Dharma productions returns with another ode to Yashraj films. The whole Raj - Simran angle from the still running to 'packed' houses DDLJ is still running our luv storys(!?!?). That along with slices from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Tum, Devdas, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., Saawariya and a few more of the kind are interspersed into this rom-com/chick flick/I have got my Bollywood references in place film ironically titled I Hate Luv Storys! The only irony involved with this film is that the best moments in it are the ones involving scenes, songs and moments re-created from the aforementioned films. Which leaves us with a pretty looking, predictable, confused and not-to-be-taken-seriously-at-all film.
What promised to be a hilarious spoof on love stories only ends up becoming a lame caricature of that funny feeling called LUV. Boy meets girl, they hate each other, she starts falling for him, he takes her just as a friend, she is heart broken, then he starts falling for her, she says no, then after a few realizations they get together. That's it! Well what's wrong with that you may ask. Isn't that the pattern 95% of love stories made, follow? That could be true, but the problem here is THAT WE ALREADY KNOW THAT! Thanks for reminding us again and again and again and.....until we get to a point where we are left with a film that has nothing new to offer, not in terms of its presentation or its take on love stories or even the way problems are resolved. NOTHING!
Then, there are the central characters. The guy is not serious about his life, his work, his relationships and definitely not about love (his parents had a bad marriage you see!). The girl, too, is frankly none too serious about her work (all she does is check her new assistant out); she is definitely not too serious about her fiancee (who wants to propose to her towards the end of the film in spite of already being the fiancee). She just keeps taking him for a ride, right till the day he proposes, which is when she decides to dump him (obviously), while harboring feelings for the most important assistant alive. He totally is because everyone including the biggest film director to the biggest superstar want to get involved in his love story and offer pearls of wisdom about love and life. All this for a good-for-nothing assistant director who keeps making faces and gestures of throwing up while shots of the GREATEST LOVE SAGA are being canned. We know he is the hero of the film but so many privileges to a bumbling AD gets a bit too much to handle. So does the amateur way in which the supposed blockbuster is being made and the way in which the director, the actor, the other assistants and basically everyone in the film behaves. Their eccentricities and lack of seriousness begins to irritate after a bit and robs the audience of the connection they could have made with at least some of them. And just when all is lost, another angle of making the girl jealous by throwing in a supposed affair (whatever, vagairah, whatever) with an already dumped one-night-girlfriend is tossed in as a last throw of the dice! Honestly!
None of the lead performances in the film try to rise above the cliched script. Imran Khan (the nephew of the century), tries to re-visit his brilliant debut performance in Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na after the disasters in Kidnap and Luck, but fails to match up to that brilliantly crafted role. He is a fair good looking boy no doubt and does have adorable little moments, but falls flat in key scenes of drama and emotional breakdowns. He also has a very awkward physique (which has been called the new hot body in town in the papers recently) and looks like he has the body of a 12 year old in lots of scenes. He also lacks the charisma to pull off an entire film on his frail shoulders which a certain Mr. Kapoor (the other hot star kid) has done in film after film. Sonam Kapoor is pretty no doubt and has a certain charm about her, but her hush hush way of speaking and her constant plastic smile don't do enough for her. She has beautiful but quite dead eyes which fail to make her sadness reach out and grab you. She has got quite a catch up job to do before she threatens the Priyanka's, Katrina's or even the Deepika's for that matter.
Of the rest, Sammir Dattani as the clueless fiancee appears to be earnest but actually has no clue what he is doing or what his character is supposed to do. Samir Soni supposedly spoofs Karan Johar himself, but over does it. Aamir Ali spoofs...probably himself and gets away with it. The fat friend of the hero from the Sprite ads does raise a few laughs and is pretty good. Bruna Abdullah, the hot Channel (V) VJ plays the dumb blond a bit too convincingly. She was Barbara Mori's closest competitor for her Kites role, and god only knows what Kites would have been with her in it.
First time director Punit Malhotra (another nephew, Manish Malhotra's) gets his Bollywood references right and does create sweet moments especially in the song montages but otherwise comes up with a college level effort, best suited for ages 12-17. The music is about average and could have used a couple of blockbuster tracks to help the proceedings. The film looks good (just about) but lacks the Karan Johar touches evident in his own films and also in Wake Up Sid (another Dharma Production). The costumes by uncle Malhotra are functional, the Art direction could have been better (considering Sonam plays an art director in the film). The songs are well picturised and do try to save the day, even if Imran appears awkward in his only dance piece while Sonam, admittedly, looks pretty hot in the dream song.
All in all, I Hate Luv Storys disappoints majorly and fails to create the magic so referred to in the film. Imran will have to look at Mamu Aamir to save the day with his production of Delhi Belly while Sonam will have to hope for daddy's home production Aisha to strike gold. Dharma Productions have the Kajol - Kareena starrer We are Family up next (which looked great in its first promo BTW), while Punit needs to grow up and come back with something more solid than this.