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Hate Story IV review: Bad writing, terrible acting, and lack of sensuality let down this revenge drama

Release Date: 09 Mar 2018 / Rated: A / 02hr 10min

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Shriram Iyengar

Despite all the skin show, Vishal Pandya's revenge story is completely wooden (just not the kind the audience expects).

There is a purpose for everything, they say. After watching Vishal Pandya's Hate Story IV, one wonders if there is any truth to that aphorism. How does this film serve the world of Indian cinema?

The story begins with the scions of the prestigious Khurana empire in London, Rajveer and Aryan (Karan Wahi and Vivan Bhatena) looking for a new face for their modelling agency. Aryan is in love with Rishma (Ihana Dhillon), a rising manager in his company, while Rajveer is the spoilt brat. That face belongs to Tasha (Urvashi Rautela).

Seeing how both brothers are repellingly narcissistic and perenially horny, it is easy for Tasha to become the one who drives a wedge between the two. Using her beauty, seductions skills, and quite a few handymen, she manages to end the Khurana empire by pitting the two brothers against each other. Her reason is the reason you might want to watch the film, or not.  

This basic plot has been common from the first film of the franchise. A woman at the heart of the destruction of horny, perverse men. In that matter, Hate Story might just be a rare franchise that hands its heroines the agency of power and destruction. In fact, the reveal in the film comes with the women rising in celebration of the destruction of these evil men. Hence, the repeated reference to Draupadi through the film.

Despite being promoted as a franchise that combines erotica with the plot of a revenge thriller, Hate Story 4 lacks either. As beautiful as Urvashi Rautela is, her exposure does not, and probably cannot, amount to sensuality. There is a difference of aesthetics. To be fair, Pandya's film has an equality of exposure, with Vivan Bhatena and Karan Wahi displaying as much of their pecs as the two leading ladies.

The film is filled with scenes of the leads indulging in what results in a serious case of cooties, to put mildly. However, it lacks any fire, passion, and only feels like a dampener. At one point, you want to tell them to 'get a room'. It might just have saved the production expenses.  

This lack of chemistry is the product of the second flaw in the film — bad acting. None of the leads manage to deliver a semblance of a performance through the film. In addition to speaking in only two tones - whispering (romantic) and screaming (angry), the performances are seriously let down by bad writing.

Karan Wahi underdelivers as the rogue casanova, and Vivan Bhatena's baritone does not manage to cover up his wooden expressions. While Urvashi Rautela remains the centrefold (pun intended) of the film, her acting is not much to write home about. Wrapped in skin-tight clothes and sky high heels (both of which look like they hinder mobility) throughout the film, one wonders how much of her distress contributed to her expressions.  

The bad writing also reflects in the poorly written dialogues. At one point, Rajveer's blackmailer says 'Chote bhaiyya to chote bhaiyya, bade bhaiyya ta ta thaiyya', which resulted in the theatre tittering. This, to be frank, is a scene that this reviewer actually enjoyed the most in the film.

While hard to admit, the film does have an interesting plot that could have done with better exploration and development. Sadly, that is not the case. As for the characters, it is hard to find sympathy for any of them. Rajveer roofies girls to get them, and dumps them. Aryan has a roving eye that does not progress beyond the cleavage in front of him. Neither character finds redemption, or even a semblance of pity through development. The most complex character actually belongs to the senior Khurana (Gulshan Grover), who also walks away with the best lines in the film. He has a 15-minute appearance. Enough said.

However, the theatre your reviewer watched the film had a 60% attendance early in the morning. In a city that is starved for space, these shows remain the only escape for young couples seeking some privacy. One hopes they took home the lesson that hell hath no fury like a woman out for revenge, but that depends on if they watched the film at all. Perhaps, that is the purpose of existence for films like Hate Story IV.