How I Met Punit Malhotra


Nisha Susan


WHAT EMERGES in I Hate Luv Storys is not the insular, heated world of young people working in Bollywood like Jay (Imran Khan) or Simran (Sonam Kapoor). What you get is a clear picture of this film’s scriptwriter — someone who sat at home in his underpants interrupting his How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) marathons on his laptop. Director-writer Punit Malhotra has tossed down a mind-bogglingly lazy movie. Gag after gag, scene after scene is lifted off HIMYM and patched together with voice-overs.

Jay is an assistant director and hates the films his boss, the director Veer Kapoor (Sameer Soni) makes. Jay goofs off, thinks the actors are idiots, drinks with his buddy and likes to ‘date’ a slew of girls. (Euphemism alert! Malhotra is twee on top of all his other sins.) Then Jay meets art director Simran who loves her perfect boyfriend Raj (Samir Dattani) and loves Veer’s films. Symptomatic of this film’s problems is that we never ever hear what movies Jay likes. Despite the colourless acting or the machine-translated dialogues the film might yet have worked but for two problems. The Simran-Raj romance set up to be mocked, this first relationship does not end with any epiphanic bang. It whines away. On the other hand, Jay slides into the idiom of the flowersand- Archies cards romance without any resistance. The conflict collapses like a soufflé. Every time this film moves into a stock Bollywood ending, you realise it’s not over. I Hate Love Storys’ messy script has more fake climaxes than most porn.

I Hate Love Storys’ messy script has more fake climaxes than most porn

This film’s other tired gag was taking potshots at Dharma Productions own superhits — DDLJ, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Look we are so cool, we make fun of ourselves. Malhotra seems to miss the point that the super-schmaltzy films he mocks (with as much sharpness as a stab with a tube of lipstick) worked because they tapped into India’s romantic aspirations. Those films’ ethos, dialogues and even costumes can be parodied because they were memorable. Take the Bollywood staple of the rain dance. Jay and Simran are on the sets. A rain machine is being tested and Simran volunteers to be the guinea-pig. Jay watches her with longing. Showing us the wires does not take away from the fact that Malhotra has no stunts of his own. Malhotra has not left his laptop long enough to tell the story of the New Indian Romance. At some point, Jay’s mother tells him ‘tum itne cool ho, tum dil ki baat kyon nahin karte ho?’ Good advice.



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