Apart from this being the fifth film in as many weeks with variations of the word ‘love’ (luv, pyaar, love…), there is not much else to report from Vipul Shah’s latest (and most sensible, by his recent standards) instalment. Maybe it has something to do with the lead actress being his wife, but that is obviously looking too much into this particular brainwave.
Vastly different from the usual ‘cinema’ Shah generally unleashes on his adoring and equally-intellectual audience, Kucch Luv Jaisaa (absolutely randomly-named) will be recognized more as the film that has finally done partial justice to atleast 74% of the talent that the gorgeous Shefali Shah seems to possess, which not many seem to notice (formerly known as Shefali Chhaya - yes, the ‘bahu’ in Mohabbatein and Biku Matre's wife in Satya) Finally being blessed with a lead-role in a tailor made film that optimizes the cinematic effect of the sheer frustration that leads every second Indian housewife to a meltdown sooner or later, Shah revels in a role that will definitely have seedy and non-seedy producers lining up at her doorstep to cast her as lead actress in many ‘mature love stories’- as is the trend nowadays.
Apart from the usual housewife-spends-one-day-with-criminal plot with more loopholes in the story than holes in Vipul Shah’s pocket after his previous venture with Akshay Kumar and the inevitable transformation that adorns every Indian roadtrip movie, debutant director Barani Ray Shukla also manages to optimize the absolute expressionless of the evergreen Rahul Bose - who, in filmy circles, is known as an editor’s wet dream because of his unmatched ability to look and act the absolute same in every shot of every role of every film. Of course, he could argue that the hidden mental trauma of the criminal required him to not twitch a facial muscle, apart from spouting dialogues that seems to display, in no uncertain terms, his polished South-Mumbai interpretation of the routine Mumbai gangster act. He could be half-correct about this, though, and it does add a bit of depth to his morose and studied character here but we still prefer Shiney Ahuja in Gangster.
Films with a wafer-thin plot that market themselves as a coming-of-age journey of two lead characters with completely contrasting lives often require the setup and the performances to be spot-on, even if a bit unorthodox. The long-in-the-making star of Shefali Shah has just begun to shine, much after most actresses tend to have ‘passed their prime’, and because it is India we’re talking looks-wise. Acting skills don’t really matter much anymore- atleast not to Vipul Shah who seems to favour the lovely Katrina Kaif ever so much in most of his previous commercial business projects. One wonders if the audience will credit Vipul for Shefali bagging the lead role in a feature film, or Shefali for Vipul boasting of a story which may have many bored housewives rubbing their palms in glee and beginning to look for the next boring heavy-on-baggage criminal at a quiet South Mumbai beach bar. It is interesting to see Mrs Shah (sounds spicier no?) consistently proving her acting prowess and now jumping onto the glamour bandwagon while still managing to bag roles that are diametrically opposite in substance and style to her dear husband’s showreel (before this aberration).
So what if a smart housewife decides to display her bimbo quotient under the pretext of ignorance (or innocence) and refuses to pay any heed to the mere possibility of a stranger actually not turning out to be an exciting superhero or an undercover detective on the job. Or maybe it could be delusion, after years of years of mechanically running a big house (without salary, no less) that could probably drive today’s housewife quite insane. Intelligence rarely matters in the end and whether she is an English professor in a Gujarati college or a woman silently tolerating her husband’s meandering ways, it does not make much of a difference. She is still desperate for a few thrills. She still wants to break free. Rebellion is a must, a year later or even 14 later with half-grown children at their annoying best. Could be anything from buying a brand new car instinctively (as is the case here) or settling down for a few forbidden thrills with a toyboy (as is the case everywhere). Whatever the case, the message is loud and clear- Do not take a housewife for granted, especially not the ones who can transform into sizzling hot yummy mummies with one parlour visit. And if your name is DK Bose…Bhaag bhaag! Storm is coming, storm is coming!
She will run, she will elope, she will go wild and an intimately awkward (supposedly life-changing too) encounter with a downtrodden cop or criminal on the way could lead her back to you, but as a changed person who seems to take more interest in her 12 year old daughter’s sex life. (What? Why?) Simplistic it may sound, but we prefer to look at the brighter side - it could have been Lara Dutta in yet another producer-turned-actor role that may only encourage Dia Mirza and Celina Jaitley to do the same.
Also, forget the script and the surreal flashbacks that seem to plague Rahul Bose’s character for the sole purpose of revealing the darkness of his tortured soul. What was Neetu Chandra doing in a blink-and-still-won't-miss role that required nothing else but a white dress, red lipstick and over-the-top colour correction?
A special word for Sumit Raghavan and his almost-convincing act of an almost-competent brand manager of a multi-national firm who constantly finds a way to insert new housewife and new-age women metaphors into the content-light script, without making it seem too tacky. Almost convincing, I said. But nice try. Clueless husband too, after 15 years? Maybe not.
Half-baked characters and tacky montages seldom a woman-centric film make. Unless you are Yashraj using the word ‘Luv’ in a completely unoriginal context under the pretext of catering to the apparently braindead youth of today. One more Luv-inspired title and this will be luvvv ka indeed, da end!
- Reel Reptile