Sep 26, 2014

Review: LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha (2010)

Dibakar Banerjee today seems to be a moderately celebrated director working in Bollywood. Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! seems to be his biggest hit. It's won some awards and has a high score on IMDb. However, Bollywood movies on IMDb seem to be notoriously overrated though so it's not easy to trust those ratings. What I like about Banerjee is that he seems to make movies that aren't your typical Bollywood fare which sounds promising.

LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha is probably as far away from typical Bollywood as you can get. It's three stories all shot in a found-footage style that cover some pretty racy subjects by Bollywood standards. We're talking honour killings, sex scandals and the like. It got its inspiration from the Delhi DPS MMS Scandal of 2004 in which two underage students were filmed having sex which had the media in a frenzy. The video went viral and attempts had been made to sell the video for profit.

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Genre: comedy, crime, drama
Directed by: Dibakar Banerjee
Produced by: Ekta Kapoor, Priya Sreedharan, Puneet Kinra, etc.
Written by: Dibakar Banerjee, Kanu Behl
Music by: Roshin Dalal, Sneha Khanwalkar
Running time: 113 minutes
Production company: ALT Entertainment, Freshwater Films
Distributed by: Balaji Motion Pictures, Balaji Telefilms
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Nushrat Bharucha, Anshuman Jha, Neha Chauhan, Rajkummar Rao, Arya Banerjee, Amit Sial, Herry Tangri, Sandeep Bose, Atul Mongia, Ashish Sharma

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Synopsis


The first story follows wanna-be film director Rahul (Anshuman Jha) in his attempt to make a movie. He casts Shruti (Nushrat Bharucha) who he promptly falls in love with as does she with him. Unfortunately, her father (Sandeep Bose) has arranged a marriage for her and poses an obstacle for the two lovebirds. The second story is about Adarsh (Rajkummar Rao), a 24-hour convenience store supervisor who faces the threat of a beating from some loan sharks. He gets talked into filming a sex video with store employee Rashmi (Neha Chauhan) and then selling it for a nice payoff. The last story features journalist Prabhat (Amit Sial) and aspiring dancer Naina (Arya Banerjee) trying to plan a sting on Indian pop star Loki Local (Herry Tangri).

Review


For a movie that is meant to be edgy and thought provoking, LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha didn't really strike me as such. It's also meant to be a satire apparently but it's strange attempts at humour didn't really get me. Part of this I'm sure is because of cultural reasons. The subjects that are covered in LSD are for sure extremely controversial in India, but they're not going to have the same effect in the Western world. I also get it that the humour doesn't play by my regular standards for comedy. I just find it weird that LSD is classified as a comedy on IMDb but I saw very few attempts at any sort of comedy at all.

I have to say that the found footage style feels completely unnecessary and doesn't help at all in adding any weight or gravitas to the subject. All three stories have different styles, one is with a regular hand held camera, one is shot with security cameras and the last is done with secret cameras. The first story feels really unnatural in how the action is caught, as in you're wondering why the camera is still rolling when a normal person would've shut it off already.

It's in this sense that it's dumbed down because it doesn't want to challenge the audience in any way. For some reason Banerjee feels like he has to show everything when really he doesn't. It also feels like the actors are trying to act natural but they come off as totally fake. You'd think that they're in some kind of soap opera which kills any kind of sympathy for anyone at all.

The first story is probably the most interesting out of all the three though. The other two are drags for the most part. They're actually all connected in some way and it's not done too badly. There doesn't seem to really be a reason for why they're connected though. I also don't understand why there is a single moment in each story which features a scene with a score. This is found-footage film is it not? The score completely kills the illusion that this is a group of three found-footage films.

I can see that LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha is a different breed of Bollywood, but it's a failed experiment. The first story was the only one that held my interest but comes up short because of the found-footage style. I think that Dibakar Banerjee should have shot that single story conventionally and called it a day. Get some better actors, make me care about the two leads and then the movie really could've been a statement. It's nice to see that there are directors willing to break the mold of typical Bollywood though because we definitely need more of that.

Rating


5/10