I Hate Luv Storys (2010)

Two years ago, July 4 weekend saw the release of Imran Khan's debut film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na under the banner of Aamir Khan Productions. The film served as a perfect launchpad for Aamir's nephew. Among the acclaim it garnered was comparability to Karan Johar's Dharma Productions' brand of cinema -- whatever Johar could do, it was said, Aamir's production house could do as good if not better.

Fast-forward a couple years to July 4 weekend again (and Happy Fourth, everyone!), and Imran's back in a romantic comedy, this time opposite Sonam Kapoor, in I Hate Luv Storys (IHLS) by Dharma, after a couple of forgettable action movies. He's back in form in, too, in what is a fairly simple and entertaining flick which takes self-aware digs at its own kind. It's better off doing this in what is predominantly a comedy, than drama.

Here's the synopsis of IHLS, from its official website:

‘I hate luv storys’ is the maxim Jay (Imran Khan) lives by. But as an assistant director to Veer, the most famous romantic filmmaker of Indian Film Industry, Jay has little option but to live with larger than life, glossy, cinematic love on an everyday basis. Things only get worse when he is made to work under the new production designer on the film… Simran (Sonam Kapoor), with whom he shares the strangest first encounter!

Simran loves luv storys; So much so that even her life has begun to resemble one. With her ideal job and the perfect boyfriend, Raj, she lives a blissful, dreamy life; One that is rudely interrupted by Jay’s cynicism.

The turmoil’s of Jay and Simran’s life, is ironically interweaved with the Luv Story that they are working on…. But will Jay and Simran ever find their own Luv Story.

IHLS sticks to the Karan Johar brand promise -- fluff, more fluff, references to previous Karan Johar films among several others, some more fluff. In so doing, it misses out on the balance between fluff and substance Johar's Wake Up Sid (2009) achieved. (That comparison is only warranted because of Bombay, the age demographic of the lead actors, and the wardrobe of the lead actors.) It's all hardly bad, though, and is entertaining enough with decent, fun viewing value when seen with a group of friends.

(Speaking of fun friends, here's a shout out to our good friends in the greater Los Angeles area, who made our first Bollywood fan tweetup (defined as a real-life meeting organized on Twitter) a truly fun event.)

Imran's great on-screen presence is undeniable, and he's acted as well as I've seen him act, although he could cry better. (For what it's worth, a younger Aamir had his issues with crying too.) The biggest takeaway from this might just be a lesson learned on the Sonam Kapoor's acting skills. It's her first extended role in the lead -- Saawariya (2007) and Delhi-6 (2009) were atypical -- and her performance is simply not convincing enough to not occasionally distract the viewers. A better actress (say, a Genelia D'Souza...you know where this is headed) would have helped the movie so much more, and would have done so much more justice to the idea of love.

Or of luv. (Hereby referred to as love.)

Love can be confusing. (Is he the one?) It can be stressful. (This argument has ruined my day.) It can induce jealousy. (OMG, he's with this other chick!) It can definitely be indecisive. (He loves me, he loves me not.) They get these right. But when of the effective kind, which the movie tries hard to convince us this is, boring and monotonous love is not. That, I'm afraid, is the impression of love some of Sonam's acting gives. Besides, from a character sketch standpoint, an obsessive-compulsive relationship with love is its biggest misrepresentation. I'm no Dr. Love, but being in love for the sake of not wanting to be out of love is pointless. It's all so ironic, given the title.

Good news is, it's not all that makes or breaks the film. Sonam's beautiful, after all, and sometimes, the aesthetics and only decent delivery are enough to carry a film such as this.

What does make the film, aside from a rather good supporting cast (including the uber-hot Bruna Abdullah in a fun cameo), is its dialogue (by Director Punit Malhotra). It's fairly good. The witty lines are often timed just right, and add much to the entertainment quotient. Really liked the graphs (hotness cannot compensate for a terrible attitude)...

...and the radio talk show host, Love Guru, who seemed to have figured out an indisputable solution to all relationship issues. :D

We've seen stuff in IHLS before -- just like love stories were stuff Jay had seen before. We don't seem to have tired of it, though, just as we don't seem to have tired of love stories.

