This article was last updated on June 18, 2022
The growing fondness between the closet-idealist of a journalist Prabhat (Amit Sial) and the miserably unhappy item girl Naina (Arya Devdutta) is a savage indictment of ‘news’ as we see it today on television. Go take a bite of this sound byte. The grotesquely caricatural pop singer Loki Local (Herry Tengri) in the third story is a savagely satirical symptom of a sick society looking for instant gratification. It isn’t as if every moment in this tightly packed sardine-can of excitable emotions is savage brutal and aggressive. The sensitive moments just creep up on the creepy moments nourishing bathing and mollifying the savage exterior of a world gone ruthlessly and desperately selfish and immoral. Dibakar Banerjee’s creates a digital world resorting to desperate measures. His characters are ordinary people extraordinarily challenged by the sheer obligation of day-to-day living. While these characters-social ‘mess’-fits symptomatic of a new materialistic ‘muddle’ class-record all their moves and action on self-operated cameras(shaky, hazy, lazy and sometime crazy but always a window to their souls) the director records their stories without overt cinematic interventions. This is where the film’s main problems props up. The director vision is so unified to the way the characters see themselves that a section of the audience may feel it’s watching a hugely self-indulgent work that wants to keep the ‘cinema’ out of cinema. The material binding the three stories is edited like a home video where the relevance of the characters depends on our off-camera familiarity with them. The people in Love Sex Aur Dhokha need no introduction or back-projection. They are who they are, without the participation of cinematic devices. Banerjee almost sneaks in on these people to violate their non-privatized lives. The characters personal spaces are already violated by self-deployed cameras. Dibakar Banerjee doesn’t act the voyeuristic director even when the girl in the supermarket is on the ground making love with the desperate guy who has spent all his time and effort to get her there. Why is there no triumph in his love-making? Love Sex Aur Dhokha is not a film about celebrating the end of an individual’s right to privacy. It’s a rigorously recorded pseudo-documentary about people who have thrown all caution and discretion to the winds because they’ve no choice. The film never belittles or sentimentalizes the characters’ lack of choices. While inventing a unique format of cinematic expression Dibakar Banerjee has not emotionally emasculated the characters. Even when they’re doing it for a camera their emotions are not out of our range of vision. In terms of technique this film gets as rough and jolting as any film can. The actors look like reality-show rejects making a last-bid attempt to prove their worth. They got the point. This is a film that has no-reference point. Except the people we see all around us.