|Love Hostel movie review: Vikrant Massey, Sanya Malhotra shine in brutal, brilliant film|
Love Hostel movie review: Compared to Shankar Raman’s ‘Gurgaon’, ‘Love Hostel’ has more urgency in its execution, which makes its nonstop violence all the more impressive
Shankar Raman’s ‘Gurgaon’ (2017) was not only a physical brick-and-mortar place, but also a dark, dystopian state of mind, in which the ruthless patriarchy tries to hide his iron fist in velvet gloves, lands of ancestral land. Don’t bother. Valuables become barter, men rule, and women do as they are told. In ‘Love Hostel’, the director picks up where he left off, as his focus shifts to the interiors of Haryana, where the runaway couple not only earn the wrath of their families, but the brutality of mercenaries. Let meditation also warm you. Way. A flowered garland around the neck is exchanged for a deadly rope, leaving a circle of faces around the hanging body, some stunned by sorrow, some with unholy glee: the word of the khap is the law, and those who cross it. They do it themselves risk.
Like Raman’s previous work, this too is a deeply political film, and this time it is much more explicit. ‘Vardi uttar ke sarkar change ki karte karoon kya (Should I take off my uniform and wait for the government to change?),’ asks a character whose job it is to uphold the rule of law. It is a question he does not expect an answer to, it is a scathing comment on the situation in a country where other minorities are galloping at a rapid pace. The villains of this piece are not only the old guard who refuses to go, but also those who rule only to divide.
A hasty court ceremony puts Jyoti Dilawar (Sanya Malhotra) and Ashu Shokeen (Vikrant Massey) on a treadmill, from which neither of them can step. The former’s hookah-smoking ‘grandmother’ has a formidable foe, the latter is all stacked against her: her religious identity, her ‘job’ as the ‘delivery boy’ of ‘Prohibition’ meat, and a rock And a very hard place to get stuck between. The safe house the newlyweds grow up in seems like a pen, where helpless animals are released before being sent to slaughter, and it becomes more and more dangerous wherever they go from there.
This is no country for lovers, and the man responsible for it is Viraj Singh Dagar (Bobby Deol), who reminds you of Javier Bardem’s bounty hunter in ‘No Country for Old Men’. Dagar has a dark mark on his face, and a deep hatred for rule breakers. ‘Use toh diwali ki jag eid chun li’ (she has chosen Eid instead of Diwali), is not just a description of a person exercising an option. It is a death sentence. Love birds can run. But can they hide?
Compared to “Gurgaon”, “Love Hostel” has more urgency in its execution, which makes its nonstop violence all the more impressive, at least initially. But as the body count goes up, and the blood flow gets higher, so does your numbness. That dagger has also left a mark on his soul as a reveal too late: perhaps we need to know what drives him to his bloody deeds. Also, even though Deol wears his character closely, the gap between the personality of his stars, which is given to us in several close-ups, and his dagger is not completely closed.
It’s not something you can blame the other two stars for. Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra are both very good. Macy’s is no surprise as he has shown just how much he can blend into his characters; But Malhotra, who has been variable, is. Her light is spot on: she comes to her share, and stays with him till the end.
Others in this ensemble feel organically developed, and they make up this film. At the top is Raj Arjun as Sushil Rathi, the weather-beaten cop who has seen a lot. Akshay Oberoi, who rocked ‘Gurgaon’ so beautifully, is here in a guest appearance. And Aditi Vasudev as assistant teacher Nidhi Dahiya is also excellent. Like others in this tightly controlled world, where the intense religious polarization of the past several years has permeated the soil: they use Muslim butchers to trap people, collusion in targeting the local police. minorities and jailing them for no good reason. It’s not just rebellious heterosexuals who are the bad apple, gays are beyond pale too – there’s a tender moment between two young men that breaks your heart.
As usual, Raman didn’t hit any punches. And that’s both the film’s biggest strength and a minor weakness. You wish he had reignited it elsewhere: It’s a fantastic, brutal dig at a world that shuts down hard, relentlessly on its characters and us. I wanted to be able to catch a breath. After a while the ‘Love Hostel’ becomes airless. I sat down with my heart in my mouth as the end credits began to roll in, and the other side emerged, battered and furious, taking in big gusts of wind. Is there really no way? No easy answer in film and in real life.
- Love Hostel Movie Cast: Vikrant Massey, Sanya Malhotra, Bobby Deol, Raj Arjun
- Love Hostel Film Director: Shankar Raman
- Love Hostel Movie Rating: 3.5 Star
Source: Shubhra Gupta, The Indian Express, Direct News 99