Art & Culture

#MovieReview: LoveYatri is a journey to the death of cinema

Nairita Mukherjee
Nairita MukherjeeOct 05, 2018 | 16:02

#MovieReview: LoveYatri is a journey to the death of cinema

Salman Khan fans, brace yourself. Bhaijaan of Maine Pyaar Kiya has reincarnated as Aayush Sharma of LoveYatri, and how. The only thing that sets Aayush's Sushrut (Susu, yeah, that's short for Sushrut, a Garba teacher) and Salman's Prem apart is the trusted I-see-everything-I-hear-everything-but-I-do-nothing pigeon, who, clearly is still suffering from PTSD.

The film, originally titled LoveRatri, changed for obvious reasons, is the story of a boy and a girl who meet during Navratri, fall in love, part, only to come back together in the end. But, of course, stuff happens in between and there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip. Like for example, the plot.


Garba is the film's inherent theme, which is evident from the fact that the film keeps going round and round in circles — along with the leads literally dancing around in circles, only this time sans the trees — without ever reaching anywhere. It is full of clichés, clichés we've been fed over the years about love, which today's thinking audience should very well be able to see through. In case subtle clichés didn't work, at one point you are subjected to a 10-minute long monolog reminding you how we, Indians, have been taught to love by the likes of Yash Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, and Salman Khan. So, go get the girl. But maybe I should ask her if she loves me, too? Naah, consent is overrated. You love her, that'll do.

So, its love at first sight for Susu, and the only way he knows to grab Manisha's attention is by faking an eye injury and making her feel guilty about accidentally whacking him with a dandiya stick. I wish I could whack the screenplay writer the same way, and a few extra times just for good measure. Guilty, Susu comes clean, only to realise Manisha knew it all along. Yes, they deserve each other.


But Aayush isn't all that bad. Or perhaps I went in with little or no expectations. He seems to have one proper left and one rightish foot when it comes to dancing and has a characteristic Salman Khan smirk perpetually slapped across his face. And, he is clearly the better bet after repeated failed attempts with Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan — third time lucky?

Warina Hussain (Manisha or Michelle, NRI ballet dancer and business school-topper from London — may I just ask, how the eff is everyone in Hindi cinema such overachievers?) looks and plays a glass vase in the movie, who sounds like Katrina Kaif of Namaste London, but that's all on the dubbing. There's something about female voiceovers that Bollywood just doesn't get right. Perhaps in an attempt to make the love interest sound dainty and demure, they end up compromising on vivacity.

I wish, however, that I had anything good to add about Ronit Roy or Ram Kapoor. As Manisha's stuck up business-minded but doting father, Ronit is as menacing as he was in Udaan, Two States, Lucknow Central, Kaabil, Ugly... Talk about being typecast. As a foil to this dark cover of cloud, Ram, Susu's mamaji, a garments shop owner who calls himself a 'ladies specialist' and happens to be the best Garba singer in Baroda, is colourful. Who, to be honest, always has the lamest advice for his nephew.


Up and down, round and round

Ronit, justifying his paycheque for the role of a disapproving father, invites Susu on a Ferris wheel to teach him a lesson on oochh-neechh — symbolism, anyone? Oochh-neech... Ferris wheel... No? Heartbroken, Susu gives up, the lovers fight and Manisha runs off to London, but Mamaji has a master plan.

The curse of the second half befalls here, too, but if the first half has been unbearable, can you still blame the curse? I think not. More terrible advice from Mamaji, more Ferris wheel lessons from sasurji, more clichés, more Garba. In the end, if you are left feeling particularly hopeful when you spot Arbaaz and Sohail (as Jignesh and Bhavesh. Because that's what all Gujaratis are named. So clichéd. Like, seriously) on the screen to add some life into the plot, then I rest my case.

"Do you think he's better than us?"

The problem of LoveYatri is not that they've chosen to tell a simple, seemingly overdone story. It is that it doesn't even want to try to be different or avoid clichés. It rather plays right into it. Because, unfortunately, clichés sell. Isn't that why Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is still showing at Maratha Mandir?

Closing thoughts, where are the likes of Karni Sena when you need them to protest against a film? Also, watch AndhaDhun instead.


Last updated: October 05, 2018 | 16:03
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