Ever thought the newspaper article that you are chewing upon could be the plot of the next film that you watch? Well in a world where Ram Gopal Verma resides with his film-making urges unabated, it is very much possible! This week’s new release Not a Love Story is not even a good story. In fact it is a gory story scavenging on the real life murder of Neeraj Grover for which Maria Susairaj and her boyfriend were held responsible. The case is still fresh in our minds after receiving unflinching media attention. When Susairaj was released after serving a punishment of 3 years there were many questioning the legal justice system and when RGV spoke of his film project and casting Susairaj, many questioned his mental state.
The film has finally been released with Mahie Gill playing the part of an ambitious struggling actress Maria Susairaj, Deepak Dobriyal as her mad passionate lover and Ajay Gehi as Neeraj Grover, the man who was killed by the lover in a fit of rage. I don’t know whether we should be happy or a tad bit disappointed that RGV completely sticks to the newspaper /TV version of the murder. There is nothing in the story that we don’t already know. No fresh details or perspective is put forth (and add to this his refusal to take a stand) and the film neither completely damns the murderers nor does it make us empathize with them.
Even after the gruesome murders Anusha (Mahie Gill) and Robin (Deepak Dobriyal) are shown to be strangely intertwined in the bond of love that can be best described as esoteric. Just when the audience decide to keep an open mind and try to understand the pulls and pressures that could have pushed an otherwise simple girl to partner a crime such as this, the story and characterization furnish no details of the angst of her character. It is ironical that a girl who came to Mumbai to make a name for herself only manages to do so by getting herself and her family to disrepute.
Despite this the film is not totally worthless. The first half is lucid and gripping. The story is neatly put out and while we know where it all is heading, RGV does manage to keep us interested and glued. However things begin to rattle after the interval. Mahie Gill's incessant crying and her ringtone stretch on well past the expiry date making us feel totally irritated. Since it is “not” a love story the general hue of the film is dark and bloody – literally. Deepak Dobriyal enthralls us with his gritty performance.
Violence and blood are both expected and accepted but what is difficult to stomach is the placing of the camera. The angles from which scenes are shot are not just unusual but sometimes in bad taste and nauseating. As RGV decides to zoom and pan, the camera in question seems to be totally characterless in nature at times literally barging into Mahie Gill’s body. The movie ends on a strange note too. Contrary to the title, we see an attempt to show the partners in crime as hapless lovers being persecuted by society.
Are we surprised? Well not really. The most important pre-requisite for any RGV film is to acclimatize yourself to his topsy turvy universe. Once you are ready to do that nothing seems too difficult to digest. No alien to controversy, Not A Love Story is an unapologetic attempt by RGV to present his views but it’s an average attempt that you can wait and watch on TV rather than go all the way to the theatre to book tickets for!