Since a couple of years, I have continued with the tradition of watching Vikram Bhatt’s films on the first day itself. Believe it or not, Bhatt is on a serious stroll of outdoing himself with each successive film, not with excellence but with absolute sub-par trashiness. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing a decent filmmaker go to the dogs. But once you realize that he wants to masquerade it as a formula for commercial cinema, and repetitively and surreptitiously makes films in similar genres, you wait for the next piece of trash installment to come, because it is going to be so much fun seeing him hit new lows.
Bhatt’s filmography boasts of Shaapit, Haunted 3D, Dangerous Ishq, Raaz 3D, Creature 3D and Mr X in the past 5-6 years as a director. As a writer, he has written many more films which have been more or less despicable such as Hate Story, 1920 Evil Returns and Khamoshiyaan. And now he serves us Love Games.
To be honest, he has never been a director to look out for with only Ghulam, Footpath and Raaz scraping through the heaps of garbage to be regarded as respectable films. But for how many years can you make abominably bad films, on fairly high budgets, sometimes with stars, and to top it all, most of the films having nothing new to offer in terms of plot or treatment. Most of his films have been doused with sex, horror tied somewhere around a love story. It is no surprise that Vikram is heavily inspired by a bunch of films from around the world and repeatedly uses their influence in his own. But till when is he going to find sponsors to finance this barrage of brain-numbing bullshit? It should be a matter of national concern if it isn’t already as the man writes some fantastic short stories on his Facebook page, and has a much larger fan following for them than for his films. So much so that, the so-called stars don’t work with him anymore and along with a diminishing following of sleaze in films, Vikram must rely on a bunch of pathetic new actors to act in his films. But the films don’t stop.
Love Games is one leaf out of the same book. Based in Mumbai, the film tells the story of Ramona Raichand (Patralekkha), a sex addict, who gets involved with a depressed Sameer Saxena (Gaurav Arora). The duo play love games to seduce corresponding partners of other couples. Whoever manages to bed the husband or the wife first, wins the game and has to complete a stupid condition set forth by Ramona. Things turn ugly when Sameer falls in love with Alisha (Tara Alisha Berry), and decides to stop playing the game. Alisha is wife to a temperamental and abusive husband, Gaurav (Hiten Tejwani). Ramona gets obsessed with Sameer and is ready to tear apart his relationship with Alisha to get him back.
The problem with Love Games is that not a single ounce of the film rings true. Vikram Bhatt is infamous for shooting in international locations and passing them off as India. In Love Games, he shows us Mumbai and Goa, but none of them are the two places in reality. He has probably shot the film elsewhere and matched it with some shots back here. A lot of filmmakers cheat locations, but with Vikram’s handling, you can easily make out the truth. The art of concealing is clearly not his forte. The same goes for every single emotion or plot twist. Everything is fake and superficial, if not annoying. Even when the story allows for a few moments that could be deftly handled to lift the film, Vikram royally shits upon it to serve the dish cold and bland, suitably aided by his terrible background score. Love Games has plot twists which can be seen from half hour away and even the sex looks dull and forced, instead of sensuous.
Manoj Soni‘s cinematography is atypical of most Vishesh Films and hardly has anything new to offer. Sangeet and Siddharth Haldipur try to stir up the OST with some fresh approaches but the placidity of the proceedings make you hate the music as well. Patralekkha must be awarded for the single most irritating performance of a lifetime and the only question one asks after the film is why did she choose to do this film? As a sex maniac, her shrill voice and horrific body language hurts your eyes. Tara Alisha Berry has a wooden face but is passable for most times. Hiten Tejwani is equally bad. Amidst a sea of strikingly bad performances, one does not mind the newcomer Gaurav Arora. He may have a face that makes him look like poor man’s Karan Singh Grover (now that’s surely not a compliment), but Gaurav atleast has basic skills of dialogue delivery.
Love Games is a bad film. But it speaks of a bigger issue about of bad films getting approved by big studios (T-Series, Vishesh Films) and finding a release. Vikram Bhatt takes an interesting topic of sex addiction but only goes skin deep, carefully and shamefully avoiding any point where there was scope to better it. I cannot say anything more about the film. Just that you should not watch it, and also avoid Vikram Bhatt’s films till he continues with this little trip. I don’t deny that sex sells, and one can make an erotic thriller, but then don’t serve cold food when you have promised a sizzler.
Rating – 0.5/5