"Miss Lovely", a new independent film from India written and directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, is a love story containing many artistic layers. At first glance a beautiful woman with seductive eyes fills the screen. As we focus on her eyes, all of a sudden we are transported into what appears to be a vintage low budget horror movie with a female vampire as its star. A moment later we shift into a retro 1960's style, blue-porn movie. Then seconds later we finally morph into a crude, dark, dank, makeshift low-budget blue-movie film studio. We realize at this moment where we are, making both prior cognition's true.
"Miss Lovely" is a retro Bollywood version of a classic, old style, low-budget B-movie thriller combined with cheap, trashy, quickly made porn as it's core. "Miss Lovely" is also however, a love story.
When movie goers see films made in India, much of what comes to mind is beauty---often within impoverished surroundings. Most displaying a love of life, colors, traditions, good food, and a richness in experience and meaning. There have been many films made about human suffering in India, normally with redeeming moral endings.
"Miss Lovely" is radically different; at least on the surface. It shows an underbelly of turmoil and human degradation, drowning in a cesspool of greed and lust. Women are objects of carnal satisfaction. Blinded by their own plight, they scratch and claw at each other to be the most desired. The men, their captors, lust and feed on them. They fight with rabid aggression for the money that destroying women's virtue will bring. All participants being driven and devoured by the bottomless pit of sensation, power, and greed.
There is one line in the script that capsulizes the theme of "Miss Lovely" calling it, "A society who has forgotten its traditions and now lives with a "dead conscious"; more like a sleeping, zombie consciousness, hypnotized by the trap of carnal pleasures.
Two brothers are at the core of this tale. They are the producers of the films. The older brother, Vicky ( played by Anil George), the leader and brains of the operation, is married with children living in a small flat with his unassuming wife. The younger quiet brother, Sonu ( played by, Nawazuddin Siddiqui), is unmarried and in search for a higher quality film; he longs to make a good romantic movie. He is the one in search of "Miss Lovely", Pinky ( played by,Niharika Singh), to star in his film. Soon he finds her in an innocent chorus girl on a movie set. In the title alone one can deduce the scope and nature of the narrative. "Miss", meaning unmarried, and "Lovely", meaning beautiful to behold.
As the whirlpool spins, so does this familiar tale of lost souls struggling to be free. Stuck in the middle of a web of sin, each step is yet another snare in a sticky trap. The two brothers struggling to make money at the expense of exploiting beautiful women, sexual pleasure, and quenching the thirst of a grotesque side of the masculine nature. This movie might have also been entitled, "Cain and Abel's Misadventures in Hades".
But in the tradition of well made Indian films there is redemption. Not only in the consequences the two brothers may face but in the elements that surround them.
The human spirit is awe inspiring. The conditions of humanity are often spellbinding to watch; especially when raw and dealing with the often intense private side of our nature. In films, as in life, our hope is for a pleasant, even if eventful, outcome.
The most redeeming example of this quality is the film's set design and direction, both of acting and especially of photography. All the elements; costumes, music, locations and special effects, come together nicely to surround you in the nightmare that is being portrayed. In "Miss Lovely", you can feel the anxiousness, see the sweat and almost smell the dank odor in the room as you sense the extreme, desperate anxiousness of male longing. In one scene, through a crack between two buildings, a foreboding "bird of prey" flies quietly over the inevitable carnage below.
However, when the tide finally turns from the sweaty hot darkness of this suffocating hellish adventure, we find elements of peace and quiet in the still brown water of the wetlands. In the green foliage of the trees. As ever-present-Peace waits quietly for man to awaken to his higher consciousness and true nature.
How does "Miss Lovely" end? Or, does it end? It will be interesting to join the conversation and see what you decide.
Search Your Local Listings Opens June 20 2014
Rated: R for adult subject, sexuality and language
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
Writers: Ashim Ahluwalia (story), Uttam Sirur
Stars: Anil George, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh |