May 6, 2011
Shraddha Kapoor, Taaha Shah
“Just because we don’t have them, doesn’t mean we can’t kick them.” So says Rhea in the climactic scene of Luv ka the End before crashing her shoe into the titular hero’s most sensitive body part. By that point, Luv Nanda has been established as such a skunk, that the audience should have been cheering for Rhea. But the emotional disconnect is such that apart from fleeting amusement, I felt nothing.
Luv ka the End is about Rhea, the girl who’s dating the campus hottie Luv. No one knows quite how she bagged him because the verdict among the cool babes is that Rhea is a behenji. Luv is the rich son of a smuggler who wears his brands on his sleeve, rolls his R-s and does not let his girlfriend ruffle his hair for fear that she will mess up his style. Luv is pressuring Rhea to sleep with him. She agrees to do the deed on the night before her 18th birthday. But then, she discovers that Luv doesn’t love her: she’s just a pawn in a game he’s playing as a member of the BBC, a secret Billionaire Boys’ Club where points are awarded for sexual conquests. Luv is barely ahead of his closest competitor, which is why he’s desperate for the 1000 points he’d get from sleeping with “the cutest, prettiest, simplest virgin”. Apparently, that’s ‘behenji’ Rhea.
The revenge she extracts is the story of Luv ka the End. Shraddha Kapoor – daughter of Shakti Kapoor and niece of Padmini Kolhapure – has an interesting presence and does a fair job of playing the seemingly sedate Rhea with the nasty streak. Her co-star Taaha Shah doesn’t get to do much beyond look cute although the gusto with which he throws himself into the Mutton song indicates that he must be capable of more. Any debutant who has the guts to get into a ghaghra-choli and dance to “Mera jism jism mera badan badan, Arrey main hoon taaza mutton mutton” deserves attention. Rhea’s gal pals show some spark but are done in by confused and clichéd characterisation: Sonia is the pretty airhead who seems mandatory in such celluloid girlie gangs and Jugs is fat+smart. Both are fiercely loyal to Rhea, yet in the end when she’s locked in a room with Luv and they fear the worst for her, what do they do? They run away!
As far as replicating a teen milieu goes, the film gets it right. Hindi melds with English, the songs are fun and frothy, the clothes and the dialogue writing are appropriate. When the mean girls have a confrontation with the supposedly behenji gang, “Sati Savitri” is countered with “Slutty Savitri” which is met with “Fatty Savitri”; and Rhea swears to turn “Luv Nanda” into “Luv Nanga”.
But a reasonably impactful first half (worrisome for parents, I’d say) gives way to a vapid, tepid second. For a teen revenge saga to be plausible, the protagonist’s plot needs to be cleverer. Everything Rhea plans is so easily achieved that it’s hard to root for her. Luv’s father is a notorious smuggler and yet, she blithely breaks into his house to stuff glue and itching powder into his underwear, and filch his credit cards. He doesn’t check his purse before leaving and so, quite conveniently for our heroine, doesn’t realise that it’s empty! Not once does he think of using his dad’s clout for payback. In the end, when they are locked in a room alone together, she tamely gives in when he wants to tie her to the bed. And as a crowd of teenagers watch the proceedings live on a big screen at a party, while it appears that Luv may rape Rhea, no one – yes, not one of them – deems it fit to intervene except those two friends who had ditched her just seconds earlier! Add to this mix, some embarrassingly tacky product placements and Rhea’s irritatingly precocious little sister Minty who is even more suffocating than “Sexy” in Cheeni Kum. I’m not saying such kids don’t exist, I’m asking why this child in Luv ka the End – who is probably 10 years old – feels the need to blackmail her 18-year-old sister into giving up her clothes. What about the size difference? Kid mentions that she’s investing in the future. Huh?
Luv ka the End is the first offering from Yash Raj Films’ new youth banner Y-Films. It’s supremely disappointing, considering that it comes to us so soon after YRF’s brilliantly conceived, written, directed and acted Band Baaja Baaraat. Even if seen in isolation, Luv ka the End can at best be described as mildly entertaining in parts; but in the ultimate analysis, it’s an unmemorable film. I’d rather watch F.A.L.T.U. with Jackky Bhagnani instead.
Rating (out of five): **
CBFC Rating: U/A with a few cuss words beeped out
Running time: 107 Minutes
Photograph courtesy: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/LuvKaTheEnd