Sunday, March 21, 2010

Love, Sex aur Dhokha, darling!

And you call this a film!?”

That’s how one of the 3 young women sitting next to us reacted when the end credits of Love, Sex Aur Dhokha started rolling. Not that they were quiet through the film, like most of the other viewers. Like this man in the row in front of us complained during a brutal scene of honour killing ‘kya film hai yeh?. He even asked his wife to remove the food-tray in front of him, citing ‘mann khatta ho gaya.’

What were you expecting, bade bhaiya? Probably a movie with some ‘scenes’. Before he bought his popcorn, he could have done a little homework on the film. But I guess that is too much to expect out of people, the whole thing about expectations out of a film, that is. People just float in, expecting to watch a film which is already there in their head. A film just the way they are used to seeing, a three act narrative of the beginning, the middle and the end. Nowadays, most have opened up to the idea of ‘different’ films as well. But LSD is nothing like you expected. You don’t have a clue of what’s coming. LSD fucks you. In the ass.

With so much voyeurism and reality TV happening around us, somebody had to make a film on it. And thank God, it wasn’t Madhur Bhandarkar.

LSD doesn’t follow a pattern of single story with the beginning, middle and the end. It uses three different stories of love, sex and betrayal to give you one composite film experience. A film which has no lose ends, all of them tied together tightly with one another. Long back when I was in college, I’d watched a film called ‘The Idiots’ in a film festival. I had no clue about the director Lars Von Trier or Dogme films, but I was pretty moved by the film. There was a certain naivety, and a certain devilish morbidity to it. It was heartbreaking to watch that film. As was many of Lars Von Trier’s films I later watched. I had the same reaction watching LSD. It slaps you across your face throughout. It is not exactly funny when you think it is. It is moving to see how mundane people are, and yet how devilish they can be. People do the most horrible things to people they love, or let’s just say to people who are their own.

The first story follows an Aditya Chopra school of film making obsessed young guy Rahul (Anshuman Jha) making his diploma film, who has the same idea about love as depicted in his mentor’s films. Now you can laugh saying this guy is unreal, but believe me this guy is real. They are all around us. There are so many like him, my brother in law is one such guy, with his motley crew of FB friends who sound just like him. So the hero falls for his film’s heroine, a rich girl Shruti (Shruti) with a fleet of Mercs and her Punjabi Baroque house. The second story is about Adarsh (Raj Kumar Yadav) and Rashmi (Neha Chauhan) in a 24×7 departmental store, always under CCTV surveillance. The third is about a sting operator journalist Prabhat (Amit Sial) who carries out an operation with frustrated model Naina (Devdutta Banerjee), who is out to avenge being ditched by famous Punjabi pop star Loki Local (Herry Tangri). All mundane people, like you and me. Feeding off each other like parasites. Clinging on to each other for love, giving in to sex, and tied with a common thread of betrayal.

Most film-makers have a brilliant debut film and there after start corrupting, giving into the pressures of banners and box office. Or simply because they don’t have any good story to tell. So the treatment takes over the content. Not the case with Dibakar Banerjee, he debuted with the brilliant Khosla ka ghosla, followed it with an even sharper Oye Lucky! And now has surpassed all his brilliance with his most caustic film. He is a director in command of his craft.

The screenplay by Urmi Juvekar and Dibakar Banerjee is gripping. The camera work by Nikos Andritsakis is absolutely brillaint. As Dibakar said in his interview that this is the first time in India that the digital cameras are used as digital cameras, and not as a poor cousin of the 35 mm camera. Editing by Namrata Rao is crisp. You must listen to the music album, if you are not already hooked on. I’m in love with Sneha Khanwalker's music, she is absolutely charming in this one as well. The lyrics written by Dibakar himself, are sharply written and topical. Lyrics like ‘main saat janam upwasa hoon, aur saat samandar pyasa hoon’ are absolute gem. The cast is brilliant, all the actors including the guy playing Shruti’s father and the other cocky store attendant have done their bit effortlessly.

It has more heart and soul than a lot of things I have seen, read or watched. The last time I was this moved watching a hindi film was Maqbool. After watching LSD, I wanted to go sit alone somewhere. Say nothing. Light a cigarette. Maybe shed a tear or two.

Priti and I end up watching films back to back in halls. Even today we had bought tickets for LSD and Lahore, of which we had read and heard good things only. But after watching LSD I felt like tearing away the tickets of Lahore. But that would be an insult to the very reason a film is made. To be watched. So I didn’t do it. I wish I had.