Or of storys. (Hereby referred to as 'stories'.)

The soundtrack by Vishal-Shekhar is fabulous, save for the very ordinary title track. Simple but fine lyrics by Anvita Dutt, Kumaar & Vishal, are apt for the movie they're in. Sadly, the songs aren't subtitled. Most are well-placed and move the story forward, and not having subtitles is simply careless. (Speaking of which, perhaps they foresaw something we dint (or didn't), because 'dint' showed up several times and added some fun color commentary to it all.)

Can't really compare overall performances, script and dialogue of IHLS with those of Jaane Tu, but I kept going, "No they dint!" to all the parallels one could draw between the two films. These would've held regardless of the cast, and they weren't called for only two years later. When Abbas Tyrewala did it in Jaane Tu, it was a fun concept. It wasn't original, but it was fresh. Here, it's too much of the same, really. (And it also begs the question: Why not cast Genelia opposite Imran again? Surely, it would've been more impactful with her instead. It's not like we don't like the same pairings again when the rest is the same.)

Then again, if there's a production house that thrives on making films on redundant themes, it's KJo's (like that director named Veer in the movie), and if there's a filmmaker who's likely to pull off a parody of himself, it's him (or her -- there are allusions to this debate in the movie, too, believe it or not).

Bottom line is, there's room for much more here, which is a pity. One wishes they'd aimed for more completeness. For example, there are multiple reasons for why Jay hates love stories, but we only get a passing reference to the less-than-obvious ones, when they could've added emotional depth to a movie that could've used some more. The climax is rushed, even when it's hardly memorable.

Despite everything good coming with a disclaimer, it's still a fun, entertaining movie that can be enjoyed quite a bit when seen with the right people. Can't emphasize this enough. It's aimed at those aged 18-35 and with a basic understanding of Bollywood staples (the Sholays, Devdases among them), and it's to this crowd that it'll appeal most. I'm not a big fan of love stories based on drama, and thankfully, this is much more of a comedy. That bit works. Go in expecting Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na-Lite. It's so much better off this way.

Movie rating: 3/5 (Good fun)
Not a must-see unless you're a fan of Imran or Sonam, but it's not at all bad for 'timepass' (i.e. if you have time to kill) anyway, provided you're willing to chillax and enjoy the ride, and buy into the mood the movie is in. Hopefully, by now, everyone appreciates the need to manage expectations given this production house. Whether you leave smiling will be directly proportional to your attitude going in.

Music rating: 4/5 (Excellent!)
Midway through 2010, it's my favorite of the year. Bahaara, Sajda Kiya, and Bin Tere, are sheer vocal, musical and lyrical treats.

My classification: PG-13 (for language and content)

Official website (and picture source): iHateLuvStorys.com

PS: I'm sick of investment banking being ridiculed in our movies. Enough, Bollywood!


Anonymous said...

Yes, he could have cried better ;) but he looks adorable nevertheless (save that 'crying' shot)...
the movie did feel incomplete.. but not a bad time pass..
I would give it **1/2


cmleigh said...

I had fun on my 1st Bollywood fan tweetup and I'm looking forward to the next one. I really enjoyed our many different conversations.

I love your review and I think the movie would have been much better with Genelia in it also. In fact her name was the only one that came to mind on who I would have liked to have seen in that roll. I was chatting with another friend yesterday who loved the movie. His comment when I mentioned Sonam was 'here we are not always looking for acting skills in our heroines." While I dint necessary agree with him I thought his comment was funny because she is gorgeous and looked great in IHLS.

It was a movie that I'm glad I saw (mostly for the company and I like Imran) but it won't be added to my collection.

theBollywoodFan said...

Mansi: So we mostly agree on the timepass quotient. Yes, I think a stronger performance by the lead actress would've made up for a lot. Shall head over to your review later today!

Cynthia: Thanks for your kind comments on the review. Your friend who saw IHLS is right, it's the unfortunate truth that our filmmakers are not always looking for acting skills in our heroines. (Which is sad, they seem to buy into the idea that a pretty woman can't act, and that one who can might not be a model or model-like, which we know is simply not true; but let's not absolve the audiences of any blame here, too. It must sell for them to keep things this way.)

