T.P. Aggarwal’s Love In Nepal, directed by Rajat Mukherjee is quite an interesting film to scrutinize. Not because of it’s engrossing appeal, which it doesn’t even contain, but rather because of it’s purpose. Why did Rajat Mukherjee make such a film? Although it may seem like quite a amateurish question, you’ll see my reasoning to this query as you read on. The film stars Sonu Nigam and Flora Saini in lead roles and revolves around a Bollywood ishtyle romance. And this is how the story goes…
Abby (Sonu Nigam) is the wiz kid creative head of an ad agency, Madness. He’s the happy-go-lucky, couldn’t give a damn kind of guy; always cracking jokes and slapping high-fives. Even though he is ALWAYS late for work, his supervisors don’t say anything to him (the reason for this still escapes me). All is going just fine n’ dandy for Mr. Abby until his company proposes a merger with another ad agency; and to Abby’s dismay the two companies agree to merge. As if this isn’t enough for poor old Abby, his new boss is the pain in the neck, uptight, and very stylish, Maxi (Flora Saini).
To add the usual masala mirch, both, Abby and Maxi, are keen on making life miserable for each other. Not forgetting that they work together, they try as hard as they can to maintain somewhat of a co-worker/professional relationship, which fails miserably. They land up in Nepal for an ad shoot and this is where there is…Love In Nepal. As fate would have it, here both find out that they each have somewhat of an attraction for each other (go figure!). One night, a drunken Abby is lured into a hotel room by a very seductive model by the name of Tanya (Jarna Bhattacharya). Tanya sings a raunchy number, Katra Katra, while showing some skin (it seems as if it has become a habit for directors to stick one of these item songs in wherever they want). Too drunk to stay awake, at the end of the solo performance by Tanya, Abby falls fast asleep. When he awakes in the morning, he’s astonished to find a murdered Tanya lying in bed next to him. The rest of the story is bent on Abby proving his innocence.
The reason I asked why Rajat Mukherjee made such a film was because I don’t even think he himself knows why he made such a film. If you look at the film from afar, it seems as if Love In Nepal is an attempt at recreating another murder mystery, which has suspense and thrill. But the closer you come, the more the film looks like an attempt at a comedy flick gone wrong.
With purpose and reason aside, the film on the whole has nothing to boast of. Yes, at times there is some comical dialogues that may throw you a giggle or two, but that’s it! It’s what I like to call dull comedy.
The screenplay has gaping holes in it. In the blink of an eye, two enemies are lip wrestling on the shoreline to a delicate melody. What is this? The post-murder half was much too underdeveloped. I find this extremely vexing as the director had a little more than half the movie to create a flouring post-murder mystery, yet he still comes up with nothing more than a rushed and half-baked thriller….or comedy? I still don’t know.
The most important compliment to a nice screenplay is a nice script; the two practically go hand in hand. With a poor screenplay it was only obvious that the script is going to be poor as well, and that is exactly what we have. The writer, Sameer Arora, also seemed confused while writing the script. His comical inserts took away from the seriousness of the film. Half the time I didn’t know whether I should laugh, look perplexed, or seem anxious or frightened.
But then again…we should always look at the glass half full right? Fortunately, in concession to Mr. Rajat Mukherjee, his film does bring some positive elements to the table…
For starters, the cinematography, directed by Madhusudan Shi, is top-notch. He does a great job at capturing the beauty of Nepal, especially the song picturizations, which are exquisite. He creates a semi-slick look to the various settings and gives this film somewhat of an appeal.
The performances could go either way, but I’ll put it in the “good” category for a few reasons. First and foremost, Mr. Sonu Nigam: This is being hailed as his debut film, even though he has two prior releases, Jaani Dushman and Kaash…Aap Hamare Hote. The reason for this is because this industry, and country, loves Sonu Nigam. Regardless of his horrendous performances in his previous two films, they are willing to give him a third chance, which he desperately needed. All who are supporting Sonu’s acting career can breathe a sigh of relief, as this performance is superb, when you compare it to his previous two. Unfortunately, he still needs a lot of work if he wants to become a mainstream actor in Bollywood. As the film started off, I was pleasantly surprised to see the poise and confidence with which Sonu executed the role of Abby and his carefree character, which was not evident in his previous enactments. To sum up Sonu’s performance; it was great when compared to his other performances, but when you put it in mainstream perspective, he barely reaches the average mark here.
Flora Saini doesn’t make much of an impact in her debut film. She does a decent job in portraying Maxi as a stubborn and uptight control freak. As the box office has shown, she isn’t going to get much recognition for her part in this film. Hopefully she gets a much more structured role in the future. At times she seemed confident in enacting her part, but for the most part she seemed confused and was never really able to understand Maxi’s character.
The pick of the lot would have to be the very talented Mr. Rajpal Yadav. Personally, this guy is something else! He has proven, ad nauseam, that he has a lot of potential to make it big. Finally in 2003, he landed in his first lead role in RGV’s Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon. Here he plays the easygoing guide, Bunty, and plays his role with utmost perfection. He settles into his character easily and makes himself loved by the audience. Due to his limited role, he won’t be noticed too much for this film. The shoddy makeup of the film in general only adds to his limitations.
On the whole, Love In Nepal has nothing really to offer except a few laughs here and there and maybe a semi-decent climax. But it’s not worth wasting an entire 3 hours just to watch a climax. The film will fail definitely at the B.O. The only good that can come out of it is a hint of Sonu’s upcoming career as an actor, that also is stretching it! If you have absolutely nothing better to do then watch this film, otherwise please stay away.