Love Sex Aur Dhoka—the Review

50 Comments

Voyeurism and modern society’s obsessive interest in the lives of others has been a recurrent theme in cinema, having been explored in classics like Blow Up and Rear Window as well as in countless trashy exploitation flicks from Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct knock-off Sliver to Navina Cinema’s eternal favorite Bedroom Eyes since it provides an opportunity to insert sequences of women undressing as part of the plot.  Handicam “reality” footage, a technique inspired by cinema verite, has also been extensively used in many Hollywood blockbusters in recent times—Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and last year’s sleeper hit Paranormal Activity. And episodic movies with interleaving story lines as an alternative narrative structure has been flogged to death recently by both Hollywood as well as Bollywood.

“Love Sex Aur Dhoka”, Dibakar Banerjee’s take on voyeurism, told through three inter-cutting stories each of which are about Love, Sex and Dhoka and presented through handicam/surveillance cam footage is at the same time derivative (one of the stories has a closing sequence almost identical to the one from Cloverfield) as well as wildly original.

The innovativeness of LSD does not lie in the fact that no one in the Hindi film industry has yet to use the “raw cam footage technique” as a cinematic device–if LSD was just about that it would have been just another gimmicky production, yet another “I am a cool director” monument to artistic hubris.

No LSD is original because it is able to capture small moments of love, horror, indecision, conflict, lust, rage and true evil brilliantly in a manner rarely seen in Hindi movies, with the technique and stylistic flourishes rarely overwhelming the content.

The aesthetic impact of LSD is based on three foundations—-uniformly superlative performances from the unknown ensemble cast, marvelously sharp editing because of which at no point of time would an intelligent audience member be left scratching their heads as to what is going on (a real possibility considering how so unlike a Hindi movie stylistically LSD is)  and finally brilliant use of lighting as a device to heighten dramatic tension. LSD is not perfect however with its primary weakness being the spoof of DDLJ that diluted the movie’s impact and was sometimes so forced that it seemed as if the director had an axe to grind against Adi-sir. Save that and a few other smaller things including the dishonestly sleazy promotion campaign, LSD is pretty darn awesome.

Take a bow Dibakar Banerjee for going where no Hindi movie director has gone before. And take a bow Ekta Kapoor for having the balls to produce a movie that is so beyond the pale of conventional Bollywood. You are henceforth forgiven for unleashing Tusshar Kapoor on the world. Produce a few movies like this Ms. Kapoor and maybe, perhaps maybe, your responsibility for the K-serial holocaust might also be forgotten.

A definite must-watch.

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50 thoughts on “Love Sex Aur Dhoka—the Review

  1. On the spot! First story and upto some extent even the third story could’ve been a little tighter. Second one was absolutely brilliant with perfect mixture of all three love, sex and dhokha.

  2. Movie is good..but not your review…
    seems like you were a little overwhelemed by the director/movie…
    It lacked the sracasm and bitter humour thats characterstic of you..

  3. @satyadk
    i have – in bangalore – it should come in 2-3 days… the mailer says it has already been dispatched… flipkart is usually quite prompt….

  4. The movie stood out because of the way it treated the stories: average looking people making the characters look more real than the regular ‘Karan’s and ‘Raj’s; the ordinary moments of human life; the camera work etc. Otherwise, the stories and the concept in itself aren’t surely path-breaking.

  5. After hearing lots of praising for LSD, got to watch it.
    But it is obviously not released where I am and so now i will have to search where it is available.

    Btw i had same fun reading your comments section as i had reading you post, liked the competitive spirit in being first one commenting …hehehe 🙂

  6. “one of the stories has a closing sequence almost identical to the one from Cloverfield”

    the dhoka-fied heroine turns into a giant monster that destroys an entire city, but is not actually shown doing so?*

    * has seen neither cloverfield nor LSD, feels the need to add his two cents anyway..

  7. A good movie should make one think… LSD made me puke… ctrl c ctrl v some shots and scenes from bhojpuri movies and mms scandals and that makes a classic? how about mysore mallige… that too was class ryt?

  8. First time I am responding to your blog (or any blog for that matter)- feel strongly enough about this to overcome my innate laziness. Went to see the movie only because the director’s resume had Khosla Ka Ghosla in it, which I liked. I thought LSD was a terrible movie – a very poor attempt at cinema with interlinked sequences. Crash was a good example of this genre, not LSD. The only positive is that the moral police in Mumbai are not tearing down the halls – not yet at least. They are probably frustrated at the dhoka arising out of the lack of sex on display.

  9. Read your book. I’m sure getting a book published is an achievement to be proud of, but frankly, wasn’t exactly up to the standard I was expecting. The footnotes were a little irritating at times, but on the whole, good job.

  10. you write very few reviews like this without a tinge of mockery or sarcasm; last i rememeber browsing thru was The Dark Knight. Also you acknowledged Ms Kapoor for producing the movie which is contrary to the ‘hatke brigade’ belief that you are a bit rigid in your perceptions and do not spare your usual-sandbags, I assume Kapoor was one.

    will watch the film some time soon..