Just saw another Katrina Kaif movie yesterday, and agree with some from the tweetup that she might've done better here. Definitely looking forward to our next tweetup as well, this was much fun!

Thank you very much for your visit and comment.


Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

TBF! ur a kind hearted, good blogger, is all I can say after my not-as-kind review :D of course being a boy helps where Sonam is concerned :) Seeing u and the group was so much much more fun than the movie tho- the talk with u all was like a def notch above the film. hugs!

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you, Shweta. :) Yes, I'm not a big fan of Sonam (give me Kats/Deepika!), but I didn't mind her too much here. (We could've used more screen time for Bruna Abdullah, though.) I'll gladly accept that I want to be manipulated by films. I try to like them!

Seeing this with you all definitely made it so much more fun than it would've otherwise been. Said it before, but don't think we'll ever run out of things to discuss when movie-watching. Tweetup was great, thanks again!

pitu said...

Lovely review and SO NICE to see you posting more frequently! I think I might see this on dvd. Pity it isn't all it could have been because I absolutely love JTYJN and Imran-Sonam are super cute, although I'm with you in preferring Genelia - she's just so adorable.

triShie said...

IHLS has yet to reach my shores, but, wow, i'm getting immense thoughts from the reviews from you and ppl who saw the film.

while i like Imran (he looked real grownup from the snippets i've caught on youtube), i thought Genelia would've looked better. since JTYJN, i've been a fan of both. hope they'll meet in another film soon.. :)

btw, am rather disapointed with the dvd quality of bollywood i'm getting here, am looking to buy them internationally. of course, english subtitles are a must! :) where do u get urs and how much do they roughly cost? thanks for the help!

Anonymous said...

You are very kind to devote time and attention to this film. I agree about the music, and like Shweta, I bet the Sonam factor makes this movie’s impression more positive for the guys, not that Imran wasn’t good, but so much of an “eh” film for me. It left me with similar impressions as Chance Pe Dance. So nice you tweeted up there on the west coast for the viewing; so it was you, apnieastindiaco/shweta, Cynthia, and who else? These bollywood tweetups are in the air this week, hai na?! I too saw too saw IHLS with a few others, which made it more bearable, I mean enjoyable. :) I agree with Cynthia too, glad I saw, I suppose we helped the economy, but I won’t rush to ever see it again, even on DVD.

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: Thanks for visiting, I'll be trying some more to keep up with the blogging and commenting! This was a pretty good long weekend movie for me, and I'd imagine if you think Imran-Sonam are super cute that you'd like this. Yep, Genelia on screen is waaay more fun, although some of her tweets scare me. (She's most likely to use dint :D)

triShie: Doesn't look like Imran and Genelia are working on anything yet, but yes, that would be nice. Sorry you're having to go through some major issues with your DVD purchasing. I usually buy from NehaFlix.com, but you might be better off ordering from rhythmhouse.in, which I use when I'm ordering many items (makes the shipping cost well worth it). Check out the price ranges at the sites, the newer items, as expected, tend to cost a bit more.

Hope these help!

theBollywoodFan said...

Sita-ji: Thank you for lauding the kindness =) Yep, that Sonam theory makes sense, and probably applies to me and DDLJ and all of KKHH without Rani, so I can appreciate the struggle. :) Wow, Chance Pe Dance? I haven't yet seen it, but I'm committed to checking out Genelia's works from down south before I venture into taking a chance with the dance, LOL.

The tweetup was awesome, we also had Jess and a couple of Cynthia's friends along. Tweetups were definitely in the air, we ought to organize a conference call or group chat or something, more of a virtual convention, really!

bollyviewer said...

That's shame! I was hoping for something like Wake Up Sid - at least plot-wise if not performance-wise. Will try to get the right crowd together before I go watch it (try keeping me away from even a half-way decent rom-com)! :D

Dolce and Namak said...

Hah! Going to see this on Thursday, so thank you for getting my expectations in check. :) Your observation about Sonam's idea of love (along with other reviews I read about this one) makes me think that maybe she's the one that hates love stories (sorry, "luv storys"), or rather, she loves love stories, but doesn't know much about love. If that's the point they were trying to make: movie-like love stories are no substitute for the real deal even when you do manage to reproduce them in real life, then I'd say that's a pretty valid point. But did it warrant a whole movie? Oh well, it is after all a self-proclaimed fluff-fest, so I've been warned, I have no right to complain afterwards if I don't like it (but I still will - mwhahaha).

