Business rating: 1.5/5 stars
Star cast: Deepak Dobriyal, Mahie Gill, Ajay Gehi, Zakir Hussain.
What’s Good: The fast pace of the film; the performances of the four main actors.
What’s Bad: The loopholes in the screenplay; the open-ended climax which will not find universal favour; lack of hit music; too much tension in the drama.
Verdict: Not A Love Story is an ordinary fare. It’s plus point, however, is that it has been made on a limited budget.
Loo break: Not really.
Watch or Not?: Watch it for the artistes’ performances.
Paramhans Creations, Bohra Bros. Production Pvt. Ltd. and Shreya Creations’ Not A Love Story (A) is inspired by the real-life murder case of media executive Neeraj Grover, in which the court held the two accused – Kannada film actress Maria Susairaj and her boyfriend, naval officer Emile Jerome Mathews – guilty.
Anusha (Mahie Gill) and Robin (Deepak Dobriyal) are madly in love with each other. Anusha dreams of becoming a Bollywood actress and she leaves her town to come to Bombay in search of stardom. Robin, who is mad about Anusha, is not happy with her decision to leave him and come to Bombay to pursue her dream. Anyway, Anusha has to face a lot of humiliation and rejection before she finally gets a break as the heroine of a film. Obviously, she is overjoyed and so is her boyfriend back home. Ashish Bhatnagar (Ajay Gehi) is instrumental in getting Anusha the role and she, therefore, takes a liking for him. One evening, Anusha, Ashish and their friends celebrate Anusha’s break and they all consume alcohol at a pub. Ashish volunteers to drop Anusha home after the drinking session. He and Anusha consume more alcohol at her residence and before, they know it, they are together in bed.
As luck would have it, Robin comes to Bombay the next morning and reaches Anusha’s house without informing her as he wants to give her a surprise. But he is shocked to see Ashish emerging naked from Anusha’s room when he enters her house. In a fit of rage, Robin kills Ashish. Anusha is devastated at the turn of events, at the murder of her new friend, that too, at the hands of her boyfriend. She cries, wails, screams, shouts but what has happened has happened.
Robin then cooks up a plan to discard the corpse. He sends Anusha to get a large knife and some carry bags so that he can cut Ashish’s body in many small parts, stuff them in the carry-bags, take them in a car and burn them in a jungle far away from the city. Anusha gets the knife and the bags and also arranges for her friend’s car. The two then do as planned so that no trace of the murder remains. Robin leaves Bombay and returns to his town.
A missing complaint for Ashish is filed in the police station by Ashish’s friends. Anusha herself accompanies the common friends to the police station. Soon, the finger of suspicion points towards Anusha who is taken in for interrogation. She is physically tortured in the police station till she spills the beans about Robin having committed the murder. Both, Robin and Anusha are arrested.
In court, the lawyers of the two accused try to save their respective clients by means foul and fair even if that means, putting the entire blame on the other and leaving him/her to bear the legal consequences. What happens in the court room? The latter part of the film reveals that.
Not A Love Story Review – Script Analysis
Rohit Banawlikar’s story is inspired by the high-profile murder case of Neeraj Grover. His screenplay relies too heavily on the modus operandi of the crime, which may not be many people’s idea of entertainment. In other words, the writer gives too much importance to the style of killing and disposing of the body than to drama. Now, the style may be drama for a section of the audience but there will be another section which will look for more substantive drama. Another drawback of the screenplay is that the viewer’s sympathy goes to neither of the characters. One’s heart does not go out to Robin in spite of the fact that he is madly in love with Anusha for the simple reason that he has killed Ashish. The viewer also does not sympathise with Anusha because she aids him in his criminal activity after he has committed the murder. Also, the orthodox audience is likely to lose all respect for Anusha after she has had physical relations with him because she has a boyfriend who dotes on her and loves her like crazy. The worst part is that the audience’s heart may not even cry for the victim, Ashish Bhatnagar, because not much footage has been devoted to show about Ashish’s life so as to make him an endearing character in the audience’s mind. With the viewer’s sympathy not going to anyone, he would be at a loss to understand whose hand he should hold and whom he should root for while watching the film. Again, since Robin is not aware of Ashish’s presence in Anusha’s life, his killing Ashish in a fit of rage looks a bit far-fetched. The anger, many among the audience would feel, should have been directed at Anusha because without any knowledge of who wooed whom, it would be only too logical for him to assume that Anusha had cheated on him. There is nothing for him to believe that Ashish forced himself on Anusha or that he had spiked her drink or some such thing. In other words, Rohit Banawlikar’s screenplay fails to create a reasonable ground for Robin’s barbaric act, howsoever impulsive it may have been.
Among the plus points of the film are the crispness of the drama and the performances of the actors. Again, on the negative side is the fact that the film appears to be a tension-ridden drama devoid of any relief in the form of light moments or even entertainment value. The ladies audience and the weak-hearted would not find the murder drama palatable. The climax will meet with mixed reaction. While some may like the open-endedness of the climax, there would be others who would have preferred a completely conclusive climax. Also, what Robin and Anusha do in the court premises would leave a bad taste in the mouth of the more orthodox viewers, especially because the victim’s grief-stricken parents are shown to be standing right there. It almost looks like the two accused, with their act in the court premises, were rubbing salt in the wounds of Ashish’s parents.
Not A Love Story Review – Star Performances
Deepak Dobriyal lives his role. He is fantastic as the obsessed lover and also the unrepentant murderer. His casting in the lead role may have worked against a respectable initial for the film but his acting is par excellence. Mahie Gill is also first-rate. However, her torture scenes in the jail are too much for the womenfolk to digest. Ajay Gehi is good in a brief role. Zakir Hussain is brilliant as the investigating police officer. He gets into the skin of the character and performs excellently. Prabhleen Sandhu (as Anusha’s friend), Neil Bhoopalan (also as Anusha’s friend who lends her his car) and Rasika Joshi (as Ashish Bhatnagar’s mother) provide good support. Richa Ghosh (as Anusha’s other friend), Prashant (as another of Anusha’s friend) and Nandita Puri (in the role of Anusha’s mother) are okay. Others pass muster.
Not A Love Story Video Review by Komal Nahta
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