By far the best bet of the three small releases this week, “Hate Story 2” is what a sequel (not a true one following the same story but a brand with the same spirit) should be all about. Instead of getting needlessly bigger, it opts to be better, that is bigger in concept and execution. It grips from frame one and does not let go, and the concise end is a delight in the Hindi film world of convoluted climaxes.

One just wishes that a few flaws could have been avoided. Villain Mandar Mhatre (Sushant Singh), it is conclusively shown, knows only at a late stage that his victim Sonika (Surveen Chawla) has survived the horrible end he had designed for her. Then who did the corrupt cop call up to inform that Sonika was alive, and on instructions even tried to murder her? Such are the avoidable and childish bloomers Hindi filmmakers relentlessly do!

Then there is the plant of the diary protected by plastic in water. Why should the cops not smell a rat when the planter could not have known that it would be submerged in water? And why don’t they smell a rat anyway? One more point: what happened to the grandmother?

But for these relatively minor flaws, the straight and gripping narration at 130 minutes is spell-binding and thankfully crisp. Due to certain circumstances (the matter too is not satisfactorily explained), the young and bright Sonika (Surveen Chawla) is the mistress of politician Mandar (Sushant Singh). But in her photography class, she and Akshay (Jay Bhanushali) fall in love. To escape Mandar’s clutches, they run away from Mumbai to Goa, but Mandar catches up with them. His henchmen and he kill Akshay and try and eliminate Sonika as well. But Sonika survives and becomes a vendetta machine.

While nothing is really new in the story, the proceedings are fairly believable. The plausibility factor is kept high and the murders are shown credibly and economically. Even Sonika’s imagination of Akshay being with her is logically explained – she has a medical condition that causes hallucinations and she is aware of it and craves for her love. The twist in the end when she gets an unexpected ally in a world of enemies is very uplifting too.

Girish Dhamija’s lines and Banerjee’s script are minimal and thus more effective. Technically simple yet riveting, the film gets a boost from Inder Bawra’s and Sunny Bawra’s evocative background score, the razor-sharp edit by Kuldeep Mehan and Pandya’s inspired direction (a dramatic improvement on his 2009 debut, “Three: Love, Lies & Betrayal”) that never flags in its command over the medium and genre.

The music, though a mélange and led by the chartbuster re-creation of Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s “Aaj Phir Tumpe” from “Dayavan” (1988), is a hit and adds to the appeal and initial draw. KK’s “Kabhi Aaine Pe Likha” is the best of the songs, though the completely needless item number by Sunny Leone, “Pink Lips” sucks (no pun intended!) and is a washout despite a promotional blitz.

Surveen Chawla is the highlight of this film. As the medically-compromised protagonist who executes revenge, she acts with the skill of a 10-film-old actor rather than the debutant that she is! Yes, she has done about 10 films, but only in Punjabi! Her introduction to Hindi films was as an item girl in the 2013 fiasco “Himmatwala.”

Sushant Singh and Siddharth Kher as the honest cop are impressive and the rest effective, but stealing the show in a relatively minor role is the expressive Neha Kaul as Mandar’s long-suffering wife. Jay has nothing much to do and is okay.

This one’s worth a watch for the sheer emotional voltage and intensity. Don’t miss it.

Rating: ***1/2

T-Series Films and AA Films present

“Hate Story 2”: Power-Packed Sequel Even Better than the Original

Produced by: VIKRAM BHATT & BHUSHAN KUMAR

Directed by: VISHAL PANDYA

Written by: MADHURI BANERJEE & GIRISH DHAMIJA

Music: LAXMIKANT-PYARELAL, ARKO PRAVO MUKHERJEE, RASHID KHAN, MITHOON & MEET BROS. ANJJAN

Starring: SURVEEN CHAWLA, JAY BHANUSHALI, SUSHANT SINGH, SHASHANK SHENDE, SIDDHARTH KHER, RAJESH KHERA, NEHA KAUL & others Sp. app.: SUNNY LEONE

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.