Monday, March 19, 2018


Release date:
March 9, 2018
Vishal Pandya

Urvashi Rautela, Vivan Bhatena, Karan Wahi, Ihana Dhillon, Gulshan Grover

“I am somebody who can get anybody but I want nobody other than your body,” a man in Hate Story 4 tells a woman he attacks on the street.

By the time this moment rolls by on screen, we are halfway through the film and I, for one, was numbed by its ludicrousness.

To be fair to dialogue writer Milap Milan Zaveri, he prepared us for this bunkum in the opening sequence when another villain urges the heroine not to panic, to give him time to sort out a mess they are in, and she replies: “Tumne jism nahin liya hota toh aaj waqt nahin maangna padta.”

Translated for the benefit of those who do not know Hindi, but should not be deprived of the pleasures of tacky wordplay, that reads: If you had not taken my body, today you would not need to ask for my time.

The line comes in the opening minutes of director Vishal Pandya’s Hate Story 4, the latest instalment of a thriller series marked by heavy dialoguebaazi, partially clad women, lustful men, long song sequences in which their bodies heave and thrust against each other in an unconvincing enactment of sex, all wrapped around a mystery that might not have been half bad if the writing team did not have such a low opinion of the viewer and had cared to flesh out their concept with more thought.

A quick glance at the Internet tells me Hate Story 1-3 have been moderate successes. Not that they deserved any better, but the fact that they notched up even average collections at the box office speaks volumes for the sexually repressed nation that we are. Do people actually think sex is what is going on on screen in any of these four films in which no one strips completely, they simply writhe about semi-clothed, with female breasts bulging out above bras that are still very much on and well-muscled male torsos are displayed while crucial areas remain covered? Are there actually human beings out there who are titillated by all that pretend sex, when instead they could easily access pornography?

Hate Story 4, like the first three, is neither artistic enough to be called erotica nor functional and overt enough to be call porn.

For what it is worth, the story is about Aryan (Vivan Bhatena) and Rajveer (Karan Wahi), the spoilt sons of a wealthy London-based Indian businessman. Aryan falls out with his girlfriend Rishma (Ihana Dhillon) and the boys fall out with each other over Tasha (Urvashi Rautela), a beautiful model who they launch through their enterprise.

During the course of the film, someone kills someone as a result of which someone else sets out to take revenge, no one can be trusted and everyone betrays everyone.

The three leads have great bodies. Rautela and Bhatena have shown flashes of potential in earlier works, but Wahi, I fear, has not one acting cell in his body. All three ham their way through this revenge saga set in London, in the company of fellow hamster Gulshan Grover playing Aryan and Rajveer’s Daddy. 

While characters who treat women like crap exist in this world, the director himself reveals his low opinion of the female half of the species with the way the camera captures women here, repeatedly closing in on boobs and butts, often before we have even seen their faces.

The first sight we get of a character called Monica is a close-up of her cleavage, then a switch to her derriere encased in tiny lingerie, and only then her face. Tasha’s introductory shot is of her bottom raised in the air as she crouches cat-like on a shiny stage, then the camera slides over her in various feline poses, focusing on fragments of her before it finally deigns to rest on her countenance.

Date rape is casually tossed around in the screenplay. Efforts at earnestness end up sounding laughable or unintentionally crude, such as during that romantic number Tum Mere Ho in which Aryan and Rishma feel each other up extensively on a bridge by a water body, and a woman singer’s voice goes: “Mere andar mujhse zyaada tum” (there is less of me and more of you inside me). Yikes!

Hate Story 4 is too low-brow to be offensive, but it tries its best to earn that tag when in the end it suddenly develops scruples and, having objectified women from start to finish, closes with statistics on crimes against women on screen, followed by this exhortation: “Fight the evil of eveteasing.” Nau sau choohein khaake etc etc…

The only thing more fake than this concern for women is the simulated sex in Hate Story 4. Spare us your bogus conscience, please.

Rating (out of five stars): 1/2

CBFC Rating (India):
Running time:
131 minutes

This review was also published on Firstpost:

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