Love Movie Review: Overcooked plot, insipid execution brings down a film with promise
The remake does not offer the impact of the original but to give credit where it is due, a couple of well-executed twists certainly boost this passable film
At times, the ability to even think of treacherous thoughts can be extremely menacing. Especially, in times of distress and at the height of our rage, thoughts hold the power to fiddle with complex human emotions. The recently released Love, which marks Bharath's 50th film, reflects on these aspects by taking a deep dive into a strained relationship of a married couple, their ego clashes, and, of course, the love that kept them together.
Cast: Bharath, Vani Bhojan, Vivek Prasanna, Daniel Pope, and Radha Ravi
Director: RP Bala
It's love at first meeting for Bharath's Ajay and Vani Bhojan's Divya in Love. Ajay is a struggling entrepreneur. Divya hails from a well-to-do family and looks after her father's (Radha Ravi) business, although disinterestedly. Even though Divya's father expresses his unwillingness in their match, she agrees to go ahead and marry Ajay. There's also a romantic song that moves the story forward. One year after their marriage, Divya gets pregnant. When she tries to contact Ajay, he does not respond. The story shifts to his perspective. Ajay is an alcoholic. The moment Divya enters the house, they indulge in a violent physical fight. The plates, glass jars, photo frames and whatnot, Divya breaks it all. She also pushes him away. When the situation escalates, Ajay rams Divya into the photo frame on the wall, resulting in her instant death. The rest of the story unfolds with Ajay figuring out how to dispose of the body, without raising any suspicions, especially in the minds of his two friends (Vivek and Daniel) who make an unexpected visit to his house.
Love, the Tamil remake of the Malayalam film of the same name starring Shine Tom Chako and Rajisha Vijayan, has predominantly retained the essence of the story, and even recreated most of the scenes. However, the remake does not offer the impact of the original. The Tamil adaptation chooses to take the expository route by elaborating on some riveting suspense factors. Instead of retaining an open-ending like the Malayalam original, Love goes on to give reasons for the flow of events throughout that takes the zing away. Such creative decisions, presumably to cater to a different set of audiences' sensibilities and tastes, seems forced and pull down the potential of the film from becoming a terrific suspense thriller.
Unlike the original, the Tamil outing takes its time to establish how the relationship between Ajay and Divya blossomed before it became worse. This idea adds more layers to the world building. Bharath delivers a fair performance as a vulnerable and frustrated Ajay, but there is something missing. Vani Bhojan sports a convincing performance as a helpless and agitated Divya. Although there's an argument between the couple before escalating to a physical tiff in the third act that gives an idea as to what might have actually happened, the narrative till then does keep us engaged and agitated in equal amounts.
The first half of the film revolves only around Ajay panicking and running around the house, checking the dead body inside the bathroom once in a while, and advising his friends--Vivek's character, who wants to die because his wife is cheating on him and Daniel's character, who is cheating his wife and wants to escape from the situation. There is also a set-up of the doorbell ringing, and every time Ajay opens the door, a new character is introduced in the play. This format gets a little repetitive after a point. Even those conversations between Ajay and his friends about relationships, infidelity, and the fragile male ego gets tedious because of the lack of a solid punch. The oscillation between being engaged, and agitated continues through other aspects of the film too. Although we understand Ajay’s presumption of reality and imagination is blurred, the sluggish pacing fails to pull us into his world and empathise with the characters.
To give credit where it is due, a couple of well-executed twists certainly boost this passable film. Cinematographer PG Muthiah's stunning frames, reverberating shots, especially the action sequences, combined with Ronnie Raphael's momentum-amping music, try their best to uplift some underwhelming moments.
Perhaps, Love could have matched up with the impact that the original created, if only it stayed true to the original's narrative, importantly, in the second half and embraced the beauty that lies in self-interpretations and observations instead of overcooking the plot to simplify it for a new audience.