Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Love, Sex Aur Dhokha: Unsettling yet compelling
Dibakar Banerjee’s “Love, Sex Aur Dhokha” isn’t an easy watch by any means. There are some deeply unsettling, stomach-churning moments in the film that make you want to leave the theatre.
However, it is a very important film, one that reflects at least a part of the reality that we all currently inhabit and therefore, no matter how much you are disturbed by what you see on screen, it is important to sit through it.
Banerjee intertwines three stories within the movie, each of which is a tale within itself, but has a thread that connects the other two stories.
The stories are also told through an unusual medium — several types of cameras, including “sting cameras”, security cameras and movie cameras, all of which are as much a part of the stories as the characters themselves are.
Banerjee first tells us the story of Shruti and Rahul, both aspiring film students who become victim to same “filminess” of their thinking, believing that love will conquer all.
Living in the same milieu are Rashmi and Adarsh, the protagonists of the second story. She is a dark (and hence considered ugly in the Indian context) middle-class girl who works as a night-time clerk in a supermarket. He is a smooth talking operator who wants to make a quick buck. The two fall in love but the ending of this story is in many ways, even more disturbing than the first one, without giving away much.
The third story is the story we are all familiar with — the sting operation. A struggling starlet is convinced by a TV reporter to participate in a sting against a successful rock star, imaginatively called Lokey Local.
All three stories make for gripping viewing and Banerjee manages to create quirky characters, like that of the watchman in the store and Shruti’s father. The use of the cameras, far from hampering the visual feel of the film led to the gritty tone.
None of the actors in this film are known, and while some may seem a little familiar to you, each of them have delivered convincing performances.
Banerjee manages to catch the pulse of the fragmented lives youth in our country are likely to lead, but he manages to stay extremely subtle in his message, never once stating the obvious. He is one of the most interesting directors to come out of Bollywood in recent times.
During the film, I noticed a lot of people laughing at scenes that didn’t have any obvious humour. I think it was nervous, uncomfortable laughter. And when a film can make you uneasy while being entertaining at the same time, you know it’s worth a watch.