by Tanul Thakur
In the summer of 2000, a primetime series called Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabu Thi premiered on Indian TV. The soap, which quickly became wildly popular and ran for more than eight years, introduced a series of plot twists, where a character assumed to be dead resurfacing with a different face (thanks to 'plastic surgery') was one of the most prominent ones.
Eight years later, Race, a thriller centered on sibling rivalries, redefined how Bollywood saw plot twists altogether. Here, one plot twist constantly nullified the previous (mainly because every character in the film had a gifted foresight), which resulted in a spate of plot turns that were both hilarious and inane. Now, seven years later, we finally have a movie that combines the popular plot devices of both Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhu Thi and Race: Hate Story 3, but the last thing its target audiences would be interested in knowing about the film is its… story.
A film like Hate Story 3 is a thankless undertaking in Bollywood, because it primarily exists not to tell a compelling story but to titillate the audience, and a conservative Indian mindset, coupled with the new censor board, can only allow as much erotica on screen. And yet Hate Story 3 tries. The film gets down to business right away. Less than 10 minutes into the film, we see a quasi-steamy number, Tumhe Apna Banane Ki Kasam, pop up on screen. This would have looked awkward and intrusive in any other film, but not in Hate Story 3, because this movie needs every excuse to portray its actors curling in various states of carnal ecstasy.
When this song gets over, the film whiles away its time for a bit, introducing characters and conflicts, before moving on to another erotic sequence (at least in intent if not in execution) in the form of a song. Hate Story 3’s persistence in performing this balancing act — constantly melding elements of erotica with thriller — is remarkable, and although it doesn’t get either of them completely right, you can at least see that its makers were sure what they wanted to achieve, regardless of how stunted those ambitions were in the first place.
Even while laying out its plot, Hate Story 3 tries, and tries hard. That is, of course, not saying a lot, because the film ultimately consists of a series of plot twists that don’t make much sense, but Hate Story 3, unlike its predecessors, at least puts up a façade of being a thriller.
Also, if the film’s trailers were any indications of its intent and merits, Hate Story 3, a low-hanging fruit in the world of films, was bound to be shoddy; however, what matters more here is something else: whether its inanities are at least enjoyable or not. This film is entertainingly bad. There are enough pulpy, and B-cinema, sequences in the movie that will keep your inner masochistic-cinephile happy. Some notable moments include characters awkwardly mixing English with Hindi (“Main tumhe heaven se utha ke hell tak pahuncha doonga”), a needlessly complicated plot, which is bizarrely quite paper thin, that derives much of its inspiration from Race, and Zarine Khan.
In fact, Khan is so clueless about her character in the film that for the first 100-odd minutes, she just looks grateful to be in the frame. When her husband’s in grave trouble, she contributes thus: “Ab kya karoge, Aditya?” When she offers an explanation but can’t back it up with a reason, she says, “I am a woman; I can sense it.” When she’s feeling particularly adventurous and intelligent, and senses that she’s got a rare chance to speak a line whose word count may run into double figures, she latches on to that opportunity, “Is chakravyuh se baahar nikalne se pehle tumhe find out karna zaroori hai ki… ”, and the list goes on.
The Hate Story movies, due to their box office success, have become a legit series now. This wouldn’t have been as troubling had these films been good erotica, but they are, at best, bland potboilers. It may not say a lot about these films, but it does say something about us: How repressed are we? Now that’s not an easy question to answer.
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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2015 07:37:51 IST