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Love Sex Aur Dhokha Movie Review: Hide and Shriek Wednesday, 17 March, 2010

Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood.
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This review was first posted on PFC. [link]

This is also the very first “on screen”  review to be published on the web as the earlier reviewers saw the movie on the DVD.

[Spoilers protected. This is review is written after watching the preview show (very first screening) held at Fun Republic preview theater, Andheri at 6:30 pm on 16 March 2010.]

Like every other new wave cinema starved junta, I too was eager to watch LSD, since I read about it  and saw it’s highly intriguing and somewhat provocative poster, the very first time. Knowing Dibakar Bannerjee’s flair for dealing real-life subjects from a blasé perspective, penchant for creating believable on-screen characters, I expected something hitherto unexpected in Hindi cinema. Especially when the subject involved sensitive topics like sex, voyeurism, deceit and candid cams. To top it, the entire cast was kept secret for a long time from the media. The concoction is a potentially and dangerously explosive material and as there were no discussion anywhere on the content, which increased my expectation further. (I remember seeing one obscure Hindi movie sometime back, titled Agar Aisa Nahin Hota to Kaisa Hota (can someone tell me the right name please?) or something which had long monologues about sex, fart and one night stand. I slept off halfway)

spycam, leg, Luki Local, threesome

Spycam view of Luki Local and his phoren escort

Without divulging any plot details, the quick and dirty synopsis of the movie would be as follows-

Love Sex aur Dhokha is an Anthology of three short films with the basic pretext as love, sex and deceit. Each of the stories has certain element of love, sex and deceit in varying degrees. The characters of different stories are interconnected with some places and certain events, though the stories or the character’s lives are not affected by this interconnection. We have the story of Rahul, a film school graduate, making a diploma film and falling in love with her heroine Shruti. The second story is about Adarsh and Rashmi in a 24×7 departmental store franchisee, always under CCTV surveillance. The third story is about a loser sting operator journo Prabhat helping out frustrated model Naina, after she is ditched by famous Punjabi pop star Loki Local. All the three stories run simultaneously, but narrated separately.

I personally disapprove comparing one particular movie of a Director with his other works. For example, ”Oye Lucky was not as good as Khosla Ka Ghosla”  or “Dev D was way better than Gulaal “ That beats me. It’s like comparing one dish of a master chef with another, each of which has a distinctively different taste & flavour, though cooked in the same kitchen. I am not sure how convincing the simile is, but my point is LSD is no way comparable to DB’s KGK and OLLO in terms on its content, treatment and aftertaste. Neither it has any similarity with Sex, Lies and Videotapes.

Aftertaste. That’s where some cinema affects the audience and matures them slowly. One movie at a time. You get out of the theatre, light a smoke and think about the movie. You have dinner and think about it. You sleep with the movie. Next day morning, you still walk with the movie. The movie gets on you, makes you think and affects you somewhere.  LSD had a strong aftertaste and it was in one word ‘disturbing’.

Yes, LSD is extremely disconcerting, disturbing, involving, provocatively engaging, mind numbingly shocking. Was it entertaining? Entertainment is a blurred concept here. If you consider that a porn clip, a secretly shot mms or a voyeuristic video footage have more viewers than, say Tom & Jerry show, then what is true entertainment? It depends on the state of mind, maturity, taste and acceptability of the audience. LSD will create its own audience. For me, LSD appears to be genre defying. Was it a black comedy? Or a Satire? Was it a spoof ? A mockumentary ? Reality cinema? or a Shockumentary to make the audience realize about the helplessness and agony of the characters? The various emotions it portrays and evokes, smudges the fine line between morality and deceit, innocence and brutality, love and sex, agony and ecstasy, cinema and reality.

Spycam, vanity van, Luki Local, foreplay, provocation

Through the eye of Spycam at Luki's vanity van

The movie takes some time to ‘develop and train’ the senses of the audience. We need our amateur eyes to get accustomed with the shaky cameraworks ( awesome job by Dop Nikos Andritsakis here), low lights and hazy footages, the movie prepares our ears to experience the sync sounds of heavy breathing, everyday noise in the background and most importantly moulds the mind to gradually drag us into the perspective, of being on the other side of the camera. There are weird angles, extreme close-ups, blurred footages, noisy breaks, low battery warnings and timer counters on the corners of the screen, throughout the movie. Once one is hooked to the narrative, the movie gradually gets under the skin.

Please do not expect a ‘regular’ glossy Hindi cinema here- no big budget, opening credit, celebrity star cast, pleasing cinematography, perfect lighting, seamless editing, beautifully composed background score in every scene and breathtaking locales, like we are accustomed seeing in Hindi cinema. In fact, there are least outdoor shots like the ‘Churchgate ki Chudail’ scene. That scene deserves to go to the spoof hall of fame in times to come. The entire movie seems to be shot with handheld camcorders, zoomable CCTV and hidden cameras for the three stories, respectively. I was reminded of the Blair Witch Project, in the first story where Rahul, the film student records everything on his camcorder, even when he is not shooting for his diploma him ‘ Mehendi lagake Rakhna’. As the names suggests it’s his homage to Aditya Chopra and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Total gag bag.

