Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Not A Love Story: Compelling tale, amateurish film-making
If you didn’t know better, you would almost think Ram Gopal Varma made “Not A Love Story” just so he could give his audience motion sickness. Crazy camera angles that peer into everything from the leading lady’s skirt to hidden corners of a house dominate this film and that is what stays with you, even after you leave the theatre.
Varma draws inspiration from the sensational murder case of Neeraj Grover, a television executive who was murdered by aspiring actress Maria Susairaj and her then fiancé Emile Jerome. He even shoots in the same building where Grover was killed and makes only cosmetic changes to the actual story.
Mahie Gill plays Anusha Chawla, a small-town girl who moves to Mumbai to become an actress, much to the distress of her possessive boyfriend Robin (Deepak Dobriyal). When she is offered a film role by studio executive Ashish (Ajay Gehi), the two become close and when Robin lands up in Mumbai to surprise her, he is shocked to find Ashish in her flat. In a fit of rage, he stabs him.
To his credit, Varma doesn’t stretch the story. If anything, he deals with events quickly. There are crazy camera angles and an ear-splitting background score, both of which do more harm to the story than good.
With a running time of less than two hours, “Not a Love Story” moves quickly from one scene to the next but Varma does manage to convey some themes — the passion between Anusha and Robin being a prominent one.
If only Varma hadn’t gone ballistic in terms of his cinematography and background score, keeping things quiet and subtle, this would have been twice the film it is now.
The story itself is so compelling — a crime of passion, the love story of two people so passionately in love, it defies logic and the clinical way in which the two hack the body into pieces and dispose of it — but Varma doesn’t always do it justice. The second half could have been the saving grace of the film, but Varma spoils that with over-the-top courtroom scenes.
Of the cast, Mahie Gill is awkward as Anusha, in stark contrast to Deepak Dobriyal’s assured performance. He essays the obsessed, concerned lover-turned murderer with precision, overshadowing Gill by a mile.
This is a compelling story, hampered by amateurish film-making. Watch at your own risk.