I can't help but recall an interesting conversation with Ashish Patil [the enterprising head of Y-Films] soon after Y-Films was formally launched. He opined that India is the world's youngest country, with 70% of the population below the age of 35 and explained why Y-Films had decided to target this segment of movie-going audience. It works fine - you cater to an audience that loves to hang out at cineplexes. Plus, as a production house, you juice a big business opportunity. Their first movie - LUV KA THE END - is now in theatres, for audience consumption.
Gone are the days when a woman, spurned by the man of her dreams, would sulk in a corner, shed tears of sorrow and spend the rest of her life in his memory. Times have changed. The Gen X, especially those living in a metropolis, thinks differently. Most relationships begin and end at an alarming rate and before you realize what went wrong between two individuals, chances are they would've moved on to 'greener pastures' [read new partners]. The spurned girl is not a bechaari anymore.
In LUV KA THE END, the 18-year-old seeks revenge, when she realizes that her boyfriend has a hidden agenda. Nope, the damsel in distress doesn't take the route embarked upon by the offended parties in THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT [adapted in Bollywood as OH BEWAFAA], RETURN TO EDEN [remade as KHOON BHARI MAANG] or THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE [rehashed as KHAL-NAYIKAA]. In LUV KA THE END, the revenge doesn't border on blood and gore, but is tilted towards the fun quotient and you can't help but smile as the girlfriend and her two friends take the guy to the cleaners. Actually, it's a chick flick with attitude, an anti rom-com.
Does its plotline ring a bell? Oh yes, it does! Recall JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE and also MEAN GIRLS. In fact, LUV KA THE END goes to the extent of borrowing the tagline of JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE in toto: 'Don't get mad. Get even.' If you've watched those two films, you can't help but draw parallels, but if you haven't, don't sweat. LUV KA THE END provides lotsa fun in those 2 hours as you watch the spurned lover seek retribution and settle scores.
But hold on... This film talks to a different audience completely. It's targeted at a generation that generally lacks focus, don't really understand the gravity of the situation and is least bothered about the repercussions. The situations, therefore, may appear self-indulgent and slipshod at times, but hey, let's not behave like elderly school masters while watching this flick. Place yourself in their [the 14 to 20 age group] shoes and enjoy this madcap ride.
First-time director Bumpy packs just about everything that you expect in a teen flick: A stud, pretty girl, hot babe, street smart friends, nerd, horny portly guy, gym rat ... this film is packed with wacky and nutty characters. But these are characters you also relate to in real life. It could be your world. Or your friends, class mates, neighbours... even those you are faintly acquainted with. You also relate to it because it's not heavy duty stuff. The language spoken is everyday kinds, unfussy and untailored. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that it's a story of vengeance which occurs in a single night. That explains why the viewer gets no time to think, since the incidents unravel at lightning speed.
Bumpy also assures that you laugh at the characters and also laugh with them. The vibe, the execution of the written material, the on-screen characters, the lingo they use, even the music [the 'Mutton' song in particular] is very unlike what you've come to expect from a film backed by Aditya Chopra. Sure, the purists, who swear by the conventional romance-laden tales witnessed in Yash Raj movies, may label it outrageous and scandalous, but like I made it very clear at the outset, this film isn't talking to those who've lost their sense of humor, but talking to an age bracket that's into chatrooms and social networking sites.
On the flipside, the screenplay could've been far more exhilarating than what it is. For instance, the grandmother and young sister's track just doesn't work. Also, a few situations don't evoke mirth. In fact, the screenplay betrays its origins in the middle of the second hour, though it really picks up before it approaches the finish line.
Rhea [Shraddha Kapoor] is the quintessential girl next door, in love with Luv Nanda [Taaha Shah], the richest, most popular boy in college. On the eve of her 18th birthday, they plan to take their relationship to the 'next level'. When accidentally she finds out Luv is not as nice as she thought he was.
Rhea decides to not get mad, but to get even and bring Luv down! All in the span of one night with the help of her friends.
Bumpy has handled the fun moments very well, for a first-timer. In fact, the goings-on keep you bemused for most parts, although the director as well as screenplay writers Roye Seagal and Shenaz Treasurywala are in no mood to spark off a revolution with earth shattering stuff. It's fun and has its share of amusing and witty moments, though the humor tends to get lewd and bawdy at times. The film also has a hip, zippy musical score [Ram Sampath], targeted for the consumption of the teen crowd specifically. 'Mutton' has caught on with the youth, while 'Tonight' has a haunting tune and also the voice [Suman Sridhar] stays with you. The title track is foot-tapping, while the Ali Zafar song in the end is most appealing.
The actors are all perfectly capable, bringing in lots of sparkle and shine to the film. Their acting is devoid of clichÃ©s and that's what makes them endearing. Shraddha is a revelation, catching you unaware with a confident performance. She's electrifying in the sequence when she breaks down after getting to know the true intentions of her lover. Taaha is a star. No two opinions on that. He's suave, handsome and has that sly look - exactly what the role demanded - and he handles the part with gusto.
Ali Zafar appears in a cameo and yes, his presence and also his song towards the end enhances the glam quotient. In fact, he adds that extra zing to the narrative. As for the youth brigade, Jugs is fantastic; very lively. Sonia is equally competent. Timmy, Golu, Karthikeyan and Natasha are perfect; each one essaying their parts well. Shenaz Treasurywala is hardly there for a scene or two. Archana Puransingh is as usual.
On the whole, LUV KA THE END appeals to the sensibilities of Gen X. This one's for the yuppie Facebook and Twitter generation. Go, have a blast!