Movie : A Strange Love Story
Director : Tarique Khan & Sahil Seth
Cast : Riya Sen, Eddie Seth, Ashutosh Rana, Yashpal Sharma & Milind Gunaji
Music Director : Santok Singh, Dharmesh & Ripul
Lyricist : Amitabh Verma, Ripul-Dharmesh & Vikhar
Rating : 0.5/5
The first line of dialogue in A Strange Love Story sees our ‘hero’, Eddie Seth, point to a random domed building, and ask, yeh kya hai? Somebody equally random walks up to him and replies, yeh dargah hai. Hilarity ensues.
A Strange Love Story, which proudly introduces a gentleman called Eddie Seth in the lead role is one of those rare films that is so bad, it’s good. Though the makers of the film have scripted it in all seriousness, the unintentional comedy they strike up is guaranteed to have you in splits.
The warped plot of the film deals with things in quick order, introducing our hero, a point and shoot photographer called Kabir, on assignment in Goa, who decides to go click click at a dargah against all warning. This he chooses to do in the company of a girl, Jia, who he has just met at a rave and who, with all her hep and happening trappings, has just informed him about jinnat or genies, who are a separate species, who happen to haunt said dargah, and apparently, really hate photographers.
The proof is in the pudding, and when Jia is attacked within minutes of getting to the dargah, the twosome quickly get out of there and go meet a Christian priest, who thinks it’s great advice to tell the girl that there’s an evil force, the jinnat after her and that she should leave Goa and go stay in Mumbai with Kabir, who, if you remember, is the guy she met just the previous night.
So, off to Mumbai they go, unsurprisingly trailed by the stalker jinnat, who promptly kills off Kabir’s lecherous, really rapey boss Billy (who seems to be going through a terrible hair day, week or month), who happens to put the moves on Jia at his own birthday party. Instantly, Kabir and Jia become a part of a murder investigation led by a smart alec… er… a smart Iqbal of a cop, called Inspector Iqbal, an ultrasarcastic cop from Delhi’s crime branch, because clearly, the Mumbai police can’t investigate this case right, even if the Oshiwara Police Station was established in 1871 (the film informs us). Soon, the couple are on the run to Shimla, with some help from Iqbal himself, who apparently wants to play the good cop, bad cop by his own, schizophrenic self.
The ‘strange’ in A Strange Love Story’s title comes from the positively odd way its lead characters deal with stuff happening around them. So, you have Kabir and Jia react with Clint Eastwood esque nonchalance to death and gore, and seeing their own multiple selves. Sample the scene where the two drive to Pune only to see a tantrik baba (who they’re sent to, by their equally hep friend, who tells them with a completely straight face, tumhe mere tantrik baba se milna chahiye). When said baba has an impure thought about Jia within a second of seeing her (what’s to be said; she dresses like she’s headed to a club every time she steps out), the jinnat decides to violently ‘take care of him’. Kabir and Jia run out of there and drive back to Mumbai at full speed, even running over a pedestrian in their haste.
You’d imagine that after seeing somebody get murdered without reason and actually nearly killing someone themselves, they would be terrified of things around them. Instead, our twosome enters their house giggling and laughing in the next scene, and Kabir even finds the moment perfect to creepily joke around with his bald dad about how his choice, Jia, is perfect. Never mind the murders and jinnat on her trail, clearly, the weirdest creatures in this film are the two lead characters themselves.
One has to wonder what would lead someone to make a film as terrible (or brilliant) as this, and a glance at the credits makes everything clear. Directed by Tarique Khan and Sahil Seth, the film is also produced by someone called Shohreh Seth, along with Suresh Bhagat. Clearly, this is a launch vehicle of sorts for Eddie Seth, who is possibly one of the worst actors to be seen in Bollywood in recent times. With no star presence and bringing an unbelievable amount of campiness to proceedings here, Eddie lights up the screen with his completely serious ham act.
While Eddie’s presence is understandable, one has to wonder what far better actors, like Ashutosh Rana, Yashpal Sharma and Riya Sen are doing here, the last one especially so, since her last release was rave reviewed Tagore flick, Kashmakash. Here, she’s content to play the screechy Jia, who dresses like she’s a dance bar girl, and mouths dialogues like ‘main itni bhi cheap nahin hoon ki tumhare saath so jaun, you male chauvinistic pig!’ She goes toe to toe with Eddie with her terrible, terrible acting and is the perfect spoil for him.
Ashutosh Rana can’t help but do a good job as Iqbal, the inspector, genuinely making one laugh with his sarcastic dialogues and brash demeanour. One can only hope that he picks his projects better the next time around. Yashpal Sharma, who plays a maulvi (who dresses like a priest), comes in a short role towards the end, and is fine with his serious act. Milind Gunaji’s two minute bit role in the climax isn’t worth going into.
The film’s music, with four composers, including Sukhwinder Singh, contributing, is nothing that catches one’s notice.
A Strange Love Story is the ultimate triumph of campiness and terrible cinema, sort of like a car crash that you can’t take your eyes off of. With horrendous writing, senseless dialogues and onerous acting, the film is a perfect amalgamation of everything that goes into bad cinema. Such is the pedigree of its terribleness, that A Strange Love Story becomes a must watch simply to show how bad, bad can truly be…!