Director: Vivek Agnihotri
Cast: Paoli Dam, Gulshan Devaiya, Nikhil Dwivedi
Hate stories are as common to Bollywood as love stories. But more often than not the revenge-seeking protagonist is a male. When the female species come to fore, we have often seen formula over fiction and skin over substance. Hate Story isn’t much different from such films that dominated in the 80s and 90s. It has just upgraded to modern times with more passion and less compassion.
Kavya (Paoli Dam) does a sting operation against a corporate house, maligning their name in the market. The company head, Siddharth (Gulshan Devaiya) seeks revenge and befriends Kavya only to exploit her physically and subsequently betray her. Now Kavya seeks revenge and decides to use her sexual charm to destroy his business empire.
The story gets to the point from start and the pacing is crisp to the point that you don’t lose the narrative despite its predictability. This wounded woman’s vengeance drama dates back to films like Rekha’s Khoon Bhari Maang (1988). Vikram Bhatt’s screenplay treads in the conventional zone but is woven with enough dramatic moments and director Vivek Agnihotri handles most of it with the requisite finesse.
However the plot gives in to undue sensationalism with Kavya’s quest to be the ‘topmost prostitute of the town’, just so that she could get back to her tormentor. Further she takes lessons in lovemaking from some elite escort (a cleavage-popping Bhairavi Goswami) and you keep wondering what her approach for avenging is. Until she plans to seduce everyone from the CEO to the CM with her vital stats to get vital information against Siddharth’s company. And every male in the movie seems to be a compulsive womanizer, making Kavya’s quest as convenient as a cakewalk. Thereby the female-centric film turns into a Julie-meets-Corporate plot in its second half.
Hate Story uses lovemaking as its potent tool and there’s sufficient skin on show though in sync with the story. As lust takes over love, the aesthetic intimacy is taken over by kinky and sleazy sessions. Vivek Agnihotri balances the skin-show as per the requisite scene-tone. Though Kavya’s overblown sensuality reeks of her overconfidence, the larger idea is to show that female sexuality could be stronger than male, muscle or money power. Thankfully the film doesn’t merely bank upon the sex-quotient. Rather some contrived corporate war dominates the second half with sensuality working as breathers.
Though the pacing drops in second half, the overall editing is efficient. Cinematography is good. However better dialogues could have added to the drama.
The film largely relies on its female lead both in terms of its performance and physicality. While Paoli Dam doesn’t disappoint one bit on the latter aspect, she is not bad in terms of her acting abilities either. She doesn’t incite the pathos that one could fervently feel for her character’s plight. But though her act is not accomplished, she manages to pull off her role quite well. Gulshan Devaiya as the negative lead puts in a compelling act. Even in the stammering cliche attributed to his character, he tries to bring in some conviction. Nikhil Dwivedi features almost in an extended special appearance but is decent enough as Kavya’s support system.
Modern as it may appear from its body, Hate Story is old-school at heart. Watch it for its body or heart – whatever suits you better. Love them, hate them, you can’t ignore them!Gaurav Malani Gulshan Devaiah Hate Story Nikhil Dwivedi Paoli Dam Reviews Times of India Vivek Agnihotri