Starring Bobby Deol, Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra
Written & Directed by Shanker Raman
The body-count in this inherently nasty work is so high that after a point one loses of track of the gruesome pointbank pointless massacre.
Love Hostel, a silly absurd inapt title which make this gore-fest sound like a Valentine special on Kapil Sharma’s show, has its immovable obdurate heart in the ‘fright’ place: it show how anti-love Haryana’s hinterland is. Any eloping couple on the road to a ‘safe house’(how safe, we soon know in this moving mansion of mayhem), and you have the coldblooded assassin Dagar hunting them down.
Coldblooded is perhaps a gross understatement. What Bobby Deol’s Dagar seems to enjoy is mass murder repeatedly. We have heard of a terrorist gatecrashing into a school or a church, and mowing down the gathering indiscriminately . Dagar is all of those mass murderers combined. He is shown repeatedly shooting down multiple victims gathered together. After a point his blood bath begins to annoy and exasperate the spectator.
Just what is Bobby Deol playing here? Though he does a decent job of playing this blatantly indecent character, I wondered what purpose his character served except to illustrate the have-gun-will-kill impulse monstrously amplified.If this is screen villainy then Gabbar was a prankster.
The couple on the run is played by Vikrant Massey and Sania Malhotra. Both the fine actors are seen all over the place on the OTT platforms. The overwork has begun to take its toll. There is a sameness in their presence , their reactions to dramatic stimuli are predictably hyper,no matter what they play.
Here they flee from their bigoted families, hide, run, run, hide, shoot, and also argue in the most inopportune moments. There is a specially preposterous episode where the killer prowls in a hotel corridor while the couple-on-the-run argue loudly about their religious differences in one of the rooms.
The climax is a classic illustration of bathos , with more killings added to the plot as if more than the assassin-villain it’s the screenplay writers who enjoy the thought of torrential mayhem in a plot that makes a show of boldness by showing the Hindu-Muslim couple making a run to safety.
The film’s mood is distinctly glum. The victims are all vehemently vulnerable while the cops are all villainous scum. One cop(played by the talented Raj Arun here wasted in an under-written role) has a back story about a violent incident in the past and a terminally ill wife in the present. There is also a mentally unstable woman who thinks every visitor is her son: no this is not the comic relief in the relentlessly grim and gruesome saga.
Somewhere in the 90-minute orgy of mayhem a gay couple shows up to shower some kindness on our protagonists on the run.Needless to say they too come to a sticky end. Come to think of it, by the end of the asthmatic storytelling almost everyone is dead or cornered. A ferocious female politician(played by stoic ruthless Swaroopa Ghosh) presumably seeking inspiration from Seema Biswas in Anand Rai’s Atrangi Re, behaves as though the sun rises and shines from her nether region. A young boy wears a ferocious grimace and uses the gun after his sister slopes.No wonder the film wears a glum cheerless look.
If Haryana is so dangerous for heterosexual love, I wonder what it would do to the lavender marriage we saw in Badhai Do recently.