Movie Review: LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha

March 24, 2010
Kaushik Chatterji

Real life is tediously slow and for the most part lacks excitement. Happy endings are rare - there are, no doubt, moments full of happiness but things rarely (if ever) end there. There is sadness - truckloads of it, and that is why most people perceive cinema to be an out-and-out entertaining medium which must almost always rely on escapism.

Little wonder then that reality on the big screen is not meant for everyone. Every now and then, we have had brave filmmakers who have tried to depict things as they are, with varying degrees of commercialization and success. But barring a few, such films have been confined to the fringes, and their makers have had to make to do with critical acclaim on the festival circuit instead of box office records and popular awards. The current crop is luckier - this happens to be the information age, technology has progressed by leaps and bounds, production houses are in place and most have an indie wing ready to finance (viable) experiments, and globalization has only helped them get in touch with and learn from their counterparts from all over. But above all, we have multiplexes - and with young, urban India more than willing to spend, chances of recovering the production costs are much higher.

Of course, none of the aforementioned things actually guarantees anything. A film has to be made well; it has to strike the right balance between style and substance, between reality and cinematic liberties; it has to connect with its audience, and Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! had firmly established the target audience of Dibakar Banerjee. Ever since the title of Love, Sex Aur Dhoka was revealed, it had been causing the most extreme reactions everywhere. Admirers of his previous works were skeptical about Ekta Kapoor being the producer. Add to that all the rumours about the seven-minute sex scene, full frontal nudity, phalana, dimkhana, and the buzz was palpable. After watching the film, one thing was much more clear than anything else - those who had any preconceived notions of the wrong kind should not have gone for it.

If one has to nitpick, there are quite a few things that come to mind. A student filmmaker will not forget to switch his camera off every single time. There was at least one camera too many being used to film the song sequences in the student film. Security cameras provide low-resolution video feed and no audio whatsoever. ZIMA is in Andheri not NOIDA; fishermen with a Bambaiyya accent aren't found in that area either; Borivali National Park? WTF! And that scene there was the only one they could have actually done without. Then, people on the eastern fringes of Delhi rarely if ever use the words 'khallas' and 'chindi'. The senti background tune could have been done without - too many instances of it esp. in the latter half. There were a couple of goofs with the chronology - in one scene, the guy is shown to have bruises even though he gets beaten up couple of days later, and the final title track sequence would have tied things up neatly if they only they hadn't tried to include it in the time-line.

The fact that this film deserves two thumbs up in spite of all this shows just how inconsequential these minor blips were in the overall scheme of things. Superb concept, good story, (mostly) rock solid acting and peppered with memorable dialogues (albeit a bit inconsistent and not of the level of DB's previous) delivered in an authentic accent almost every single time, addictive (but underused) music with lyrics that will make your ears stand up and your fingers hit the rewind button (separate music review soon) - to cut a long review short, brilliant execution. Those who want to watch it for the sleaze will be disappointed - the action is tempered, the shocks cushioned. Those who want to get offended, will get offended; ditto for those who want to get bored. But those of you who go in with the sole purpose of being entertained will love it. Different not for the heck of being different, a true anthology film and the first real experiment, this one is compulsory repeat viewing.

Don't take your girl out for this one, unless you're looking to give her an excuse to dump you - but if your relationship survives this, dude, she's for keeps. KKG and OLLO both won national awards. In all probability, LSD won't. And in case, just in case it does, it would only mean one thing - that India is finally coming of age.

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