One girl, Two guys, friendship or love?
‘Love ni Bhavai’ – Synopsis
The Mr Dependable, Aditya Shah, who loves his tuxedo as much as his piano, in his seemingly perfect world, is not even aware that he is looking for his imperfect companion. The adventure sports lover and early morning hater, RJ Antara, is the most loved voice of the city. This mad hatter has no idea about the insane adventure coming her way. The kitli-ni-cha (tea) lover and Mr Jo-Baka genius, Sagar, has been dumped 23 times and still thinks he is ready for love, but this time, he is not! So, what happens when the imperfect, the mad and the genius come together?
Native and/or alternate Titles: Love ની ભવાઈ, The Drama of Love, Fiasco of Love
Country: India (Gujarat)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Sandeep Patel
Writers: Nehal Bakshi, Mitai Shukla
Cast: Aarohi Patel, Malhar Thakar, Pratik Gandhi, Maulik Nayak, Ghanshyam Nayak
‘Love ni Bhavai’ – Review
I don’t know about others but I definitely have a lot to say about ‘Love ni Bhavai’. For me, this movie is revolutionary in the Gujarati Film industry, a forward in time to bring out Gujarati films from the rut it was stuck in. How? Why? I will explain all that soon. But, first, let’s talk about the usual things…
The story is about Antara (Aarohi Patel), a bubbly girl who does not believe in the one true love or soulmates. She has her ‘say no to cheesy fairytales’ cap on and lives life practically through her brain. She is also a popular RJ who gives advice on the radio on love and whatnot, all the while winning the hearts of all her listeners.
One day, Antara meets a young entrepreneur Aditya immediately befriending him. Then cue Sagar, the hopelessly romantic guy. He is the type of guy who falls for every second girl he meets and immediately starts planning a life together. The complete opposites Antara and Sagar obviously lock horns in the beginning but eventually, their conflicts blossom into a promising friendship.
However, then the story takes some turns and Antara finds herself in a (typical) dilemma of whom to choose the realist or the romantic?
The length of the movie is the biggest problem for me, a hefty 2.5 hours!!!! They could have easily made a mini TV series out of this for 8-10 episodes! A detailed backdrop of character and the story is always welcomed by me but they simply go overboard here. It takes around 10 minutes just to introduce Antara. That is 10 minutes of just showing her nature and character. Add another 40 minutes of just introduction for the remaining characters and other variables in the movies. So basically, you sit for 1 hour just getting to know the characters, that’s it!
In the acting department, Malhar Thakar is absolutely brilliant as Sagar. His nuanced portrayal of an ‘Amdavadi’ Gujju boy was quite remarkable. Arohi Patel also makes a charming Antara but she would be much better if she could cry and laugh on screen more naturally. She was at her lowest while crying on screen, made me question if she really was an actor. While at first, Pratik Gandhi seemed a bit awkward, he grew on me over time. So, in conclusion, the acting was good overall. However, Maulik Nayak as Sagar’s friend deserved the Oscars (not literally) in my eyes. He was by far the best performer amongst the cast. His comic timing and dialogue delivery were perfect.
Revolutionary, why? Modernisation.
I remember the time when I used to watch Gujarati films on a black and white TV on a screen smaller than the laptop I am using now. This was back in my village, during my childhood days. Then, I used to love watching these movies which used to be fun! However, with the passing years, Gujarati films seemed to be still stuck in that time period and largely failed to move with the trends in technology and also failed to modernize with the changing Gujarati society.
While culture was rapidly modernizing, the Gujarati film industry failed to keep up. They stayed old-fashioned and eventually became out-of-fashion. Rural setting, costumes, same stories, same music…almost everything felt the same as if they were trapped in time. This decline in quality resulted in the loss of the urban audience who eventually shifted completely to Bollywood films.
I admit I have not always stayed in touch with Gujarati cinema. However, believe me, everything I mentioned is true. If only a handful of cinema halls in a city of 1-2 million people are willing to show the movies from their own state then clearly something went wrong. Every once-in-a-while a movie did turn up which appealed to the more urban crowd but it was too little too late.
However, in 2013, ‘The Good Road’ was selected to represent India at the Academy Awards (psssh… in my opinion, it was a very bad film!) but it was a feat for Gujarati cinema as for the first time a Gujarati film represented India at the Academy Awards.
‘Love Ni Bhavai’ continues this trend of modernised cinema. It was a major hit and helped to re-establish a positive image of Gujarati cinema.
Story – Something new for real!
While reading the synopsis you probably thought that this is a clichéd story and I agree. There is nothing novel. The story is something you would find in every romantic-comedy movie from East to West – barring unnecessary sexualisation and adult humour. So, let me tell you what was unique in this movie.
Starting off, ‘Love ni Bhavai’ revolves around the notion of friendship between the opposite genders. Any two individuals, despite their gender, can be friends. Yet, many people still consider such relations to be taboo and strongly oppose them, sometimes taking drastic measures while a few rare parents are completely chill about such things. The same goes for couples as well. I have come across so many incidents where a spouse, in jealousy, has taken extreme measures because her/his spouse was being friends with a member of the opposite sex.
Now, many of you would be wondering what is so special in that? But, for a Gujarati film, this type of theme is practically revolutionary! Despite the typical romance covered in the movie, this concept of friendship between a man and a woman appealed to be and ultimately won my heart. However, the older population watching this movie or those from the rural areas might still fight this difficult to digest.
So, what’s the difference? Well, there are some cultural aspects shown in this movie that are quite refreshing. Some things shown in this movie are very rare. Apart from a small percentage of people, many including even modern, open-minded families would find those things at least shocking if not incomprehensible. So, what are these things? To be honest, nothing significant. It is quite normal if you ask me. Most of you reading this would find it amusing. However, it can be a sore spot for many Indians.
These things are shown without any conflict and in a quite laidback manner – that resonates with the contemporary youth.
And the most importantly, it hits all the right spots! It may be a typical romantic-comedy story but it manages to tug at one’s heartstrings. It does not fall flat in displaying romance. Their friendship and romance have an emotional effect and that is a huge plus! Only a few Bollywood films have managed to do that for me, so for a Gujarati film to have that kind of influence is exceptional.
I must admit, I was mesmerized by some scenes! I had not expected such a visual treat before watching it. There are a few stunning locations of Diu shown which has made me add those surrounding places to my bucket list!
EXCELLENT! Music is in sync with the story and complements the story so well. The songs are brilliant too. It is for the first time I have put Gujarati film songs on my playlist. Wonderful lyrics – beautiful! Joy to listen! Again, unexpected! Especially ‘Vhalam Aavo Ne’ & ‘Dhun Lagi’ are beautiful songs. Here, give them a listen…
For reasons mentioned above ‘Love ni Bhavai’ is a special movie for me. Even if you take out the factor of being special because of the changing trend of Gujarati cinema, it is a good film because of its heartwarming display of romance and friendship. It is lengthy but once everything is established, it is a joy to watch! I highly recommend this film!
Have you seen ‘Love ni Bhavai’? What are your thoughts on it? Do you plan to watch it after reading this review?