Having said that LSD has, if I am allowed to use the term, all typical ‘Dibakar Bannerjee ingredients’. The movie starts with those cover page of Hindi crime novels with sleazy titles and each of the short story had such titles with suitable graphic and music to go with. There are enough laugh-out loud moments, hilarious dialogue exchanges, idiosyncratic and loud characters and threadbare detailing in set design. Shruti’s dad, the day time Punjabi departmental store chic, the security guard, the ‘hero’ of  Mehendi Lagake Rakhna, the bhangra-pop superstar Luki Local are rock solid with their character performances. There are a good number of characters, each with short but extremely important role in the narrative. There are unconventional lyrics (written by Dibakar himself)  like ‘ Tu nangi achhi lagti hai/ tu gandi achhi lagti hai’ and item girl saying ‘FO…FO…FO’ , peppy title song at the climax, voice of Kailash Kher and rustic  take-it-or-leave it kinda music by Sneha Khanwalker (OLLO fame). The humour in LSD traverses from being spontaneous and subtle to dark and blurred.

Storecam, CCTV, scandal

Grab from the CCTV storecam

Surprisingly, though the movie deals with such sensitive subject- it doesn’t have a single ‘vulgar’ scene. Practically, it doesn’t even show a proper cleavage. There’s nothing sleazy or explicit on screen, neither there’s KLPD type of editing- which frustrated our adolescence in the 80’s. LSD is not an erotica, if anyone is expecting so. The only reportedly sleazy sex scene is heavily blurred. The A rating of the movie is more for the contained profanity ( optimum usage of the hindi B word and English F word ) and less for exposure.

The entire movie is carried forward by a motley bunch of young character artists- Anshuman Jha (Rahul), Shruti (Shruti), Raj Kumar Yadav (Adarsh), Neha Chauhan (Rashmi) Amit Sial (Prabhat) were extremely natural in their ‘acting’. Arya Bannerjee (or is it Devdutta) as Naina convinced her sexy siren image, with a mindblowing siren yell- which will reverberate for long. Herry Tangdi as a loud (Mika type) personality had difficult sequences and make up to carry on him, which he achieved to the hilt. I must mention the standout performances by the actors who played Shruti’s dad (Sandeep Bose) and the store watchman (Premnath), the ‘Hero’ named Shahid Kureshi (Ashish Sharma) and the day time punjabi salesgirl (Namrata Rao– also, the editor of the film).  They were complete show stealers with their dialogue delivery dovetailed with body language. I did feel the Prabhat- Naina sequences were little too garbled up and prolonged compared to other two stories, but at the end, I was not in a state of complaint. LSD started working by then.

The story by DB/ Kenu Behl had shockingly unpredictable twists. Urmi Juvekar’s (writer of OLLO, the creative director for LSD) concepts are visually enriched. The screenplay narrative is non linear at places, leading to a climax and a video footage, which when placed on the sequence of events jigsaw, is very unsettling.

LSD is a signal to change. It demands audience maturity to get shocked after a hearty laugh, strong nerve, and acceptance of cinema with some ‘real’ ingredient as we do in real life. LSD let’s you escape to the funnyland intermittently, but eventually drags you in the harsh reality and leaves you pondering.

Go watch it. Get matured.

Postscript: My very first film review was of Khosla Ka Ghosla in 2006, the debut of Dibakar Banerjee. Before that I never knew I can write (anything else other than answer sheets and reports), though I was interested in flims all along. Now, during the preview show, when I was watching LSD with him and his entire cast and crew I wanted to thank him for making Khosla ka Ghosla. Had he not made that film, I probably would never written anything in my life, never blogged, never wrote anything on PFC and never attended any preview show before a films release and never met the Directors like Anurag Kashyap, Pankaj Advani and spoken to Kundan Shah. Obviously, I couldn’t tell him while everyone thronged him congratulating and asking technical questions. However, I am happy today that I wrote that very first review.



1. Rofl Indian - Friday, 19 March, 2010

It is a pointless exercise to compare movies made by the same director. Someone like DB would always yearn for exploring different dimensions of cinema. LSD (an appropriate abbreviation, promising a heady mix and elevation to a trance like state!) is a commendable effort by the director. Unfortunately, the Indian cinematic establishment is still afflicted by what can be termed as the ‘box office syndrome’, whereby films are gauged by the b.o. collections and not by the strength of their merit. Hopefully, DB, AK and PA will set the records straight.
Enjoy more previews 🙂

2. mehndi patterns - Tuesday, 15 June, 2010

nice photos and nice article

3. Umar Sharif - Thursday, 7 October, 2010

Very Nice Information’s!

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