Discover how Death Doubles up as the Best Therapy…
Director: Rafeeq Ellias
Cast: Chandan Roy Sanyal, Yuki Ellias, Suhasini Mulay, Sohrab Ardeshir, Nicholas Brown, Sheeba Chadha, Kallol Banerjee, Leonid Kudryavtsev, Chetan Sashital.
Synopsis: Sonia is filthy rich with a dog that suffers from depression! Her husband Atul and his mom are driven by greed and ambition. A Russian-Israeli arms dealer offers Atul a business deal. Atul himself suffers from `missile failure` and needs to visit a crazy `sexpert`. Sonia meets a handsome eco-warrior who believes in working for `people, not profits`. She is smitten and wants to help him.
Atul and his mother fear losing Sonia`s money and begin to plot her murder. A theatre director provides `supari` services for a fee. The film culminates in an action packed comic sequence of blank guns, a single loaded pistol and some unexpected collateral damage.
Review: I always had my doubts about Bollywood adapting itself to the old but slow surfacing league of Black Comedies (unless the makers are Woody Allen in blood and have it running effortlessly in their veins) because a lot needs to be established within the genre. The gruesome and the twisted need to be dealt with in the most banal yet highly amusing way. It’s comedy trying to out do the inevitability of tragedy.
A black comedy unfailingly takes you on a roller coaster reaction ride. It’s a fine juggling between laughing your head off and being gripped with anticipatory fear. Which is why I think “Love You to Death” makes it to the list of an entertaining black comedy.
So you have love that is high on conspiracy, therapy that unsettles you and murder that’s aimed at two people each potentially promising for being knocked off. Directed and scripted by Rafeeq Ellias, co-written by Yuki Ellias, Abhro Banerjee & Pallu Newatia the film is a laugh riot that tries its best to stay miles away from predictability.
The characters are quirky but so real in antics. Antics that are largely theatrical, where even hysteria is depicted within methodical limits. Produced by Fat Mama Films Pvt. Ltd., it like its slogan, suggests that it’s fresh and really has “No Added Preservatives”. The only thing added is a poised but depressed poodle, riding high on therapy for her longstanding insomnia and sports a name as fake as the emotional soundness of city aristocrats. For curious onlookers, she is called “Baby” and the film catapults her to the league of being heroic. She deglamourizes a lot of things post that. Cannot reveal more lest I spoil the suspense. So while most people die for love, here you will discover a breed that loves you to death literally. Emotions need to take a backseat and funny bones need to get tickled hard on hardly sparing humor.
Meet Sonia (Yuki Ellias), a thick headed wealthy woman reeking of feminism, cheque books and fat property, married to Atul Sinha (Chandan Roy Sanyal), a chauvinist hopelessly trying to be a liberal intellectual. Atul can only speak and worship money and that irks his high flying honey. There is also the monstrous mother-in-law, Sundari (Suhasini Mullay), who loves violent video games and hand sanitizers when in deep anxiety or conspiracy. While Atul’s father Ravi (Kallol Banerjee) loves intense poetry, wildlife debates and his daughter-in-law, Sonia’s Tarot Card reader (Sheeba Chaddha). And wait, there is penny wise Chhotu, the teenage house ‘help’ who dreams of having a chain of massage parlors on the beaches of Goa.
So much for early exposure in the case of lone surviving kids. And now of course meet the priceless as solitaire poodle ‘Baby’, suffering from chronic depression, anorexia and insomnia, an animal equivalent of urban folks ridden with banal woes and a crutch on the overly dependent Sonia who thinks tarot cards and aura cleansing might rescue her off her ills. You also have a Russian-Israeli arms dealer luring Atul with a defense business enterprise that stirs him to attempt murdering Sonia to covet a promising stretch of land she owns. Atul though fascinated with is anatomically at logger heads with his sex life. Sohrab Ardeshir plays a insanely funny sexologist by day and a raunchy rock star by night. His audacity is the stuff legends are made of. And yes before we forget the man rescuing the damsel aka Sonia in distress, meet John (Nicholas Brown who played baddie in "Kites"). He is a bicycle riding, aloe vera sipping ‘eco-warrior’ who manufactures solar panels, seducing Sonia intellectually and sexually. With these myriad characters coming in together, you have a murder that produces mayhem and which promises to be sweeter than marmalade.
On second thoughts, I would love to brand it as a black comedy adventure simply because there is lots you will discover. For instance the art of outsourcing murder and being handed over a bill that runs high on miscellaneous charges. Male chauvinism that is incurable and fast thickening. Affairs that stir conspiracies. Diplomats that propel men to make women their doormats. In house murder resources ominously misplaced. Women who are needy and clinging to causes in their high heels to make up for it. Men who are rotten manipulated by their power hungry mothers. The list of discoveries and humour is both exhausting.
Yuki Ellias excels in her perfect portrayal of the emotional yet high-handed Sonia looking for more meaning to life. Chandan Roy Sanyal as Atul is brilliant in his role of a power hungry husband reeking of greed and patriarchy. The climax brilliantly culminates into a mish mash of guns and coffins, high art and martinis.
Murder or make up? Home conspired or outsourced killing? Defense or Solar Panel ventures? What will finally see the light of the day and what will really subside to bake itself into fine black comedy clay? To discover, go watch this satirical spoof on love and figure how death sometimes doubles up as the best therapy.
Verdict: The movie will not just tickle but twist your funny bone too. A distorted couple, a depressed poodle a kinky ecologist and we set a ‘lol’ benchmark.