‘Love Games’: Dangerously manipulative (IANS Review, Rating: **1/2)

Film: “Love Games”; Director: Vikram Bhatt; Cast: Patralekha, Gaurav Arora, Tara Alisha Berry and Hiten Tejwani; Rating: **1/2

An erotic thriller, “Love Games” is about love, lust and frustrations in extramarital affairs, and “survival of the cunning”.

The plot revolves around a nymphomaniac widow, Ramona (Patralekha), her ‘toyboy’ Sameer Saxena aka Sam (Gaurav Arora), a businessman’s son and his love interest Alisha Asthana, an abused wife of a lawyer.

High on drugs and to induce some excitement into her sex life with Sam, Ramona devises a scheme based on a novel that she had read, “Love Games”. The rules are simple. At any party, they would have to spot a couple who are in love, then each one of them must get close to the partner of the opposite sex and try to bed them. Whoever seduces their target first, is the winner and the loser will have to supply the winner with drugs for one year.

The games, which begin as an experiment for exhilaration, gradually turn into dangerous liaisons of terrifying proportions, as the rules too change in order to boost the adrenaline rush.

While the premise of the film is stimulating, the conniving plot is complex yet predictable and the direction is a tad tacky. The narration begins on a staid erotic note and the first two acts just drag. Just when you think the film is winding up, it changes gear entering the thriller zone and that’s what elevates the viewing quotient.

The performances by the lead cast are by far good. Patralekha as Ramona nails her character to perfection. With her poise, demeanour and defiance, she renders a zesty performance with oodles of spontaneity and panache.

Portraying his angst and resentment, in an understated manner, Gaurav Arora as Sam, the guy torn between two women and with suicidal tendencies, is sincere.

Tara Alisha Berry as Alisha Asthana, the traumatised doctor wife of a leading Lawyer, living on painkillers is simply appealing.

Hiten Tejwani as Alisha’s abusive husband is perfunctory.

The biggest drawback of the film is its writing. The script is far-fetched and unrealistic. The characters are flawed, especially those of Ramona and Alisha. Being the protagonists, Ramona and Alisha’s characters are two-dimensional and their graphs are not fully developed.

The dialogues too are unintentionally funny and are packed with some interestingly novel similes and metaphors. It is amusing to hear Ramona tell Sam: “You are like a fire brigade, you only come during an emergency.”

The songs are typical pub numbers and they go with the flow of the narration.

Overall, the film has sleek production values and, though frothy, it is a decent adult film.

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