Written by Siddhartha Krishnan . 4 Min Read
Khalid Rahman’s “Love” starts off rather innocuously with Deepthi (Rajisha Vijayan) getting an ultrasound done at a hospital, and finding out that she is pregnant. She calls her husband, Anoop (Tom Shine Chacko), but he doesn’t answer the call. Anoop is at home, making himself a glass of whiskey, when he gets a message on his phone — “I’m pregnant”. Everything that happens, thereafter, in this psychological thriller cum chamber drama, cannot be taken at face value. Also, revealing anything in this film could turn out to be a big spoiler. So, I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, because this film deserves to be watched, despite its flaws.
“Love” has been a topic of discussion lately, due to its ending, which many felt was confusing. However, the truth is that the ending, per say, is not rocket science. It’s all that happens before the ending that is new, weird and perhaps a bit puzzling. Without giving too much away (anyway all of it is in the trailer), towards the beginning of the film, we see Deepthi and Anoop, engaged in a vicious verbal fight which eventually leads to physical violence. This is a sequence that gets repeated towards the end as well, leading to an unexpected closure, hence the confusion. However, as a viewer if you have paid attention to all that has been happening, including the little clues that the writers have thrown into the screenplay, the so-called unusual climax and unexpected closure, will all the start to make sense.
The screenplay by Khalid Rahman and Noufal Abdullah, is undoubtedly the most commendable aspect of the film. It is deceptive, cleverly sequenced and uses dark humour. The absurd conversations that happen between some of the characters are bound to make you wonder — what the hell is happening here? So, the film draws comparisons to Hitchcock’s “Rope” and Ram Gopal Varma’s “Kaun”. But then it unexpectedly slips into surrealism becoming mind-bending at times, and you could spot shades of Nolan as well. However, the story is original.
“Love” was shot in the middle of the pandemic last year, following covid protocols, which explains the single location setting with only six actors. The shooting is believed to have been completed in just 23 days! However, even with the restrictions, the film manages to stand out aesthetically. The cinematography by Jimshi Khalid is intriguing and many unusual camera angles have been used to aid the bizarre narrative. The background score by Yakzan Gary Pereira builds the suspense and adds to the absurdity. All the actors in the ensemble cast have done a fine job, ably led by Tom Shine Chacko, but it is Gokulan and Sudhi Koppa as Anoop’s friends, who will grab your attention.
The writing is fresh but in it lies the flaws of the film as well. For a script that was so well written, the ending, although unexpected, feels abrupt. At 91 minutes, this isn’t a long film, so it could have done with a few more layers to the story and the lead characters — their past, background etc. This could have made this really good film, a great one! However, director Khalid Rahman’s “Love” is a courageous venture because it gives the psychological thriller cum chamber drama genre a fresh template. For that, it deserves 3.5/ 5 stars and should be watched. It is available on Netflix.
Siddhartha Krishnan is the author of Two and a Half Rainbows – A Collection of Short Stories. He is also an enthusiastic blogger and, on his website, www.whatsonsidsmind.com, he regularly puts out his essays, articles, travelogues and movie reviews.
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