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Upperstall Review



Official Site

Love Sex Aur Dhokha


Hindi, Drama, 2010, Color

Cast And Crew

Three stories that unfold across and weave through each other - contemporary, unusual, real tales of love.

In a second rate film institute somewhere deep in the redneck hinterland of North India, a final year student gears up for his diploma film. And then he falls in love with his heroine.

Somewhere in the same city, Adarsh, the all knowing, tech savvy, security camera agency executive, installs four security cameras in a small upcoming 24-hour departmental store franchise. Always floating bizarre scam ideas to get rich, Adarsh hits upon the idea of making a porn clip through the security cameras in the shop. He starts to woo Rashmi, the plain, pimply, dark and quiet salesgirl when suddenly, a shootout happens in the store and Rashmi saves a life. For the first time, Adarsh notices a woman in Rashmi!

In another corner of the city, Prabhat ,a misogynist sting journalist, teeters on the brink of total meltdown. Going through a divorce, about to be fired from his job, he attempts a series of failed suicides. On one of them, he meets Naina who is also trying to commit suicide. She had been promised a music video by Loki Local, India's reigning Bhangra Hip Hop star. She slept with him for the same but the video finally went to a Russian blonde. Prabhat can see the sting right in front of his eyes! Prabhat and Naina come closer over a series of attempts to seduce, blackmail, threaten Loki. They plan the final sting where Loki will be caught on tape trying to buy footage of his indiscretions...

LSD is the sort of film that if you're under 18 you won't be allowed into a theatre to see and if you're over 35, you'll probably walk out at some point. But if your age falls somewhere in the sweet spot, and you're half-inclined to watch a film that's non-escapist, a little outside the box, and starless (in short, not quite 'Bollywood') you're in for a real treat. LSD is an indie experiment that works.

Three stories center around each one of the components of the title: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha but, interestingly, also contain each of the three elements. They also intersect in unobtrusive ways and surprise you with interesting turns. It's witty, foul, sweet, and horrific, all at the same time.

What really works for the film is its freshness. Dispensing with comparisons to similar American independent work, LSD is singular to Hindi films in many ways. Take the treatment - digital cameras only where the camera almost doubles up as a character in each case (in fact, one story is seen entirely through fixed security cameras), no makeup on actors, and extremely judicious use of background music. Take the actors - all new faces! This, considering Dibakar Bannerjee could probably have the pick of stars after his success with Oye Lucky; when was the last time a director who could call the shots, decide not to? Take the overarching theme - the unapologetic boldness of it, and the deft execution of what could potentially be a very laboured and boring exercise.

There is an incredible honesty about LSD and that's where its connect with the audience lies. The characters Bannerjee creates, each of them more real than the next, form the core of this incorruptibility. They're the people you know, ones meet everyday. The film attempts to steer clear of moralizing and succeeds to a certain extent, borrowing instead from realistic reactions to decide the course of the stories and their climaxes.

Arguably, the second story stands a head above the other two. The casting, performances (Neha Chauhan, Rajkumar Yadav), the humor, the editing, character graphs, everything falls seamlessly into place to create a unique story set in a supermarket in Delhi, a story that is told in six fixed angles for its entire duration. It's remarkable how much Bannerjee has achieved with his self-imposed restrictions.Some other interesting nuggets abound. There are no opening credits, much in the vain of current international cinema trends. 1960's pulp comic title cards precede each story, even the item song is seamlessly integrated in the end of the film. There is a layer lurking there too. And what a hummable song it is. Best of all, is the curtain call. It's right up there, with Philadelphia and yes, okay, Titanic.

But every experiment has problems, and LSD's got its fair share. A couple of actors have some difficulty just being natural (and to be fair, it's not that easy), the first story is perhaps a bit too over the top and spoofy, and the end of a couple of stories leave you a tad unsatisfied. Minor quibbles in the grander scheme.

At this point, it is tempting to say LSD is an important step forward for Hindi cinema, especially the nadir it hit in 2009. It continues what Dev D started, bettering the attempt in the many ways undoing the negative work of the slew of opportunistic films made in the name of low-budget indie, a trend started by that frame-to-frame rip off, Bheja Fry - but unless the niche audience (well, relatively speaking, over 60% of the movie-watching populace is aged between 18-30 and male) actually takes to the theatres in droves, a little gem will be lost.

Upperstall review by: filmbear





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