Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

August 20, 2011

In cold blood

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 1:38 am

August 19, 2011

Cast: Mahie Gill, Deepak Dobriyal, Ajay Gehi, Zakir Hussain, Darshan Jariwala

Director: Ramgopal Varma

Sixteen years after making Rangeela, a film centered on a struggling actress and her fairytale rise to stardom, Ramgopal Varma gives us Not a Love Story, whose protagonist is also a wannabe star, but one who doesn’t get a fairytale ending. Barring a few cosmetic changes, Varma’s new film is inspired by the heinous real-life story of Neeraj Grover’s murder by Emile Jerome, assisted by his actress-girlfriend Maria Susairaj. It’s an incident that shocked the country when it happened three years ago, and Varma exploits whatever’s left of it.

Dev D’s Mahie Gill plays a starry-eyed hopeful from Chandigarh, so grateful to a friend for helping her land a film role that she takes him to her bed. When her obsessive boyfriend Deepak Dobriyal lands up unexpectedly at her doorstep the next morning to find a naked man in her home, a gruesome murder takes place. Mahie helps her boyfriend hack the body into pieces and dispose it in a faraway jungle. But that’s not even the most disturbing part of this film.

Zooming in and caressing his leading lady’s every curve, Varma’s camera seems to take a life of its own as it darts around her bosom and looks up at her legs from under her skirt. Far from going inside the minds of the protagonists who committed this crime of passion, Varma seems more interested in going inside their pants.

Not a Love Story is voyeuristic and exploitative, and shamelessly borders on soft-porn. It’s saved to some extent by a credible performance from Mahie Gill, who succeeds in humanizing her character despite the odds that are stacked against her. If Varma succeeds at anything at all, it’s the uncharacteristically romantic note he strikes between his protagonists, making the point that you can love someone deeply, and still do things to hurt them. In a strange sort of way, the film’s bizarre climax makes complete sense. And maybe, just maybe, this sex-and-murder saga could be Ramgopal Varma’s most romantic film yet.

I’m going with two out of five for Not a Love Story. It’s far from Varma’s best work, but it’s not entirely unwatchable.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. I was reading this and was wondering at the same time that what Mahesh Bhatt liked in this movie, and then came the words…’soft porn’ !

    Comment by PBS — August 20, 2011 @ 3:19 am

  2. I felt Mahigill’s sexuality is one of the main characters in the movie, so it is unnecessary to show her curves. I cant buy ur soft porn statement. After court trial started her sexuality is never exposed.

    considering the genre, theme i expected 3stars from you for this movie.
    surely if u compare with RGV’s best movie it gets 2 stars only, but if u compare it with any other film in this genre it deserves 3stars.

    Comment by srini — August 20, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  3. I saw the movie and I would say just one thing Not A Love Story is Not A Move.. Complete waste of time, money and brain.. worst movie I have ever watched.

    Comment by Rushabh Vasa — August 20, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  4. Anks Movie Review: “Not A Love Story” – (4/5) – Well RGV is always a risky proposition as he is one filmmaker who have provided us best of the movie and worst of it also. Looking at promos I was quite confident that this would be his come back; the real RGV who has legacy of great movies such as Shiva, Rangeela, Satya, Company, Jungle, Nishabd, Sarkar…..
    Not A Love Story as everyone knows depicting the most gruesome murder story of recent time. It is difficult to make a movie based out of true incident but RGV has handled it meticulously. The movie shows that he has done his homework right to present the story. Entire movie from 1st scene till the ending was gripping; the camera movement, lightings and background sounds just makes the viewing more interesting. The movie sequences are edited and connected well to keep interest alive; and the best is the most gruesome part makes you stunned and scared without even showing any graphical representations and bloodshed. Three cheers to Mahie Gill the way she acted especially her act of being scared at the time when body was cut into pieces.
    This is indeed a great piece of Cinema and expects more like this from RGV. Must must watch !!!

    Comment by Ankesh — August 21, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  5. I agree with the review except the conclusion. The movie is not watchable. The biggest mystery of the movie to me was seeing so many shots up Mahie’s skirt and still not be able to tell the color of her panties. Amazingly bad movie.

    Comment by Ajay — August 23, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

  6. RVG is idiot, if actress allowed him to focus camera, sry put the camera in between the legs he surly do it…such a insane ….totally shit movie…
    how much taran got kickback from RVG, for calling it as best work till date…u sucks man…

    Comment by kiran — August 24, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  7. I do not understand what Rajeev likes. He gives all stars to English movies. Completely biased. Good movies do not need stars. Rajeev’s 1 or 2 stars do not impact good movies and can not make bad movies good.

    Comment by Srichand — August 25, 2011 @ 4:05 am

  8. Pathetic cinematography and poor direction makes a nice screenplay look unreal.
    Verma tries to be doing path breaking stuff and ends up doing a funny looking things.
    He can not make a Dev-D he should understand that.

    Comment by Amit — August 27, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

  9. I wonder who is funding the RGV’S movies……………they are disastrous one after another . Income tax department can check to see the posibilities pf black money involved in funding his movies

    Comment by Varun Sood — August 30, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  10. Evasive review it is, A very diplomatic and SAVE MYSELF KIND, cuz if he will say the movie is bad, then It will be denying one simple fact, that he got entertained while watching the movie, but if he will say its a good film, then knowledgeable people are going to question about its thematic effectiveness, where this film might falter a bit, and he would not be answerable, Mr.Masand, I think its high time you start giving Ratings about what you honestly feel, For I think its a 3 on 5 at-least, cuz I enjoyed this film and that’s enough!!!!! And Yes not to forget, this film is Bloody Energetic and of course I believe unpredictable!!!!!!

    Comment by salil — October 9, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

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