And Imran had better catch up to the rest of the pack, because if 4 movies (is it 4?) into his career he's still not brilliant, that's not a good sign. Girls can afford to be bad because, you know, shallowness reigns, and people will still watch trash like Race only because there are hot chicks in it, but I find that in this generation the competition is much tougher for the boys.

And totally off topic (and sorry to be so mean): is Genelia planning on doing any more Hindi films? Because I for one am having a hard enough time trying to avoid her in South Indian movies...

Deepa Dev said...

Nice review janaab, you've covered all I needed to know before watching it ;) The graphs sound like the ones Barney uses in HIMYM though - now those were hilarious...

good to see you posting more...

hannah said...

Watched IHLS on Sunday and found the story really stretched too much. Two-thirds of the way through, I'd had enough! The problem is that 3 idiots has really spoilt it for me now! I guess I need to stop expecting the same joy from viewing a new bollywood film!! To come back to IHLS, I like both actors - I think Sonam is gorgeous and the only other film I've seen her in is Delhi-6. I agree that Genelia would have brought much more peppiness to the role...
Excuse my ignorance but what is a tweetup??

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Bollyviewer: Yes, it is a shame. We don't at all expect Sonam to pull off what we know Koko can, but there are bits of the plot, especially toward the end, that could've been more complete and less unoriginal. Yet, as you know, I fairly enjoyed it. If a half-way decent rom-com works for you, I'd say go for it! :)

Dolce and Namak: Thank you for your visit and comment! Welcome. Good thought there! Could certainly be the case. Maybe it's yet another way to mock the escapism of Bollywood love stories?

I thought Imran did all he needed to. He certainly acted quite well for the most part and his energy-level was on par with anyone of his generation.

Ooh, do tell me more of your running into Genelia in South Indian movies. Any recommendations? (I've seen 'Bommarillu', and I've been told to see 'Boys'...okay, that sentence didn't flow right, LOL, but you get the point.)

theBollywoodFan said...

Deepa! You're alive yaar! :) Haven't seen HIMYM (would you believe it?) but it's impossible to not have hear about it, and I'll check it out some time. More charts, I say. They're definitely on the right track, na? ;)

I'd be curious to know what you think of IHLS, do stop by to discuss. And thanks again for stopping by. I'll hope to write more, it's been a crazy first half of the year. Hope you're well.

Hannah: Yep, welcome to the typical Bollywood rom-com with greater-than-normal pizzazz. Yes, I'd say it's not just 3 Idiots, but I know I have a very different set of expectations for filmmakers and actors other than Aamir. Have to, few others in commercial cinema at least compare as consistently.

Tweetup = Meetup organized on Twitter. There are several other Bollywood fans (not just bloggers) on Twitter, and we're a good, merry bunch. You might want join in to comment every once in a while, although it can be slightly addictive. :)

bogeyno2 said...

Hey Bollywood Fan,

Nice review and you are spot on about the parallels with Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na. I thought Sonam came off better than Imran but agree, a feisty heroine could have made something more of the role.

The best thing about the film has to be the dialogue:

idhar udhar ki baatein, waghera waghera

That was funny, witty and exactly what we needed in abundance. Have not been able to stop quoting that since I've seen the film!

Keep up the good work!


Dolce and Namak said...

Let me get your question about Genelia out of the way first so I can give you my impressions about IHLS after :)

The problem with Genelia (and no hard feelings, ya? :)) is that she keeps doing movies with my favourite guys, so I am forced to watch her. Like how did she ever get to Shahid Kapoor? How?? Though to her credit, Chance pe Dance was the one movie where I actually found her tolerable. As much as I tried to stay away from her, I did have to watch her in Happy, because I will watch anything with AA. Not sure if I recommend the movie as a whole (not unless you like over the top horribly acted endings), but the middle part is absolutely adorable. If you're a Genelia fan you'll probably enjoy it even more than me. Then she went on to Ram Charan Teja, who is now shooting a movie with her, tentative title Orange. So there will be no escaping that either (between Ram Cherry's lack of acting skills and my hate for Genelia, I'm starting to think Charan's obscenely good looks just might not be enough of a reason to watch it...). Sigh... at least she's keeping her greedy little paws away from Prabhas, so that's a relief... for now... :-/

