I did not like Vivek Agnihotroi’s Hate Story (produced by Vikram Bhatt), which came a couple of years ago, largely because the film looked like a massive exercise in selling shock and sleaze, making the revenge saga go tediously trashy and unbelievable. Vishal Pandya’s Hate Story 2 is only a sequel by virtue of its brand name, but tells a new story all together with a new cast. But the covert revelation is that this one is not half as bad. Yes, contrary to the popular belief, Hate Story 2 is not easily hated, despite being an old concoction served in a new glass.
Most of the promos of Hate Story 2 looked like a melange of snarky and waxy filmmaking, sold insistently for a cash grab. However, it was the surefire music score which had caved out a space in most hearts early on. The makers of Hate Story 2 invested more in the publicity and marketing of the film than they actually spent making it. There was no TV channel, no advertisement hoarding, no branding space or plug and no stone that was left unturned. Sex and music always sells. Bhatt camp has been doing it for years. Many a films employ this frumpy tactics to ensure good collections on the first weekend. Films like Ragini MMS 2 have reprehensibly affected a typhoon of mental impedance serving unremitting idiocy, whilst they brazenly used sex and music for promotions. Agreed, Hate Story 2 goes about the same way with those sleazy music videos for romantic songs being aired everywhere. But people will not walk out hating the film this time.
Director Vishal Pandya, a long time assistant to Vikram Bhatt, picks up the script by Madhuri Banerjee and Girish Dhamija for Hate Story 2. The film plunges us into the world of Sonika (Surveen Chawla) who suffers via an abusive relationship with Mandar (Sushant Singh). She meets Akshay (Jay Bhanushali) who runs away with her, only to be lynched by Mandar. Sonika must take revenge from Mandar for Akshay’s death, but has to face a mild epilepsy and a bunch of other problems before she can get to her man and his phalanx. Simple and straightforward, the writers make no bones about the lack of freshness in the plot. But they make sure to espouse the ordinary plot and stay true to it. They prudishly serve it with strong moments, not looking to meander or experiment much. The first 20 minutes of the film are adrenaline administering, including one sequence where Mandar murders a man infront of Sonika, intercut with him screwing her in the bed. The grain of Mandar’s character originating via fundamentalist and patriarchal beliefs is well explored and imperative.
One can only wish that all was as astute as it looked for Hate Story 2. Once the film slips into the revenge mode, gaping loopholes rise to surface and the revenge looks half baked and too easy, as Sonika just picks up the gun and starts firing accurate shots. Despite a strong sequence at a farmhouse in the second half, Hate Story 2 starts lumbering, reaching its inevitable end. Some nuances like Sonika’s illness are not used well by the script to make the proceedings heady. Vishal has a decent hand at direction this time around, but most of it is squandered by insipid performances by almost everyone in the supporting cast. In the end, Hate Story 2 is rendered largely inconsistent, yet watchable. Produced by T-Series and Vikram Bhatt, the film has spiffy music score by Mithun Sharma Arko and Meet Bros Anjaan, except the songs become a few too many, specially the one with Sunny Leone. Jayant Deshmukh’s Production Design is ordinary, and so is Kedar Gaikwad’s cinematography. A special note for the film’s shoddy Editing (Kuldeep Mehan) which delivers many un-required jarring transitions.
Hate Story 2 rests on the shoulders of Surveen Chawla and Sushant Singh. Neither of them end up with an enduring performance but are not sham-worthy either. Surveen plays Sonika, who spends most of the film either being scared or giving one angry expression. Despite her pleasant looks, she only brings so much to the plate. However, she is remarkably better than a ludicrous Jay Bhanushali, who must return back to television with immediate effect. Sushant, undoubtedly, is handed over the meatiest role, and he brings a lot of smash into Mandar. Unapologetically evil, he slimily lights up many moments of the film. Another special mention for Siddharth Kher as the police inspector who single-handedly beats Jay Bhanushali in ham-fisted terrible acting. Every single other supporting actor is outright despicable and comes in to voraciously take a dump on the film. I wonder why filmmakers cannot invest in good supporting cast.
On the whole, Hate Story 2 uneasily straddles the line of a revenge saga with a splash of surrealism. Its not constantly believable, but it is constantly engaging for sure. And the most important of them all, it is very mass-friendly. Thankfully, it also concludes it for us that Vikram Bhatt is undoubtedly one of the lousiest directors we have, but not all his assistants may be that bad. As predicted earlier due to the stifling marketing of the film, it has taken a good start at the Box Office and I feel that the audience will not go back completely disappointed with the end product. However, if you are coming in for sleaze, then its better to just watch the YouTube promos of the film. Watch Hate Story 2 if you have seen the first one and wish to erase its memories!
Rating – 2.5/5