how much thought must have gone into making the camera-placement look so casual. That with the non-traditional lighting set a very dark tone to the film, which of course are justified by the nature of the stories.
What is very traditional though, is the marketing technique deployed. The use of the word 'sex' to arouse curiosity and create an aura of sensuousness is nothing more than a publicity gimmick. Anyone going in expecting even soft-porn is going to be seriously disappointed. And Banerjee-saaheb, et tu? An item number with the closing credits? Yeah, yeah, yeah…spoof and all that jazz.
Love Sex Aur Dhokha is not watchable just for you to decipher its comment on us as individuals or society. There are plenty that do that. It is not something you should go for just to see the ace-class production values. Nor is it just for seeing something different. It is one of those one-offs that are made worthy by the whole package.
"Why should such a film be made at all?", the prude may ask. Why should any film be made at all? And the argument begins…
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...It’s effectively a dogma film: my personal favourite genre. It owes its origins to a counter-cultural movement that started in Europe in the mid ’90s, largely in extreme response to the vanity, artificial scale, and popcorn fakeness of Hollywood blockbuster entertainment. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Mihir Fadnavis, india.com : ...There's something oddly humorous (if not inherently sad) when the desi youngsters are able to score more points filming attractive females than the grown-ups themselves.... full review
Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ... despite all these global references, Love Sex aur Dhokha is absolutely original in its content and can’t be remotely inspired by any of these recently released titles.... full review
Thumbs up, by Kshitij Mehta, J.A.M : ...The cinematography by Nikos Andritsakis is interesting. While there are portions that get a little jarring, the digital format makes an interesting watch.... full review
Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...It provokes, yes, but more than that, it unveils the hypocrisy of Indian middle class morality and rips it apart, as it takes us through every possible sex scandal that has assailed Indian society in the last few years.... full review
Thumbs up, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...Yet, despite the nature of the subject matter and its huge potential for cheap thrills, the makers never toy around with silly gimmicks to grab attention... full review
Thumbs up, by Padmaja Thakore, Passion for Cinema : ...This triple-treat of reality cinema is not just a casual framing to tell three random stories, for it deliberately pulls the audience within its frame of reference... full review
Thumbs up, by ~UH~, Passion for Cinema : ...Aftertaste. That’s where some cinema affects the audience and matures them slowly. One movie at a time. You get out of the theatre, light a smoke and think about the movie. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Harmanpreet Kaur, Picture Start : ...But is truth stranger than fiction? And how far is the ‘reality’ shown on television really real? That is the underlying message for me in LSD.... full review
Thumbs up, by Great Bong, Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind : ...LSD is original because it is able to capture small moments of love, horror, indecision, conflict, lust, rage and true evil brilliantly in a manner rarely seen in Hindi movies, with the technique and stylistic flourishes rarely overwhelming the content.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sampurn, real bollywoood : ...The music video number during the end rolling credits has a catchy tune whereas the much hyped Tu Gandi Achchi Lagti Hai is actually no great shakes.... full review
Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Title cards a la pulp desi literature serve as cheeky, tragicomic titles for each of the three tales, and the film's music is married to the narrative with a casual grace... full review
So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...This germ of a conceit is a gem, allowing for a crosshatch of seemingly parallel plots linked loosely by the characters and the verité atmospherics. (The newcomers are mostly excellent.) ... full review
So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...t is an audacious experiment, stymied, if at all, but the fact that the characters are slightly caricatured, even though they seem like people we know in Delhi; the speech patterns are perfectly reproduced, the colloquialisms bang on. But the stories themselves are not too interesting. ... full review
So-So, by Joginder Tuteja, Now Running.com : ...Does the film work with disjointed episodes like this? Certainly yes, if one is willing to drop all preconceived notions about how a feature film should look. ... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.