Director: Vishal Pandya
Cast: Karan Singh Grover, Zarine Khan, Sharman Joshi, Daisy Shah
SOFT-CORE SEX, low-IQ intrigue, unintentionally funny dialogue and forcefully bad acting — put them in a blender and what do you get? A fairly successful Bollywood franchise called Hate Story.
Sadly I missed the second film in the series, but the first was pure unintentional comedy. In my favourite scene, a prostitute gives the heroine a masterclass in how to become the best in the business. Her most memorable instruction — Shake it, take it, fake it.
Alas, the third installment has no such standout line. Hate Story 3 is about a fabulously rich, happy couple who suddenly become the target of a man they don’t know. Aditya (Sharman Joshi) and Siya (Zarine Khan) are blissfully busy making love in soft focus and slow motion. Then Saurav Singhania (Karan Singh Grover) arrives. He offers Aditya as much money as he wants in exchange for one night with his wife. But just when you think director Vishal Pandya and writer Vikram Bhatt have ripped off Indecent Proposal, the plot shifts into Oldboy revenge territory.
What eventually unravels is a story that will keep you guessing, but is also as convoluted as it is foolish. At one point Aditya asks a question that I’m sure the director never did during the making of this film: How is that possible?
But we don’t go into an erotic thriller franchise looking for logic. A degree of decently done sensuality and storytelling will suffice. Hate Story 3 doesn’t manage even that; it’s actually a crashing bore.
It does elicit a few laughs though. After Saurav has declared that he wants to sleep with Siya, Aditya, in anger, shouts: “He’s a vulgar rascal with a lot of money.”
Hate Story 3 is all about selling steamy scenes. (YouTube)
All this scheming and plotting is interspersed with sex. The characters keep hopping into bed with each other for no apparent reason. Apart from Siya, the other femme fatale is Daisy Shah, playing a secretary who rises to the top of the company in two years. We are told that Kavya is so brilliant that sales at the cold-drink company she runs went up seven times. But when she isn’t working her magic in the boardroom and the bedroom, Kavya is thrusting and smoking up in some weird-looking nightclub space. Clearly more company bosses need to try that!
The acting is uniformly dismal. Even Sharman Joshi, who is usually so understated, goes into a full ham fest. Zareen Khan’s response to everything is to quiver her lips; Karan Singh Grover smirks a lot. The leads are so bland that my attention wandered to the actor playing Saurav’s right-hand man, Mr Dixit. He has a sweet, sympathetic face. Mr Dixit is the ultimate Man Friday. He manages everything, from files and paperwork to disposing of dead bodies. And he never complains or asks for a raise.
I want a Mr. Dixit in my life.