It’s in the second half of Not A Love Story that Ram Gopal Varma displays his brand of intensity, speeding things up after a man has been killed by his previous night’s fuck’s boyfriend. Based on the Neeraj Grover murder case, the film is RGV’s interpretation of how it happened and was shot in the building Maria Susairaj lived in, where the murder happened.
Between shots of the voluptuous Mahie Gill and a grimacing Deepak Dobriyal, RGV does manage to tell you a story. But it can get too much – it would be an understatement to say Not A Love Story has skin show, because a flesh parade is what it is. Mahie Gill has been shot from every possible angle, and even when she’s panicking about something, you expect to see a flash of her vagina, and there is a scene that has her wiping blood off the floor and a boob nearly pops out. It’s excessive, yes, and it’s Ram Gopal Varma indulging himself again, directing his heroine to shake her booty to a song from one of his superhit films. Rangeela’s title track also doubles up as Mahie’s ringtone, and it does grate the nerves after a point.
Had I known nothing about the Neeraj Grover murder case, I would have greatly enjoyed this movie, because Not A Love Story is how Ram Gopal Varma imagines it took place. My biggest problem is with the personalities of the people involved (pardon the pun), for Deepak Dobriyal plays the possessive, always-simmering boyfriend with the permanent scowl – it’s hard to perceive Emile Jerome Mathew that way, but this is a Ram Gopal Varma film, where at least one man needs to be grouchy all of the time. Ajay Gehi’s Ashish is an affable chap, whereas Neeraj Grover came across as a sneaky guy who fucked a woman after promising her a movie role and the unlucky soul who got stabbed to death by her boyfriend the morning after. Mahie Gill, to Maria Susairaj’s advantage, is made to look like less of a whore-bag, even if she lied to her boyfriend that she had been raped by the man who was walking around naked in her home.
Still, big points to the filmmaker for the stunning camerawork; all the toying around with the camera he did in his last many films seems to have paid off, even if all the camera does for a good part of the first hour is follow a full-bodied Mahie Gill around.
After Neeraj Grover has been chopped into pieces and burned and, after the interval, is reported missing, Zakir Hussain steps in as the cop investigating the matter, and that is when RGV shows his true form. What follows is pure intensity you wish would never end. When Ram Gopal Varma is fully in control, he can paralyze you and leave you breathless and make sure everyone in the movie hall walks out satisfied, and the kind of tension this man can still create… it has to be seen to be believed.
Ram Gopal Varma irons out most of the flaws that plagued several of his films, but some new quirks spring up in their place. Not A Love Story is by no means an easy tale to tell, and at times it may seem that this director isn’t the best man for the task, but there isn’t anybody who can do it better. The good news is the man still knows how to lock you in a death grip. Welcome back, RGV.
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