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Ramu Kills It, Well Almost

  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - January 13, 2014 2:24 AM IST
    3.1DM (253 ratings)
    Not A Love StoryWatch trailerRelease date : August 19, 2011

    Three years ago, a sensationally disturbing real-life occurrence gripped the country. The last thing it asked for was a visual demonstration. But what can skip the stern eye of filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma? There, the accused had barely settled themselves with their dramatically altered lifestyles, here apna Ramu gathered a crew, hired the most apt looking actors and landed on to the same building where the gruesome killing of Neeraj Grover had occurred. Yes, Not a Love Story - a largely real account of the Neeraj Grover hacking, was shot exactly at the flat above the floor where the murder actually took place.

    If Ramu decidedly had to venture into this sensitively controversial zone, and carve a film out of it, perhaps he could have shown some more guts. With a basic structure ready, all that was required were a couple of plot points, to catch the spectator unsuspecting. But alas, he - probably too anxious with the source material, and excited as well, just decided to document the events precisely the way wed visualize it, according to the media reports.

    And that, dear friends, is Not a Love Story's biggest flaw. The film follows the events as they assumingly occurred, which is not totally bad, but it steals away all the excitement of anticipation, or the anxiety of a surprise twist.

    Mahie Gill enacts Maria Susairaj, here named Anusha Chawla - an outsider in the city with Bollywood dreams. When a certain production executive Aashish (Neeraj Grover, in real) promises her a film role, it is time for celebrations. Both get to sensual proximity at her apartment, and when Deepak Dobriyals Robbin - Anushas boyfriend (real life Jeorome) unexpectedly lands at her door, he is in for a visual shock and in the spur of the moment, a minor dispute turns fatal for Aashish - who is ruthlessly killed in cold-blood by him.

    The ensuing series of events are both - visually ghastly to focus on, and psychologically eerie to dwell upon. And both, at least while watching the film, are unavoidable. And this because of the genuinely remarkable fashion they are portrayed.

    It was one thing to criticize RGVs films due to shallow content, or lack of focus, but they never quite came under scrutiny for an ineffective direction. Not a Love Story's brooding storyline, although predictable by default, yields quite sinister moments because of its gloomy treatment.

    The actors add to the believability factor, although I'd like it better if Deepak Dobriyal gave up that one expression where his eyes threaten to pop-out any moment. That is his way of emoting insanity, I guess. And it works, although initially. Then, he starts looking gravely disturbed, or surprised by himself.

    Mahie Gill portrays the psychological crisis of Anusha Chawla with disturbing ease. Her character is caught in the crossfire between her unfulfilled dreams and a crass love affair, and she's perplexed as to where her loyalties really belong. The uncertainty that leads to a nervous breakdown is brought out realistically by Gill, who is by any measure, a naturally talented actress. The supporting cast gives what is expected of them, nobody exceptionally stands out.

    Ramu's fixation with the camera that maniacally moves remains untouched and here, leads to some bizarre and unintentionally funny moments. It appears as if the device has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and hence can't be normal or stable. Add to it, the distinctly imposing background score which miserably tries to heighten the insane drama. For once, would it hurt, Ramu, to keep things within a set barrier, when you already had some explosive content to blow?

    Moreover, the film actually portrays the two central protagonists as people bounded by corruptly insane, yet immortal love, and this one sequence, which is also the film's climax, will change quite a few calculations, however unbelievable the emotion might seem.

    The most unpleasant part of the film, and no doubt many of the viewers will feel it to, is the uneasiness that one goes through while witnessing the lunacy. The mere fact, that two absolutely ordinary looking couple, leading perfectly normal lives can suddenly get embroiled in such mind-numbing dirt, and the fact that all of this actually has happened, and is not an adapted-from-novel account or taken from a legend, leaves you unnerved.

    If that is what Ramu set out to achieve - he has hit a masterstroke. However, if he was cunning enough to manipulate the events - a sudden shock value would have enhanced the evilness sharply.

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