Big wind, loud thunder, no rain. This aptly describes Ram Gopal Varma’s attempt to portray a seductive Lolita on Indian screen. After all the hype, the real thing – coke without fizz.
SO WHAT WENT WRONG? LET’S ANALYSE THIS…
The director takes on a bold subject and fails to go all the way. He borders on teeny-bopper love even with Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), shown as a successful 60-year-old father.
For the audience to digest the fact that an 18-year-old Jiah (newcomer Jiah Khan) is enticing him and he just plays along like a poodle is unpalatable. In fact, if it was Lust instead of Love, it would have been more real. C’mon Ramu, how many people that age will want to fall in love all over again after they have found the love of their life!
She’s out to seduce him from scene one and there’s no respect shown, given the fact that the man is father of her friend. Jiah treats Vijay like her classmate and he plays along. No self-respecting man would do that.
The director does not bother to build up the comfort level between Jiah and Vijay to a certain level where the audience can accept the way she speaks with him. Either she’s nuts, or he (Vijay) is nuttier for allowing his daughter’s friend to treat him like a weirdo.
The plot does not move beyond a nudge. Their romance is no romance. It’s a just a childish fantasy.
The “shut up” scene where they almost have an accident is handled very amateurishly. How can Vijay allow a chit of a girl to talk to him like that? When his daughter raises her voice to talk to him, (after she finds out what her friend and dad are up to) he shuts her up in front of Jiah…
“Do you love me?” Jiah asks before the interval. After a long pause Vijay says “Yes” and the camera moves in on Revathi’s (playing Amitabh’s wife) picture hanging on the wall reminding one of the serial Hum Paanch where Priya Tendulkar’s framed picture was a constant zoom-in.
The plot is sloppily handled. There is no maturity in the treatment. No man who has been married for 27 years behaves like a puppy to a girl his granddaughter’s age. Ramu flaws in showing Vijay without character and discipline as though he was waiting all these 27 years for Jiah to come and ignite his passion. A man behaving like putty in her hands is simply not acceptable
In the end Vijay telling his brother-in-law that he is not afraid of death (when he contemplates suicide) but only wants to spend more time thinking about the moments he spent with Jiah is preposterous. I mean, this is how an immature 18-year-old boy would talk, not a 60-year-old mature man who has seen what life has to offer.
A shot of Vijay’s wife and brother-in-law confronting him followed by Jiah telling her boyfriend (Aftab Shivdasani) that she loves her friend’s dad is followed by Ritu (Shradda Arya) walking into the kitchen crying which makes her mother wonder what’s wrong.
The next scene shows Vijay going to fetch his brother in law from the airport. So was this a flashback scene then? If he (the brother-in-law) had not yet arrived, how come this scene with him? You wonder whether you are hallucinating or if this scene really took place until the last reel when Vijay is contemplating suicide. This scene flashes back. So there you go. It was a scene indeed, a flashback within a flashback??? Confusing??? Of course it is. Looks like they forgot it on the editing table.
NOW FOR THE PERFORMANCES…
Jiah Khan, for all her fiery quotes in the media, fails to ignite passion. In fact, Shraddha Arya would have been a better choice for Jiah’s role. The girl is a solid performer and has oddles of sex appeal even with clothes that have her all covered up. So you see, it’s not the lack of clothes that makes one sexy!
I wonder whether Amitabh would count this even in the top 50 of his performances.
Looks like the director is playing out his fantasy on screen. Remember Roger Vadim??? But then again, Mr Vadim would go all the way...