A love story not worth telling on screen

Producer: Sunil Bohra, Shailesh R Singh, Kiran Kumar Koneru
Director: Ram GopalVarma
Cast: Mahi Gill, Deepak Dobriyal, Ajay Gehi, Prableen Sandhu, Zakir Hussain, Darshan Jariwala

Mumbai: Love, adultery, jealousy and the resultant crime are factors as old as the puranas. Then why wait for a real life incident that created a major scandal and grabbed headlines in all the media?

May be the idea was exactly to cash in on all that publicity the said scandal generated and also to avail of a ready story. Unfortunately, that is the major drawback of Not A Love Story.

Not A Love Story is a cinematic narrative of the infamous Neeraj Grover murder, the media judgements and the court case that followed on a Kannada actor wanting to make it big in Hindi films and her boyfriend.

Mahi Gill, aspiring to be a film actress, descends in Mumbai after convincing her overzealous boyfriend, Deepak Dobriyal, that if she fails to make it, she will return in a few months. And if she succeeds, he could also join her in Mumbai.

After some mandatory struggle, she bags a lead role, thanks to the production company‘s head, Ajay Gehi, who roots for her. The two with other friends hit a pub to celebrate her break, after which Gehi lands up at her house for ‘one for the road‘. Intoxicated, he has a personal sob story to tell Gill, and, as a drunk and emotional woman would do, she lends him a shoulder, eventually both ending up in bed.

Next morning, before they could gather themselves, her boyfriend, Dobriyal, is at her door and sees a naked man on her bed. To absolve herself she cries rape and, on an impulse, Dobriyal kills Gehi. The law catches up and the film ends sans final court verdict.
So what is so inspiring about this story, real or otherwise, to base a film on? Are people interested still in that beaten to death story? Does not seem so looking at the attendance at cinema halls on day one, show one. In that case, should one conclude that Ram Gopal Varma may have felt that his ‘treatment‘ backed with a powerful background score would elevate the story to dramatic heights? On the first count, that of treatment, the answer is no, it is still a documentary on a real life event; as for the powerful background score, it has been wasted on this film. Performance wise, Deepak Dobriyal and Zakir Hussain are the only ones to make an impact; rest are okay.

Not A Love Story is a love story which was not worth telling on a screen by any name. There is nothing or no one you empathise with in this film.

Chatur Singh Two Star is poor in all respects

Producer: Mohamad Aslam
Director: Ajay Chandhok.
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Ameesha Patel, Anupam Kher, Gulshan Grover, Shakti Kapoor, Satish Kaushik, Rati
Agnihotri,Mushtaq Khan,Vishwajeet Pradhan.

Mumbai: It must have seemed like a bright idea adapting the bumbling French police detective Jacques Clouseau of the famous Pink Panther series. The makers may even have wondered why no one thought of it when they decided to model Chatur Singh Two Star on this popular theme which went on for 11 film or TV versions.

Sanjay Dutt is a two star police detective inspector with bumbling ways and foolish notions; in short he is anything but Chatur (smart) a la detective Clouseau. His sidekick, Suresh Menon, is Clouseau‘s Chinese major domo.

Sanjay Dutt earns a two-week suspension for his detection abilities leading to putting a tycoon‘s son behind bars. However, when an ailing politician, Gulshan Grover, opts for hospital instead of jail after faking a heart attack, his boss, Anupam Kher, recalls Sanjay Dutt for the simple task of guarding him in hospital. But Dutt continues his foolhardy ways sniffing around like a spy he has read about in cheap paperback fictions.

The writer and director feel the need to bring in some sort of story at this juncture. The politician, Gulshan Grover, is shot dead by a sniper from across the hospital room. His secretary, Ameesha Patel, is suspected of being the killer and escapes to South Africa thanks to Sanjay Dutt‘s help, and on him falls the job to trace her and bring her to book.

The scene moves to South Africa locales where some more funny characters are introduced in the form of Satish Kaushik, an ex-don gone bananas, his side kick, Shakti Kapoor, who has now taken over as the new don and speech impaired cabbie, Mushtaque Khan. The idea is to trace Rs 5 billion worth of diamonds Gulshan Grover has placed in the custody of Satish Kaushik. What follows is utterly predictable with climax being the kind seen in half a dozen films in recent times.

Having chosen a totally performance-based subject requiring an actor of immense talent who can make people laugh without making any conscious effort, the makers add to their blunder by casting Sanjay Dutt who is expressionless rather than deadpan. He resorts to ineffective buffoonery.

Ameesha Patel has no contribution to make. As for other capable actors, Anupam Kher, Satish Kaushik, Shakti Kapoor, Mushtaque Khan and Suresh Memon, who have carried off comic roles ably earlier, are unable to do
much in the absence of funny scenes or dialogue. In fact, the writing is banal and juvenile. Direction is below par. Musical score is a liability and adds to the tedium.

Chatur Singh Two Star is poor in all respects.

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