Ram Gopal Varma’s most engaging and path breaking films, notably Satya (1998) and Company (2002) were inspired from real-life incidents. We didn’t mind gangsters adding up the body count then. The main protagonists, played up as anti-heroes, got little sympathy that when they got the bullet, it was as if they deserved it. Then there was always a good wrap of fiction and tight story-telling in these stories. We could easily distance ourselves from comparison to a Dawood Ibrahim or a Chota Rajan. Disassociated, yet engaged in the myth of the characters.
“What did happen?” is a tantalizing question. RGV’s latest, though said to be only ‘inspired’ by the 2008 Grover murder case, can’t distance itself from what really happened. Robin (Deepak Dobriyal) and Anushka (Mahie Gill) are lovers in a nameless city. The girl aspires to be a Hindi film heroine, and a possessive Robin finally relents, and Anushka leaves for Mumbai. She lives alone in her fifth storey flat, constantly been at auditions, meeting similarly zealous friends and talking to Robin on the cell phone. Her hopes for a lead part are dashed again and again, until Ashish (Ajay Gehl); a film producer finalizes her for an upcoming movie. Elated, Anushka informs Robin and parties all night with Ashish and her friends. A turn of events leads to a one-night stand between Ashish and Anushka at her flat. Meanwhile Robin, getting no response of his calls, arrives the next morning to surprise Anushka. Even as a tense, disturbed Anushka fumbles at the door, in a burst of realization and fury, Robin ending up killing a naked Ashish with a knife. The story then traces the disposal of the body, the discovery and the court trail of the doomed lovers.
Voyeuristic camera works
The main shutter is the script which imitates real incidents faithfully, and displays what most of the audience mostly knows through TV news channels and newspapers. So it boils down to the treatment and intensity. The hand held camera is effective in parts, especially in scenes to convey Anushka’s shock. It is also overtly voyeuristic in Anushka’s close ups. Cleavage and thighs on your face to convey a woman’s allure? The Sandeep Chowta background score has its moments early in the movie - Ominous grating bits of the local train, fluttering pigeons, the extended door bell ring and the fish bowl gurgle. The court trail part is cliched and the end goes awry, making odd martyrs out of the doomed lovers, bordering on disgust.
The performances of Dobriyal, Gill and Zakir Hussain as the grim cop do salvage some scenes. Not A Love Story may be rebellious stuff; but its purpose is nowhere to be seen. On introspection; RGV could have used elements like the possessive lover and the film world to make probably, a less-gruesome, more insightful fictionized story. To sum up; we, the cinema goer, forgive RGV this one in memory of all the delicious cuts he has given before. Hey, we didn’t mind the two-part Rakht Charitra (2010) as much.
As a veiled Anushka is led to a police jeep, hounded by media persons, the soundtrack finally finds its apt moment.