Suddenly potato chips feel much thicker in front of the wafer thin plot of Loveyatri. But thankfully the film has some depth; the depth of my morning Cappuccino. I am sorry. That was rude. To all the coffee lovers around the world!
I was thinking of addressing Bhai Ka Jiju, Aayush Sharma with a funny name, but then he made my job much easier. He is called Susu in the film. No it’s not a joke. It’s the short form of Sushrat.
Susu stinks. Of stupidity. And that’s me being kind to define this lazily written character with any emotion. He first appears on screen shirtless. Because, Bhai Ka Jiju. He wants to open a Garba Dance Academy, a dance form he thinks is the basic of all dance forms - Salsa, Disco and Ballet. And that becomes an effortless transition to London because Susu said ‘Ballet’, the perfect moment to cut to Warina Hussain, our heroine who is tiptoeing her way around in the UK. She is Manisha aka Michelle.
Of course, she comes to India faster than Rakhi Sawant’s reactions on anything. Susu sees Michelle and instantly falls in love. Because, Manish Malhotra ka mehnga lehnga. And that on-fleek makeup. Susu’s mama (Ram Kapoor) comes with the lamest plan on how to win this stranger beauty; earn sympathy, generate curiosity and lo and behold, Do Din Ladki In. Thanks Kal Ho Na Ho….Err NOT!
What follows is a string of Garba Dandiya songs, a food trail and suddenly, the film transforms into Master Chef Baroda. I kid you not, there are arbitrary shots of street food thrown at us. And then abruptly Michelle becomes Mother Teresa as she starts distributing free food to slum dwellers. Awww, such a softie.
The film however has a few smart moments. It doesn’t lead to obvious things. For instance, when Susu and Michelle are busy painting a beautiful Baroda brochure, local Gujju people watch them disapprovingly. We expect some amount of cultural shaming there, some ladka-ladki-kabhi-dost-nahi-ho-sakte, some badmash-ladka-characterless-ladki type of gossip. But nothing happens. Those were random meaningless shots, pretty much like the entire film.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get more bizarre, the second half of the film starts. There is Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, The Shard, London eye, Tower Bridge and all things English, till London is drilled into your head and the fact ki bahut kharcha kiya hain. We also have a pub scene which is most likely shot in India because you see random gora guys (or desi men with wigs) and some surds sitting at different tables, all clad in red, cheering for their favourite football team. They all get sucked into the most inspiring lecture on how Bollywood taught us how to love. I wanted to pull my hair out. I wondered when the film would start making sense? It finally did, as we slipped into a Badshah song. Ahem!
Patience is a virtue I highly recommend if you wish to watch Loveyatri. It’s based in Gujarat, hence we have actors, borrowed from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Even a couple of songs make an appearance here and there, from Dholi Taaro to Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyaan. The supporting cast, including Ronit Roy, are good. The only decent performance comes from Pratik Gandhi who plays Negative, Susu’s friend, who nails it in a few scenes he gets.
Aayush Sharma dances really well. There is such happiness, such abandon in his dancing, alas, it rarely shows in his acting. His only go-to expression is his smile. He smiles when being lectured/threatened or instigated. He also doesn’t sound or look Gujarati at all. And that’s only fair; why try being a character when we can be a star? Biwi ka Bhai rocks!!
Warina Hussain looks like Nargis Fakri without an accent. She looks restrained and hardly adds any spunk to an already-badly written role. I wanted to shake both of them up and scream, can you both FEEEEEEL!!! And EMOOOOTTTEEEE!!!!!
Three hours later, I am still trying to decipher the motive of the film. It can be well captured in just one word. N.E.P.O.T.I.S.M. Also known as Dahej mein ek film.