Saturday, July 19, 2014


Release date:
July 18, 2014
Vishal Pandya

Surveen Chawla, Jay Bhanushali, Sushant Singh, Siddharth Kher

Why would you make a sequel to a bad film? Possibly because you think the first one had a USP? Well, here’s the thing: Hate Story peddled itself as a ‘bold’ film, which in Hindi cinema parlance means it had lots of sex. It did – tons more than what we usually see in a Bollywood film, or even for that matter in the average, mainstream Hollywood film. And it was not sleazy in the way C-grade Hindi films can be. That being said, the story of Hate Story had potential but was unable to sustain itself because of its illusions of grandeur, stupidly grandiose dialogues and a good-looking heroine who was so busy looking both hot and horny that she forgot to act.

Like its predecessor, Hate Story 2 too has a basic storyline with potential. It fails to hold itself together because of the bland characterisation of the heroine, an impactless lead actor, a fixation on melodramatic dialogues and a formulaic insertion of songs at inappropriate moments.

One more thing: if you’re going to watch it in the hope of seeing as much sex as in the first instalment, you will – like some of the gentlemen clearly were in my neighbourhood theatre – be disappointed. The trailer lies, my friends. There’s hardly any sex in this film.

In a nutshell, Hate Story 2 is about photography student Sonika (TV’s Surveen Chawla) who is forced to be the mistress of the powerful Maharashtra politician Mandar Mhatre (Sushant Singh). When he punishes her ruthlessly for escaping with her boyfriend Akshay (Jay Bhanushali, also from TV), after a series of horrific tragedies she decides to take revenge.

Films like this – in which a David of a woman takes on a Goliath of a man – can work only if she uses innovative means to exact her vengeance while combating massive hurdles. Sonika, however, hatches two completely unimaginative schemes at the start, and has little trouble planning and executing them. She also makes the transition from a physically battered, emotionally traumatised, mentally disturbed woman suffering from intermittent seizures to a confident, gun-toting, avenging Durga with inexplicable ease.

Chawla does the best she can with the illogical written material, but hers is a dull character. Besides, it’s hard not to be distracted by her startlingly high stilettoes, and the way her perfectly manicured nails and salon-styled hair survive all sorts of extreme situations.

While Hate Story 2 remains a uni-directional wronged-woman-out-to-take-revenge drama almost throughout, it does have some interesting elements. One comes in the form of the allies Sonika finds in her journey – a policeman who’s not a cliché (Siddharth Kher from 2010’s Teen Patti), a journalist who’s not the black/white rendition of mediapersons we usually see in Bollywood, and a third who constitutes an interesting and believable twist in the tale. By the time that twist comes around though, the film has been weighed down too much by its lack of depth and by the unrelenting supply of bombastic lines emerging from Mandar’s lips even in dire situations.

To be fair, the dialogue writing is not without merit in some scenes. Mandar is particularly hilarious when he is challenged in true Hindi filmi style one day by a good guy who roars: “Mandaaaar, mard ka bachcha hai to apne aadmi ko peechhe kar aur khud mere saath lad!” This is where the average Bollywood villain would have succumbed to his ego and shot back an equally melodramatic response. Mandar, however, replies coolly, “Koi shauk nahin mujhe mard ka bachcha banne ka,” while his goons beat the chap to pulp. Timing is of essence when you deliver such lines and Sushant Singh is, without a doubt, one of Bollywood’s best. It’s a pity that this terrific actor – best remembered as Sukhdev from that unfortunately underrated 2002 film The Legend of Bhagat Singh – is so rarely seen these days. The way he immerses himself in Mandar’s character is the best thing about Hate Story 2.

Unfortunately, the writer saddles him with a quirk that should have been given a rest towards the end but is not. Mandar’s old-style dialoguebaazi has him routinely spouting wise two-liners, each preceded by “Baba kehte thhe”. It works up to a point. It works when he has the upper hand. But when he is in a tight spot and he still persists in telling us what Baba used to say, it’s irritating.

The most amusing part of this film is Jay Bhanushali. Poor guy is completely ineffective. He also has zero chemistry with his leading lady. That first time she predictably falls into his arms and they gaze into each other’s eyes, they both look so posed and strained that it’s laughable. When she starts seeing visions of a shimmery version of him, it’s meant to be emotional and all that, but frankly, it’s funny. And when they do get between the sheets soon after she models around in a swimsuit in and out of a pool, their love-making is generic, like two actors going through the motions rather than two human beings with electricity blazing between them. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t take off her bra in that scene! Oh ya, that’s how ‘erotic’ this film is.

To underline their lowwwe, Hate Story 2 resurrects Aaj phir tum pe pyaar aaya hai from the 1988 Madhuri Dixit-Vinod Khanna-starrer Dayavan. The choice of song unwittingly underlines the fact that Chawla is no Dixit. More to the point, although Khanna was way too old for Dixit who was just 21 at the time, he remains one of the hottest men to have ever graced Bollywood, and Bhanushali is not worthy of tying his shoelaces. As for porn queen Sunny Leone’s item number Pink lips, it’s a silly song with silly lyrics and even sillier choreography.

Sushant Singh is the only memorable presence in this feeble film. Oh Bollywood, why on earth do you neglect this man?!

Rating (out of five stars): *1/2

CBFC Rating (India):

Running time:
130 minutes