Love, Sex Aur Dhokha Hindi Movie Review
The future is here. Stand up and put your hands together for Dibakar Banerjee. The writer/director, who earlier gave us the brilliant Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye! proves once again that he is indeed one of the smartest, most fresh and exciting new voices in contemporary Hindi cinema. With LSD, he brings to Bollywood a whole new grammar of filmmaking, and a style that is effectively raw and real. This is smart, astute filmmaking, using the digital technique not to cut corners, but on the contrary- to expand the horizons of both- the medium and the audience.
Love, Sex aur Dhokha is an amalgam of three separate stories, each one distinct in its presentation (the first is shown to us through a video camera, the second through CCTV footage, and the third through a spy-cam) and content, yet each one equally compelling to watch. As we see these three tales (I wouldn't reveal anything since I believe it is best experienced first-hand), we see the camera become a character, and us in the audience put in the voyeurs' seats as we journey through the film's characters' most intimate moments- the good, the bad and the ugly.
Yet, despite the nature of the subject matter and its huge potential for cheap thrills, the makers never toy around with silly gimmicks to grab attention. Instead, with his superbly dry humor and acutely observant storytelling, Banerjee doesn't just entertain, but grips us at a visceral, emotional level. This is one film that manages to be shrewd without being manipulative or contrived.
We feel for all the characters- each one etched carefully despite the tricky format of the film, all brilliantly portrayed by an almost all new and talented ensemble cast which totally deserves a standing ovation. There are no 'performances' here, just simple, naturalistic acting (unaided by close-ups or make-up) from all the actors that flows seamlessly through the film.
A word for the technical team: outstanding work, guys. It takes as much work to create those authentic, gritty images as it does to create glossy picture postcard fantasies. Nikos Andritsakis, take a bow. (Despite the statement at the beginning of the film that warns against potential headaches the camerawork can cause, I think you are more likely to get a migraine watching Sarkar Raj.) The soundtrack by Sneha Khanwalkar is heady and funky without being distracting, and the attention to detail through the film is admirable.
But again, no amount of applause is enough for the captain of the ship, Dibakar Banerjee. This is a filmmaker who clearly has the courage to go beyond the usual conventions of our cinema, and create milestones. He has the ideas and the ability to execute them. And he is mature enough to never insult our intelligence by spoon-feeding the audience. With LSD, he manages to do something unique - create a film that is radical and experimental (at least by Bollywood standards), yet accessible and hugely entertaining. And hence, though soothsaying is best left to the trade pundits; I'll still go out on a limb and make a prediction: This film is going to create waves. The writing is clear on the wall: Madhur Bhandarkar and his ilk clearly have some growing up to do.