Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned... The adage has been the essence of several Hindi films over the years. Recall INTAQUAM [Ashok Kumar, Sadhna, Sanjay Khan], OH BEWAFAA [Rajendra Kumar, Anil Dhawan, Yogita Bali], KHOON BHARI MAANG [Rekha, Kabir Bedi]â€¦ even the multi-starrer NAGIN depicted the story of an ichhadhari nagin [Reena Roy] settling scores with the men responsible for the slaughter of her ichhadhari naag-partner [Jeetendra].
Revenge sagas continue to be made to this date. Only thing, storytellers attempt to garnish the premise with passion, power play and skin show to entice the spectators in hordes. HATE STORY-2, directed by Vishal Pandya, is an erotic thriller that navigates the same route. Like the first part, the sexually explicit content is cleverly interwoven in the premise, while the female protagonist decides to get even with the oppressor.
First, the plot of the film. Sonika [Surveen Chawla] is the mistress of a high-profile politician, Mandar [Sushant Singh]. Things take a turn for worse when she falls in love with Akshay [Jay Bhanushali]. When the authoritative politician gets a whiff of their liaison, he gets Akshay brutally murdered and attempts to kill Sonika too. A crestfallen and dejected Sonika decides to seek revenge against her tormenter.
Staying faithful to the first part that was helmed by Vivek Agnihotri, HATE STORY-2 director Vishal Pandya amalgamates passionate love making scenes and high-voltage drama in the premise of the new installment, but, at the same time, also makes sure he narrates a new story with the revenge angle.
The battle lines between the tormentor and the tormented are drawn at the very start itself. The high point of the film is that the narrative holds your attention from the word go, with the storyteller making sure you don't lose focus of the proceedings all through the first hour. A number of sequences catch your attention in this hour: Surveen's emotional outburst as she reveals the truth to Jay and also the entire episode when Sushant murders Jay and attempts to murder Surveen.
The post-interval portions maintain the grip, but the loose ends do show up intermittently. The most glaring one being the popular Sunny Leone track that springs up from nowhere and has been used as a mere prop. Also, the sequence of events tend to get predictable at times, although a number of dramatic sequences -- the entire episode at Rajesh Khera's farm house as well as the finale, when Surveen settles the score with Sushant -- camouflage the deficiencies to a major extent. As a matter of fact, the screenwriting, although veering into the conventional zone now and then, gets your thumbs up, while the director gets full marks for staying faithful to the genre and handling the dramatic sequences with expertise.
Since the film is backed by a music company [T-Series], one expects the soundtrack to be of high order and the songs live up to those towering expectations. 'Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyaar Aaya Hai' [melodious] and 'Kabhi Aayine Pe' [soulful] are wonderful compositions that have been integrated in the narrative appropriately. The locales of Goa in particular are deftly captured by the DoP. Dialogue [Girish Dhamija] are power-packed, especially the ones delivered by Sushant. The background music garnishes the dramatic portions well.
The woman-centric premise demands that the female protagonist deliver a commanding performance. Additionally, it's imperative [thanks to the script] that she shed her inhibitions and don a bold avatar. Surveen Chawla catches you completely unaware with a no-holds-barred performance, interpreting her character with utmost confidence. Moreover, there are crucial chunks in the narrative when she has to look dejected and disheartened, which should make the viewer feel for her character, and she handles those moments with conviction. Jay Bhanushali, who has sufficient experience on television, is decent, but gets limited screen time.
One has come to expect power-packed performances from Sushant Singh and the actor more than lives up to the expectations. The dark role that he gets to portray is vicious, venomous and violent and the actor encapsulates the three attributes brilliantly in his act. Siddharth Kher [as the cop] is first-rate. I'd also like to single out Neha Kaul, who portrays the part of Sushant's oppressed wife. She's super! Rajesh Khera is effective in a brief role.
On the whole, HATE STORY-2 is a riveting saga of a woman's vendetta against the man who wronged her. Additionally, the combo of skin show and melodious music add tremendous value to the project. This film has the potential to woo the masses and the youth, thus springing a big surprise at the ticket window!