Love, Sex Aur Dhokha... A bitter pill

A naive, Bollywood-inspired love story ends up not with a rosy ‘happily ever after’, but in a pit by the highway, murdered and chopped into pieces. This one’s different, and it’s cringe-worthily real. LSD isn’t going to drive the Box Office ecstatic. Rather, it might break a few conventions, on what makes a film, what makes a story, what can be told and what is taboo.

The purpose of art isn’t to please, but to reflect reality, often with a shock value. In that sense, Dibakar Benerjee is an artist, almost with a modern dystopian sense of the profane. All three stories in his digitally-shot, ‘pictures-may-be-shaky’ reality show aren’t meant to have safe, stylised, larger-than-life splendour. His stories are squalid, his characters realistically petty and powerless, pawns of a convoluted social fabric. His middle-class protagonists aren’t the all-mighty, all-challenging, fate-altering Bollywood hero. They are middle-class, sure, but ineffectual, with common, often delusional aspirations of falling in love, finding fame through a raunchy music video deal, and a shooting a prize-catch sting video.

Therefore, the DDLJ-inspired Rahul and his rich-dad’s-daughter girlfriend run away from home, not to be accepted later, but to be murdered brutally by the girl’s brother and party. The shock value of the story isn’t allowed to pathetically linger, though. We move on to the boy who seduces a ‘dark’, and therefore conventionally unattractive, girl, and records a ‘Store Scandal’ footage that sells for a ‘good’ price. The somewhat-cliched third story is that of the aspiring dancer and sting journalist out to blackmail and reveal a B-grade pop singer and the infamous casting couch. While the first two stories are essentially Delhi, the last seems to belong to Bollywood underbelly in Mumbai.

Shot on a handheld camera, a CCTV and a spy cam (a la Emotional Atyachaar), this is cinema made without a grand budget, glamorous stars or pretty camerawork. It’s rather a parody of the glittering dream that Bollywood sells: of romantic soliloquies, tube-well-uprooting action heroes and the morally upright common man. The ‘item number’ in LSD is also a crude parody of the Rakhi Sawant brand of cleavage and sex.

For those who call Love, Sex aur Dhokha crass and dirty, it is precisely that. But appropriately so, for so is the reality that surrounds us. A hidden camera (here, acting as the proverbial mirror) held up to society cannot be rose-tinted, and Emotional Atyachaar’s TRP ratings speak for our voyeuristic tastes. For those seeking safe, un-scandalising cinema, 3 Idiots will continue to define ‘realistic’ cinema.

For the unfortunate few who’ve had to endure my review/rant, go see the film. You’ll love it, or you’ll be shocked by the filmmaker’s guts. Either way, that’s the point.

8 comments:

madhurima said...

Can't wait to watch it... this is nicely written!

Sarit said...

Tell me what you think. Rahul said it hasn't yet come to Hyd

Jayeeta Mazumder said...

Very well-written. Loved the conclusion :) keep writing

kaatib said...

I thought it might be a first class bluff (honestly that director bong looks more a fraud). But now I'll definitely watch it. It's a nice review

tanmaysekhar said...

heyy, the ending note is too good, about the movie, I had some assumptions its not goes exactly like that but definitely most of it is like as I thought, though I didn't watched the movie yet... rest will let you know in a weeks time, definitely good thought by you Sarit.

Sarit said...

thanks Vinod. Do let me know your feedback on the film.
@ Shafeeq: How're you , bro? Why 'Kaatib'?

kaatib said...

i'm fine bro. same place same stories.
the one who writes is kaatib

Fully grown fuzzy Hipposaur said...

Mind blowing finish! Loved reading it.