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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Mayank Shekhar's review: A Strange Love Story

Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 03, 2011
First Published: 22:00 IST(3/6/2011) | Last Updated: 12:38 IST(4/6/2011)

Stranger than fiction

A Strange Love Story
Director: Tarique and Sahil Seth
Actors: Eddie Seth, Riya Sen
Rating: *

The strange thing about this story is that it spells love with an 'e', and without a 'u': sample Luv Ka The End, I Hate Luv Storys, Kuch Luv Jaisa.... These filmmakers deserve mention at the spelling bee contest.

Stranger still is that this isn't a story about love, much less a story, or a film, at all. Once you get these basics out of the way, it will become easy for you to sit back, enjoy a deadly, delightful trip. This stuff, mind you, is rare, even by Bollywood B-movie standards.

Riya SenThe heroine’s a screechy nymphet, who smokes a lot, because, she says, after her mom died, her dad ran away with a girl her age. She is now being followed around by “jinnaat” (plural for genie). You see, the world is divided between humans and animals. And then there’s another specie called -- ek aur specie jinko kehte hain -- Jinnaat. The heroine’s “Muslim friends” have told her so. You either believe her, or shudder in disbelief: effect's the same.

Here’s how the heroine found the jinnaat, or how the genie found her. The hero lost his cellphone at a rave. She had his phone. They’d never met before, decided to hang out at Syed Shah Baba’s mazaar in Goa. Upon being attacked by the genie, the local Christian priest told her to go live at the hero’s apartment in Mumbai. The boy’s bald dad was impressed by her son’s choice for a girlfriend (not sure when they fell in love). She’d just been charged with murdering a man, who’d tried to rape her at a party.

Devil, as you can tell, is in the detail, and I’m only happy to offer some. But this genie must be tamed first. The heroine, and by now the hero, need help. They go off to meet another baba -- Jai Mahakaal -- this time, Hindu by faith. This fellow finds the girl hot. We watch him strangle himself to death. There you go.

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These circumstances call for a song. Riya Sen’s posters are plastered across a room. Her lover (someone called Eddie Seth), part effeminate, part effete, wholly senile, sings a number in ode of the girl he’s with. It’s a perfect situation.

Except, a helpful cop (Ashutosh Rana) from Mumbai’s Oshiwara police station (established in 1871) is following them both. The policeman finds them a place to stay in the hills. The hero imagines the officer making love to his girl. He even sees himself and his girlfriend in twos. So do you. Psychotropic drugs are illegal. This picture's not.

We’re at another priest’s -- Baba Mustafa's – den. He’s Muslim. The devotees are in a state of trance. The usher plays football at a field where you can no see no other players. The ball gets passed around still, from one corner to another. The teams are invisible. A goal is scored. Because one of the unseen players, the goalkeeper, is apparently away....

That’s it. You need no more proof. This underground genie stuff is work of sheer genius. Mix this jolt with some gin and tonic. Try it at home. Let us know how you feel after. I can’t be going through all these things alone.

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