Vikrant Massey & Sanya Malhotra Bring To You A Dark Love Story Enhanced By Shanker Raman’s Visual Brilliance
Star Cast: Vikrant Massey, Sanya Malhotra, Bobby Deol, and ensemble.
Director: Shanker Raman
What’s Good: It is unapologetically dark and there is no moment where tension doesn’t exist. Films being brave enough to not have clichéd gimmicks are welcomed.
What’s Bad: A rushed climax and Bobby Deol repetitively killing people even if they breathe does hamper things.
Loo Break: You might want to take it but also not feel like it. Love Hostel will make your stay actually.
Watch or Not?: Watch it. There is no reason to stop you.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Available On: Zee5
Runtime: Around 120 Minutes.
Two star-crossed lovers, Ahmed (Vikrant) and Jyoti (Sanya) elope and get married. But Jyoti’s influential family doesn’t approve of it. They hire a mercenary (Bobby) to kill the two and unfolds the drama.
Love Hostel Movie Review: Script Analysis
If you haven’t seen any promotional material and your only motivation is the name ‘Love Hostel’, let me educate and break your bubble. The title of the movie looks like a rom-com unfolding in the Heartland but dare you to think like that, it is dark without a single moment of optimism. The evolution of the OTT space has equipped the makers to make films without adding popular romantic gimmicks, and tell raw stories. The Sanya and Vikrant starrer is a good example. The opening shot is Bobby Deol’s Dagar hanging an eloped couple to death. Now you know what I mean.
Love Hostel as the title does not suggest, is about two star-crossed lovers coming from different walks of life (religion to be specific) and trying to live together by going against the societal norms. But how will the society not poke their long nose in their business? Enters the family of Jyoti, which includes a matriarch Dadi, who is also an esteemed politician. She sends a mercenary to kill the two and clear the ‘daag’ from their family name. On the face of it, the movie looks quite obvious love story with a mercenary on a hunt for two lovers. But no there is a bit more.
Writers Mehak Jamal, Shanker Raman, and Yogi Singha set their story in Haryana. A Muslim boy who runs a meat shop is wanting to marry a Hindu girl from a so called ‘prestigious’ clan. The commentary is about the religious divide right in the beginning. Honour killing goes handy, and considering the landscape the story is set in does half the work. The best part about the narrative is that it never takes the preachy route of telling you the story of these evils in our society like it’s educating you. It rather focuses on the ‘still kids at heart’ lovers trying to stay alive together.
It is through their love story we realise how big a crime it is to choose a partner in some places. The corrupt cops, Jyoti’s young brother who feels entitled to save their ‘izzat’ and hits her leaving a wound, or her father who has no agency over the decisions about his daughters’ lives. For Ahmed, his father is staged as a terrorist, he is dragged into illegal business, demeaned because he is Muslim. For that matter, the mercenary feels he is incharge of ‘cleaning’ the society and by that he means not letting girls of his clan marry guys from another. The trauma, bad practices and evils are never spoon fed to you, but you are supposed to grasp and understand the message.
It in a way is respecting the audience and not infantilising them, which is a good practice. What is not a good practice is making Bobby Deol kill anyone and everyone on the ground he walks. In his runtime of approximately 1 hour 30 minutes, the man is only killing people for 1 hour 25 minutes. It gets repetitive after a point and does not create any impact. The climax (I won’t spoil) feels a bit rushed and comes randomly, and I am not talking about the end, but the beginning of the end.
Love Hostel Movie Review: Star Performance
Sanya Malhotra and Vikrant Massey have a great chemistry. The actors know their characters and embody them nicely. As said both have a kid in them, and you see it does with each passing minute as they keep running from one point to the other. Sanya has the tough part to break the Pagglait image and get into Love Hostel because the looks are somewhat similar, but she does that quite well.
It is commendable how Vikrant plays a Muslim boy but doesn’t overdo it, the way the characters have been stereotyped for years. He is blended in the same landscape he grew up in and he doesn’t have to look different from his surrounding just because his religion is different.
Bobby Deol gets to play the ruthless brutal Dagar. While he has to act with a gun in his hands all the time, he does manage to bring the fear alive on screen. His eyes always crave blood and don’t even blink when he casually kills three people in a ‘baarat’ just because they irritate him. It does seem a bit out of body experience when he has too many dialogues, but it isn’t entirely bad.
Love Hostel Movie Review: Direction, Music
Shanker Raman, who has almost explored every aspect of filmmaking behind the camera, gets into direction for the third time. He creates the story more visually than the dialogues. While he makes it all look fictional and over exaggerated in some parts, he also makes you realise this might be true as well (for example, Jyoti’s young brother, and how he looks unreal but also can be real.)
The set design in Love Hostel has its own life. The extravagance in Jyoti’s house is stark contradiction to the Hostel and Ahmed’s home, making you realise the journey she is having. Vivek Shah creates gory visuals with his camera multiplying the tension. He uses more of the fire tones and dark lights to make you feel the heat in the story. There is never enough light even in the daytime and that does help in showcasing the darkness around.
Clinton Cerejo’s music is fresh and beautiful. The songs more in the contemporary zone are beautiful. The Sona Mohapatra number does create a good impact.
Love Hostel Movie Review: The Last Word
Love Hostel is dark and that is good. You should experience Shanker Raman’s visual storytelling and Vikrant, Sanya & Bobby winning it with their performances.
Love Hostel Trailer
Love Hostel releases on 25th February 2022.
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Want some more recommendations? Read our Gehraiyaan Movie Review here.
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