Anyways, on to more fun things. I am amazed that I actually liked IHLS. Ok, that's a lie, I didn't like it, but it made me so happy. Basically at the end of it, Imran grabbed my credit card and gave it to Nehaflix to pre-order my DVD :) It's not a good movie in any way, and I think basically the whole idea, though very poorly communicated, is that blissful filmi love is, after all, boring and predictable when it's not backed up by real communication/chemistry, and one gets so engrossed in that ideal picture of happiness that they forget to have fun. At least that's how I saw Simran, and that's how it made sense to me for her to fall in love with Jai. Basically her love story was a photo album, with perfect pictures, but she realized she wanted the whole movie, imperfect as it may be.

Many, MANY things could have been done better (like all the filmi references, especially the one about DCH - give us some credit, yaar, we'll get it even if you don't spell it out for us!), but the one thing that saves this movie from the garbage can as far as I'm concerned is Imran. The man has charm by the truck-loads! Seriously: Whew! Couldn't get enough of him rolling his eyes and making faces, I wanted to take him home at the end of the movie and have him sit there and make faces for me :) I think I'm in luv :D He needs to work on his dancing, and on his intense gaze (I was sorely missing Aamir's eyes in that scene where the three of them have coffee in NZ), but otherwise he's doing great. I almost regret not going to see Luck when it was in the theatres...

Wow, that was long, feel free to edit :) And i suppose I should have signed with my AK blog name the first time around, even though getting a second welcome is nice too :)

Deepa Dev said...

janaab, I promise you will love HIMYM - one of the many many reasons I love it is NPH... watch out for the Bro Code in a lot of the eps - h.i.l.a.r.i.o.u.s. More charts, yes, i fully agree (the HIMYM one that comes to mind after your screencap is the hot-crazy scale :D )

and yes, i'll defly check back in with you after watching IHLS :) - given that I am self-confessed rom-com gal, I'm sure i'll have something to say abt it :D

Pessimisissimo said...

Thanks very much for the excellent review, TBF. Speaking as someone who actually managed to enjoy Pyaar Impossible and What's Your Raashee?, I confess that a pretty face (and I don't mean Uday's or Harman's) can go a long way towards enhancing my appreciation of an otherwise problematic movie. But it sounds as though Sonam's lack of acting skill in IHLS is too obvious to overlook.

There's definitely a place in my life for a halfway decent romantic comedy. It would have been nice, though, if IHLS had managed to make it more than halfway. Thanks for the warning; perhaps I'll wait for the DVD (and hope they get the songs subtitled by then).

Anonymous said...

U know i found the movie very boring ............. i didnt expect anything from the story but still it was a big draaag for me specially the second half and the comic moments also appeared dumb to me and the ones tht were good were straight lift froms how i met your mother but yes tht love guru part was really nice........ imran ws good but yes as u mentioned it he needs to work on emotional seens, tht part where he proposed sonam i felt tht he wil burst out in laughter any moment.......... sonam was stunning in the movie (visually;)) and acting she wasnt tht bad for me over all it seemed a wate of time for me

ajnabi said...

Your review's pretty much what I expected from the film, so at least I won't be disappointed! I do hope, though, that Imran gets more opportunities to branch out--successfully, that is. I like him. :-)

triShie said...

thanks for the websites!! checked them out.. my options are looking great!! :)

theBollywoodFan said...

BogeyNo2: Thank you for visiting! This was definitely a JTYJN-lite in my eyes, yes. But I thought Imran was so much better! While Sonam, whose character had so much potential to break out multiple times, seemed so disengaged.

Yep, liked the dialogue, although I agree it could've been even better. I'll head over to your blog soon. Thanks again for your visit and comment.

Tesoro! That's a very thoughtful assessment of what Simran's character might've aimed to portray. If true, I wish they'd done it more justice, it's a theme that deserves to be treated with a much wider scope.