  11. Love, Sex & Dhoka = Sex, Lies & Videotape?

    GB, Brian De Palma’s 2007 Iraq War movie ‘Redacted’ was shot on handycam, webcam feed, cell phone video etc. Would have given me a headache on the big screen, but it looked good on TV.

    Anyway, Oye Lucky was a great movie, & I am very interested in seeing the follow up.

    On a different note, anything on the Stephen’s Court fire? You must have seen the actions, inactions & reactions first hand (I am assuming you are still in Cal?).

  12. Agree with your review – loved the format – was indeed a bold move. The characterization, the acting, the attention to detail in the film was superb!

  13. You forgot to mention ” Ek choti si love story”, a film which took cinematic voyeurism to new heights and faked what not premise to show sex and uncovered flesh. I have already watched LSD twice and can watch it again, if somebody pays my bills.
    That said, I think LSD is a hugely polarising film as you can see from the comments itself. I was quite taken over by how real the characters and the dialogues were. Even that girl in the second story whose boyfriend had eloped to Russia, was so out of daily lives that I have seen a number of such people all across Delhi. And in the first story , I thought that the ending couldn’t have been real after all, but my friend from Haryana informed me that a few months back , a couple was chopped through alive by a huge thrashing machine used to cut crops by their parents. Even the movie sequence pales in comparison to that.
    And I really do not think that your review required a lot of sarcasm coz the memories of such a movie should not have been marred by doses of sarcasm. You actually did where it was required like in Ekta Kapoor mention(LOL at that). So kudos, for a well written review.
    And does your word editor follows only American english? Coz it shows the spelling of “polarising” as wrong. Or is it wrong?

  14. kekta kapoor has to produce, direct and write same no. of brilliant movies combined of speilberg, kubrick, tarantino, hitchkock to be forgiven. lol

  15. Loved the movie…and am so pleased that you did too…else would have commented here to defend it…ok…that last part was not completely true…i would have fought u in my mind and left it at that…just like i have done so many times in the past…

  16. This is one of those movies which show that you dont need big stars/directors to make a good film! In bollywood thats a huge thing.
    the starting of the film is such that it makes u feel its a GB directed one 😛

  17. Can’t wait for the Gujju version – Love Sex and…..(drumroll) – yep, you guessed it – Dhokla.

    Thank you thank you (*takes a bow, ducking the tomatoes*).

  18. Hi Greatbong,

    I love reading your blog. But then honestly, I was disappointed with your book. It was just a mix of the things you usually write on your blog. So the book was not like a book but was very blog-ish.

    I do realize that writing a book is very different from writing a blog. And so if you can write very very nice blog posts, not necessary that you can write good books as well. I am sorry if I hurt you. Just giving my opinion.

    I will always read your blog posts though. Keep writing!

  19. Just hope the ‘plexes can keep it going for another week… I look forward to every movie Dibakar and Anurag Kashyap make…btw, did you get to review Road, Movie? I missed that and it was gone in a week (predictably)… have to catch it on DVD.

  20. LSD was fun…and thats wat it should have tried to be from the start. The first story is a drag – the 2nd being the face saver and third, a tad disappointing, considering you often save the best for the last. But ofcourse, moies like these deserve to be made and we should applaud that its a start.

  21. Good review. Good to see u dont use sarcasm all the time. If the movie is good there is no need for it. I liked that u took some digs at Ekta though. She cant be forgiven that easily. 🙂

  22. Needless to say, it is a landmark movie.
    “…take a bow Ekta Kapoor for having the balls to produce…”
    Priceless 🙂

  23. I agree! and i love the way the 1st story goes along the lines of DDLJ with just a different end to tale and what an end it was!

  24. Yeah, it was decent enough. And now it appears it has done a darn good job of bringing social issues into the spotlight, with the Delhi High Court judgement on the Haryana “honour-killers”. God knows if that happened under the influence of LSD :-p

    On a serious note, I think it’s gr8 that the judiciary has decided to set an example. In fact, the real criminals are the village khap pradhans who enjoy political patronage and can do virtually anything .. even make a father or a brother murder their sister in cold blood, by threatening ostracism.

    You know what I’m talkin ’bout ?

  25. Arnab, Arnab, Arnab — Hats off to you for your wonderful writing in your book.. it literally got me curious looks from people sitting nearby.. i was laughing my head off almost in every page.. way to go..

    Mind Blowing Mahiya indeed 🙂

  26. LSD lasted longer than Road, Movie… fantastic and disturbing… Dibakar is quite the man. Can’t wait for his next venture… supposedly a political thriller with Abhay!

  27. I Second you Kavita.

    I have expected or rather i should say i wanted this book MIHYAP to be good but alas i am diappointed. sorry bro..not up to the mark.

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