Loveyatri, produced by Salman Khan launches not just two, but three new talents to Hindi cinema.
These are actors Aayush Sharma and Warina Hussain and director Abhiraj Minawala.
From the trailer, the movie promises to be a fun, colourful and vibrant Bollywood romance.
However, the critical and audience views have been quite mixed.
Now, Filme Shilmy gives our final verdict.
Sushrut aka Susu (Aayush Sharma), a garba teacher in Vadodara, falls head over heels in love with NRI Gujarati Michelle (Warina Hussain).
From a worldly standpoint, the two are seemingly incompatible. Susu is juvenile, impractical and carefree, while Michelle is cultured and well educated.
She is a research scholar in London. However, nothing holds Susu back from expressing his love for Michelle.
They realise that they want to spend their lives together but they won’t have the approval of their respective families.
What happens next forms the crux of the movie.
Avoiding Gujarati Stereotypes
First and foremost, it is refreshing to see that Loveyatri does not adhere to Gujarati stereotypes.
Barring Bhansali films, all the Gujarati characters in Bollywood movies would be portrayed as stingy, in-your-face flamboyant and everything else which is not actually in reality.
However, Abhiraj Minawala stays true to the milieu and culture.
He does not make the characters overtly Gujarati – especially when it comes to the accents. He keeps it real.
As such, the locations in Baroda are not glamorised in a larger-than-life manner.
From the Pav Bhaji stalls to the Garba pavilions, everything seems to be a realistic representation.
Even when it comes to the locations in London. Abhiraj Minawala does not stick to the mundane attractions like Oxford Circus.
He explores other well-known places like Camden Market, which might not be as familiar. Plus, the way he shows characters eating from a food van is something which British folks occasionally do!
Having personally witnessed both Indian and British lifestyles, I could strongly resonate with what is presented in the film – geographically and culturally.
Abhiraj Minawala’s Impressive Direction
Abhiraj Minawla makes a spectacular directorial debut. His filmmaking is smooth and the continuation shots are maintained well.
I also love the way of shooting certain scenes.
For instance, the first ‘talk’ that happens between Sushrut and Sam Patel (Michelle’s father played by Ronit Roy), is on a giant wheel in Baroda.
At that point, he explains how Michelle is out of Sushrut’s league.
The sequence in the second-half they stand on the Queen Elizabeth Bridge in front of the London Eye and Sushrut claims that what is down goes up.
It is creations like these which work well. Such portions are subtle and yet convey the message well.
As such, Minawala’s vision of showing the transition of time through different festivals and seasons is commendable.
Not only does this transition celebrate the vibrancy of India’s festivals, but it also depicts the deepening emotions of Sushrut towards Michelle, as well as highlighting his financial struggle to go to London.
Loveratri is a love-story which is realistic, yet has commercial and mainstream tropes.
Given that Abhiraj has worked previously in Yash Raj Films, he truly knows how to bring romance alive on celluloid!
Loveyatri’s story strikes a chord
Yes – we have seen some aspects of Loveyatri in films before: An affluent girl falls in love with a not-so-rich boy, but the girl’s father objects.
But the thing is, a love story will always remain a love-story. It is how that narrative is presented which makes the difference.
The story is simple and the movie does not boast of being an epic love story.
This ideology is represented in a dialogue between Rasik (Sushrut’s maternal uncle – essayed by Ram Kapoor) and Sushrut.
During this exchange, Rasik tells his nephew how we have learnt romance from Bollywood. This somewhat justifies Loveyatri.
After all, it begs the question as to whether every love-story should be an intense/epic saga.
Why simple love-stories like this can’t be accepted for the audience’s entertainment?
Simplicity is the best policy and the film’s customary romance reflects this.
The Garba is like a narrator of the movie; the movie’s soundtrack
Besides the romance, the Garba is a major aspect of Loveyatri.
The traditional dance-form is positioned in a theatrical way, which is apt for the situations in the film and as a means of celebration.
It actually feels like the Garba becomes the movie’s narrator.
Kudos to Vaibhavi Merchant for choreographing traditional Garba steps and routines with modern twists.
Consequently, this traditional and modern fusion is also reflected in the music.
It is wonderful to see Garba folk songs like ‘Chogada’ and ‘Dholida’ adapted to suit today’s era and of course, Loveyatri’s narrative.
Guaranteed that these tracks have a long shelf-life even after the film.
In addition, Sanchit Balhara’s background score is engaging and uplifts the atmosphere.
Performances: Aayush and Warina’s Bollywood Debut
Prior to the film, there was scepticism regarding Aayush Sharma and Warina Hussain’s debut. However, their performances are a pleasant surprise.
Aayush, firstly, leaves a positive impression. He has a confident screen presence, is a great dancer and can emote well.
He has a great potential to become a successful Bollywood hero. I love the way he performs Garba so gracefully.
Warina is not only glamorous, but she also has the capability to act and dance well. Having said that, some improvement on her expressions could work wonder for her.
Ronit Roy is effortless as the ‘typical Indian dad’. Not only is his Gujarati on-point, but it is also quite novel to see him not be a stereotypical Amrish Puri style of a father.
But the actor who really enhances the film’s atmosphere is Ram Kapoor. He portrays the role of a Sari vendor, Garba singer and Susu’s uncle/cupid so well.
His smile, calm and cool demeanour is amiable. One wishes to have an uncle like him!
The film has several positive aspects and it is enjoyable.
However, I feel the legal matter in London could’ve been resolved more realistically, in-line with the rest of the film.
Plus, the second half could’ve been trimmed down more. But otherwise, the movie does not fail to entertain.
Overall, as the film promises, Loveyatri is a vibrant and colourful voyage of love, packed with Gujarati Gusto.
Watch it not only as a celebration of love but also to celebrate the Navratri festivities!