Saturday, July 03, 2010

I Hate Luv Storys


The title plays up on how unbelievable love stories can get, and despite its ripping apart the classical romantic films by Dharma Productions and Yash Raj films in the opening, and throughout the film, ultimately this one proves to be quite hypocritical in a sense that it too cannot come to grips with its battle against cliche, and falls prey to the tried, tested and tired formula of a romantic comedy. As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them.

However it has its youthful, eye candy cast added to its advantage as it plods through its rather meandering and cumbersome plot, involving J (Imran Khan), a production assistant who has worked on countless of romantic films by hotshot director Veer Kapoor (Samir Soni), and Simran (Sonam Kapoor), who is employed under the same production umbrella. To J, work means a constant rolling of the eyes because he just doesn't subscribe to nor see the appeal of formulaic romantic movies, even if his employer is the best in the business. And for Simran it's just the reverse, feeling privileged to be part of movie magic, as she expounds her own blissfully perfect relationship with fiance Raj (Sammir Dattani).

So begins the clash of the believer and the non-believer, made worst when J is ordered to be working under Simran who is the new art director for Veer's upcoming love saga, Pyar Pyar Pyar, which I have to admit that writer-director Punit Malhotra managed to weave in a film in production within a film, that drew nice touches of parallels between J and Simran's developing love affair, until the final act which somehow had to conform to hammed up cliches. On one hand, I thought it was quite brilliant to get the audience engaged through two levels, one which is the reality the characters live in, and the other the ultra-hyped film reality which exists in Pyar Pyar Pyar, with extremely over the top performances and delivery used to elicit plenty of laughter, especially from fans of Bollywood romances.

We'd expect the usual clash of the opposites, where J the non-commital playboy unwittingly turns on his charm on the on-the-way-to-blissful-marriage Simran, who by the time the interval rolled by, is at odds with wanting to settle down with the man she thought will provide that level of stability through routine, or someone who's more of the livewire even if you started out hating the guts of the person? The story seems to play on the theme of close proximity having that big a role to play in demolishing stability, and like all nicely crafted cliches which you can see coming from a mile away, J and Simran inevitably fall in love, which takes one of them by surprise, leading to plot development reserved for after the interval.

If not for the young film starlets as the leads, it'll be quite hard to imagine how love can make them do silly things, with plenty of assumptions drawn up that the characters inevitably fall for. Nothing new gets added to the flavour of the story, and while it doesn't stand out, it also doesn't fall flat on its face as well, making this a simple, breezy romantic tale to sit through. Imran Khan pulls through his J quite effortlessly, since I suppose the easy-going, good natured guy is almost always easier to play as opposed to Sonam Kapoor's emotional Simran, who has ample opportunity to show her acting chops in what's only her third major role in her film career, compared to contemporary peers such as Ranbir Kapoor, or even Deepika Padukone.

Perhaps the only thread of interest here to sustain your attention will be the numerous film references from dialogues to sets and even downright spoofs, or if you're the incurable romantic, then yes, this film will be right up your alley.

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