Director: Chandra Pemmaraju

Cast: Melanie Kannokada, Arjun Gupta, Lavrenti Lopes, Leah Kavita, Caroline Korale, Daniel Wilkinson, Jennie Epland

Synopsis: "Love Lies and Seeta" follows the lives of the male leads: Rahul, Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie), Tom, Michael, Derek and Bhavuk, Lavrenti Lopes, who have all independently met the beautiful Seeta Melanie Kannokada at different stages in their lives. As the three-men’s friendships grow, a chance encounter with Seeta makes them realize that they all have fallen in love with the same woman. They reach-out to their friends outside the group to cope with falling in love with Seeta. 
This independent film is built around the friendship of three guys who unknowingly pine for the same beautiful woman. The love triangle envelops the characters and their friends. The city backdrop depicts a New York summer and makes its urban-natural beauty an important supporting character.
The film has been written, directed and produced by Chandra Pemmaraju. It has also been screened at several international festivals and has been nominated for Best Film, Cinematography, Actor and Direction.

Review: ”Love, Lies and Seeta” – Nope, I’m not talking about a book that teaches one to be a ‘Sati Savitri’ but a film! According to some, its title will do the needful and grab the required eyeballs. There are others who assume it’s a spoof on the Ramayana. And there are those, who will giggle at the mention of such a title.
The film was most certainly a love story that centred around a girl named Seeta and 3 men, all of whom are besotted by her but think they’re in love! Hell yea, if they insist so!

Lies? I’m yet trying to figure that out, considering I’m a reviewer, I should have more clarity, right? Not necessarily, there were far too many characters and sub plots and romances in the film which will even make it harder for the viewer to keep a track of!

And the film despite being a visual treat had a background score playing through most of its duration which definitely doesn’t help and makes them feel like they’re watching a Bollywood musical! The only difference here being that none of the actors are mainstream Indian actors.

The film centres around a bunch of six friends who get together after 5 or 6 years at a party and before we know it, all the three guys in the group have decided that Seeta (Melanie Kannokada) is the one for them! Phew, yes, talk about love at first sight, not that I’m denying its existence, but clearly in their cases it was infatuation!
 
The three then devise plans to woo and propose to her, coincidentally, they all decide to meet on the same day (far too many coincidences!) and before we know it, Seeta decides to date the trio simultaneously. This she does by keeping all of them in the loop, after which, a series of disasters follow where each one tries to even wreck the other’s date, one of them even manages to fool the other that Indians drink milk before auspicious beginnings! This of course lands Tom (Michaeal Derek) with an upset stomach!

Those are some of the highlights of the film – its comic moments and there are quite a few! Since, the film is a feel good one with a happy ending, before we know it, Seeta realizes she too has been hit by cupid and it’s none of the guys from the trio. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

Thankfully, the film was entertaining and parts of it were well scripted. Seeta’s character especially was well sketched but being a newcomer, Melanie couldn’t do justice to the part. Especially the part where she’s disillusioned by the idea of love and that could be attributed to the fact that she was adopted. According to her love is a passing phase. It is through her character that the director (Chandra Pemmaraju) tries to make his point, which is love isn’t merely about candle lit dinners, etc. I wish, I could say the same about the other characters but most of them are just part of the larger plot.  
Seeta needs to be able to emote more and to her disadvantage, maintained a standard expression throughout the film! Rahul (Arjun Gupta) needs to improve his Hindi and dialogue delivery, while Bhavuk (Lavrenti Lopes) did a fairly believable job of playing a star struck dreamy nerd who dwells in the clouds. Scenes of him gazing at movie poster and another dream sequence were hilarious! Tom’s (Michael Derek) chiselled face manages to compensate a wee bit for his lack of acting skills, but he too gets lost in the multi-starrer. Ryan Vigilant as Melanie’s love interest has a brief but significant role and stands out. It’s his character who represents what true love is in the film.

Seeta’s two best friends Caroline (Carolyn Korale) and Ramya suit their part although Ramya (Leah Kavita) definitely has immense potential. Rob Byrnes as Seeta’s father is endearing and the kind who’d have a heart to heart talk with his kid if he sensed they were upset. Needless to say, Alan (Aaron Katter) as Seeta’s eccentric brother will make you choke on your popcorn, the minute he opens his mouth, scenes where he asks for a Ninja at a Japanese restaurant is one such example.
Watch the movie if you like romantic comedies and for their humour, but don’t expect this flick to differ from others that feature NRIs. Sadly, the movie is very stereotypical and has nothing new to offer. But it’s worth watching if you want to kill time.

Verdict: The title and some portions of the flick are exciting, but that’s about it.

Kanika Rajani

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