More than 20 years ago, Suresh Bhagat introduced to Hindi mainstream cinema a young man named Salman Khan, in Biwi Ho Toh Aisi. This week, with Salman Khan dominating more than half the screens across the country, Suresh Bhagat introduces another youngster - his own son, Eddie Seth - in A Strange Love Story. Unfortunately, Eddie will never become a Salman. Such is life.
Note that 'Strange' is inserted as an afterthought in the title. Maybe the makers realised just how weird the film was, once they began to edit it. Kabir (Eddie Seth) is a photographer, who likes to take off his shirt to shoot models. He is fascinated by 2 things in Goa - (i) Jennifer (Riya Sen), or Gia, a promiscuous girl he meets at a bar, and (ii) a dargah that boasts of its own jinnat, or genie (a malicious one). And his obsession with both results in danger.
Enter Inspector Iqbal (Ashutosh Rana) from New Delhi. He is positively bipolar, but nobody seems to notice. He offers the runaway couple a place to hide, for no apparent reason (odd, given that they were running away from him in the first place). Gia and Kabir are in love, although nobody (including the directors and the audience) knows when that happened, or why.
In short, there is no story, at least, not a logical one. Eddie Seth's debut has to be the worst in recent times, beating Mimoh
hollow. Eddie does not even pretend to act. He just stares blankly at people, and occasionally alternates between smiling and frowning. This is one star son who will soon be forgotten, unless he gets his act (literally) together.
Riya Sen plays a 'fast' girl who dopes, and at least that part is convincing. Her disjointed speech and movements make you wonder if she is finally tired of playing a plain bimbette - now she plays a mentally vacant, inebriated, doped bimbette. With aplomb.
Ashutosh Rana, despite his ill-fitting shirts and trousers, is relatively the only relief for your sore eyes. One wonders what made him agree to sign on for this movie though. Definitely not the role. There are times when he overacts and hams, but maybe that was his way of de-stressing.
Raj Zutshi as the lecherous colleague is a disappointment. He has a blue goatee in the movie, for no obvious reason, and he hams, too. His recent roles as the loud, fun-loving, sleazy boss/friend are beginning to get more and more clichÃ©d.
Then there is the cinematography. The worst television serial on air right now seems like a masterpiece compared to this film. The production design does not help either. Never have Goa and Simla looked uglier. Clothes are bad, period, and so are the sets. While the official cost of the movie has not been made public, the producers ought to take some tips from the makers of small-budget films, like Bheja Fry.
If you want to watch A Strange Love Story anyway, leave all 5 senses at home.