It's a pretty safe bet that any film titled Love Story is going to be a no-go for the hardened cynics in the audience; this particular Love Story makes its agenda pretty explicit from the get-go starting things off with 20 minutes of what has to be THE most deliciously melodramatic prologue ever.
We're rapidly introduced to three central characters: architect and engineer Vijay Mehra (Rajendra Kumar), an arrogant, jealous, argumentative jerk of a man;
his girlfriend Suman (Vidya Sinha) and Ram Dogra (Danny Denzongpa) – a cheerfully honest construction engineer Vijay unsuccessfully tries to bribe, who also turns out to be an old flame of Suman's.
Basically – Vijay comes off looking REALLY BAD in the prologue: he tries to bribe Ram when his building doesn't meet the basic codes;
then when he and Suman run into Ram later in an nightclub and Ram asks Suman to dance, Vijay issues an “it's him or me” ultimatum. OVER A DANCE. Before storming out of the club and leaving Suman stranded. Then when Suman gets upset, not understanding what on earth she has done to deserve such bad treatment (seriously, Vijay is a jerk) he admonishes her for crying before breaking up with her in the most awesomely horribly way possible:
Yep. He arranges his own marriage in front of her.
So Suman leaves with Ram. Vijay gets married and his wife gets pregnant and dies, just like that, because mean people don't deserve any happiness in a prologue. But also because the point of the whole film is: THE TANGLED PAST BETWEEN SUMAN, RAM AND VIJAY WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT THEM IN THE FUTURE. Suman even predicts it:
And so it does. The bulk of Love Story is focussed on the next generation: Vijay's son, Bunty (Kumar Gaurav)
and Ram and Suman's daughter Pinky (Vijayta).
Bunty runs away from home because Vijay wants him to study engineering and Bunty wants to be a pilot; Pinky runs away from home because Ram is so overprotective of her his attention is stifling. The two kids meet while on the run, and though they initially can't stand each other, they eventually fall madly in love, which is a problem when their parents loathe each other.
And that's basically the whole film.
Obviously the story is about love – but in true Hindi film fashion, it's multifaceted. There's young love, parental love, love turned poisonous, stifling love, love that spoils, unfulfilled love, platonic love, true love, lustful love...
Love Story did differ slightly to other “kids in love rebelling against their parents” films that I have seen in that the attitude of the kids was kind of...a let down, actually. In other films (and the one that always springs to mind is Love 86, though I KNOW there are a tonne of other good examples) the parents want one thing for the kids – e.g. arranged marriage, and the kids want another – e.g. love marriage. So they fight for it. THEY FIGHT FOR IT. They stand up for what they believe in, or they put all their faith in the strength and power of their love conquering all and they argue with their parents and fight for what they want. It might be cheesy but THAT'S WHAT I EXPECT OF A FILM CALLED LOVE STORY.
In this film, I was kind of disappointed that when Bunty and Pinky suddenly realise they are in love, and they realise that this love might be a problem for their parents, but especially for Pinky's overprotective father, who has already lined up a groom willing to live in the bridal home for his daughter, they just...opt out of returning to the real world and fighting for their relationship. Like, THEY DON'T EVEN TRY. Their solution is to LITERALLY play house, (and don't even get me started on this giant plot hole – like...where did the house come from? And everything in it?) and live a chaste and happy fantasy life free from the hassles of the real world.
Maybe it was supposed to be a metaphor for something. But I didn't get it.
I HATED that part of the film and thought it was beyond stupid.
Also hated: the fact that the “bonding” moment between Bunty and Pinky when they magically fall in love comes when Pinky accidentally hurts Bunty, he SLAPS HER IN THE FACE and SHE APOLOGISES. That bit made me really mad.
Also hated: that the film goes on to make Pinky look even more annoying when she makes Bunty angry by DOING SOMETHING HE EXPLICITLY ASKED HER NOT TO DO and then wondering why he got mad.
What I LOVED (and the reason I was watching the film) was Amjad Khan's character, Sher Singh. Amaluu has been telling me to watch this film for AGES because of Amjad Khan (we have a kind of Amjad Khan fanclub) and now I know why. His character is so loveable and sweet, and if you have only ever seen him play villains, you need to see him in Love Story, just so you can see how funny and cute and poignant he can be.
Plus, with the kids absolving themselves of all responsibility for fighting for their relationship, it was so interesting to see a character like Sher Singh fulfil that role in the narrative.
Amjad Khan WINS (but doesn't he always?!). The rest of the film...ehhh. Points for the extreme melodrama,
Gotta give points for writing on the wall in blood.
but the mix of mindless fluff and misogyny kinda lost me this time round.