I see your point about Genelia (and yes, never any hard feelings, please :). For what it's worth, I have been keeping my distance on Twitter, where she does everything she can to make me not like her, LOL.

Definitely agree on Imran, he's here to stay. Delhi Belly should be funnn!

theBollywoodFan said...

Deepa: Great, thanks. I ought to check out HIMYM then. I'll report back after seeing an episode or two. So while we're talking about romcoms...so what is it about them that is so special? :)

Pessimisissimo: Thank you for stopping by! Haven't seen Pyaar Impossible, but I didn't mind What's Your Raashee. This really was a case of overlooking the acting skills (they weren't hopeless, just lacking) and trying to stick to the strengths. If you're a fan of romcoms, I'd say do check out IHLS at some point, on DVD might work well unless you're a big fan of Sonam.

theBollywoodFan said...

RaulKumar: The second half could've been shorter by so much! I was hoping it'd have a different end, especially after she'd outright rejected him in a modern-day version of the Mads-in-Saajan syndrome. Speaking of which, I agree that that scene was a bit weird. You know what I think of Sonam, and hopefully, there's only one direction she can go from here, and it's not south.

Ajnabi: Delhi Belly should be fun, but yes, I too hope Imran tries things other than action/comedy and does well at them -- he's starting to show signs of attributes that'll keep him more than relevant for a while.

TriShie: Thank you, good luck! Always good to have good options.

Deepa Dev said...

janaab, sorry to report back that IHLS has ripped off HIMYM a lot, a lot - right down to the exact words on few of the jokes... its sad really, the lack of originality...

what makes rom-coms special? correction - made. to put it simply, i think its about hope. hope that maybe love could be that perfect and feel that right, that there may indeed be some great moments in real life too...

Honestly speaking the genre has been done to death now - its been a few years since I saw any actually... now that i think a lil more about it, a couple of movies redefined the notion of rom-coms for me - one of them was It Happened One Night - the 1934 Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert movie (a.k.a the original Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin ), which had all the banter and none of the cliches and Sabrina - the 1954 movie with Humphrey Bogart & Audrey Hepburn which was more of a coming-of-age movie about Sabrina than anything else...

I could go on, but I'm still open to being surprised by a rom-com - haven't given up on em completely just yet :D

theBollywoodFan said...

Oh no! :( I really should say, "Oh, well." I seriously need to check out HIMYM.

As for your take on rom-coms...ooh, I think you're definitely right about hope, what's the point of living without it, na? Haven't seen 'It Happened One Night' or 'Sabrina', but my absolute favorite across industries has to be 'Serendipity'. Such great use of words, and totally the kind I find inspiring enough and am still waiting for, LOL.

Thanks again for your take. Cheers!

Ankit Manchanda said...

Just saw the Movie and immediately googled I hate love stories and HIMYM when I came to know only very little minority know the fact Its Most Scams, Jokes are totally ripped off. Its disgusting especially because HIMYM is my favourite show(Very near Friends) and I have watched all of its season more than once.

Be it The hot badtameez Scale(The hot crazy scale by barney), Two chicks making out(Barney says to Ted when he speaks about Robin), The way the Plan was shown with narration and speaking to camera and Idhar Udhar ki baatein which was funny though (Thats the exact style HIMYM is famous for and that etc etc part and talking to camera the exact same in an episode when Ted invites Robin to a party)...

Talk about lack of originality and people loving the film.. This movie deserves to be hated.. Its insane on the part of Writers to come up with this in a Rom Com!!

Anonymous said...

So TBF, Ranbir or Imran?

Selene said...


Thanks so much for checking my blog.
Pretty much agree to ur view for first half. But second half was almost a torture. It seemed more like a copy paste from popular sitcoms n Johar-Chopra brand fluff.

Pls do give me a feedback if u could find some time :)


Deepa Dev said...

@Ankit - I couldn't agree more - glad to see someone who seems to love HIMYM as much as I do... I was thinking these exact same things when I was watching IHLS... its a shame really... the writers couldn't decide what lines from HIMYM to give to whom in IHLS - the result being a strange (and totally un-awesome) mash of Ted, Barney & Marshall in each of the IHLS guys...