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Love Hostel movie review: Vikrant Massey is impressive in a well-directed but badly written thriller

 Love Hostel movie review: Vikrant Massey is impressive in a well-directed but badly written thriller

Love Hostel movie review: Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra play a newly married interfaith couple who are hunted by an assassin played by Bobby Deol.

If cinematographer-turned-director Shanker Raman’s first film Gurgaon was a slow-burning, brooding neo-noir, his new film Love Hostel is the complete opposite. The Zee5 release is so fast-paced, it could have easily been better with an additional 30 minutes. Characters feel underdeveloped. Plot developments are rushed. Revelations thrown in to make characters well-rounded go nowhere. Love Hostel almost feels like an incomplete film.

Possibly, the attempt was to make a film which moved in the same speed in which bullets fly and bodies drop in this slick 90-minute thriller. Does it work? It mostly doesn’t except for the action scenes which are superbly choreographed by Amritpal Singh. Also read: Licorice Pizza review: Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman elevate Paul Thomas Anderson’s nostalgia trip to greatness

Set in Haryana, Love Hostel follows a newlywed interfaith couple, Ahmed Vikrant Massey and Jyoti Sanya Malhotra, who seek shelter in a government-safe home. This is a facility providing secret housing to similar couples who might be harmed by their parents or communities after they approach the court for protection.

Ahmed and Jyoti’s happiness severely angers Jyoti’s grandmother, MLA Kamala Dilawar (Swaroopa Ghosh). Kamala is a traditionalist and wants Jyoti back home so she can kill her. She tasks Dagar (Bobby Deol)a crazy hitman with a disfigured face to track Ahmed and Jyoti. Dagar is very zealous about hunting couples who marry against their parent's wishes. That is related to an event in his past, which, when revealed near the end of the film, really made me want to tear my hair out.

Chunks of Love Hostel are so lazily written, I suspect the producers held a gun against Raman’s head to finish the film in an unreasonably short time. Or perhaps the film was over-edited to ensure the runtime is 90 minutes flat.

But because Raman’s filmmaking is so deliberate, as seen in Gurgaon, it’s hard to believe that anything in Love Hostel is an error.

Vikrant Massey in a still from the movie.
Vikrant Massey in a still from the movie.

Love Hostel, written by Shanker Raman, Mehak Jamal, and Yogi Singha, strongly reminded me of Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men (2007) because of many elements in the plot, only least of which is a highly sincere hitman.

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