Aseem Chandaver, or Baba Jogeshwari or Gina Kholkar on Twitter or Neelouli on youtube, or by whatever name you might know him, he is hands down the baap of all B-C Grade movie buffs that we know of. Working in Mumbai as a copywriter, the man is responsible for sifting through tons and tons of campy movies, selecting clips, uploading and sharing them in his spare time, purely for the joy and love of B-C Grade cinema. We thought it would be fitting to post what he thought of Miss Lovely and requested him for a review. So here it goes, Aseem on Ashim’s film –
Since the global connection of interconnected computer networks is presently imploding with acute interest, unanticipated awe and limitless curiosity for the once shadowy genre of B, C & D-grade films, I thought since the past one and a half years that director Ashim Ahluwalia’s film Miss Lovely will uphold a sense of equilibrium by retaining the novelty, cleansing the category of all its amassed gloss and prolonging fandom through unseen and unheard tales of cinematic obscurity.
Well, I was wrong. Miss Lovely is definitely a new brand and flavor of soda pop, but without any strong hallmark fizz. An incredibly well-researched and chronicled film that leans on its experiential past without ever paying attention to the evidently weak screenplay and character extinguishes. A stalwart and his coerced unenthusiastic brother who falls in love with the struggling actress, asphyxiated in a subterranean world is not only captivating, but a ticking calm bomb set to explode when you least expect it. Instead of a pensive postmortem or even seeing the world through seedy filmmaking eyes, it does a staccato job of introducing you to half-baked and sometimes clichéd characters with anticlimax dialogues that literally deflate moments of visual narrative and accomplished story.
The film starts with a brilliant spook sequence, which even incorporates cleverly reconstructed POV shots from Director Baby’s B-Grade magnum opus House No. 13, a slight Desi rendition of the movie ‘The Poltergeist’. Ahluwalia’s profound knowledge of what the audience wanted and what psychoactive levels the filmmakers went to entertain those fantasies can be unmistakably seen here.
House No. 13 scene. Watch from 1:00:55 –
In the House No. 13 intro scene, just as the audience gets bored with the ghost being charred to flesh and dust, Ahluwalia reveals years old secret that made some of these films a runaway success. As the House No. 13 reel ends, there begins a Double X rated film which were in the 80s and intermittently in the 90s cut pasted all throughout the film. These double X films were either shot separately with a completely different cast or with the film’s cast continuing a lovemaking scene in the same film but with topless or semi-naked shots. Some insider moments like these keep springing in the first half of the film; two of the most memorable ones being the scenes from Wohin Bhayaanak Raat and a motleyed recreation of Khooni Panja & Hatyarin, where Ahluwalia unveils yet another fascinating tale of fetish based cinematic excellence – Spectrophilia/Necrophilia.
Wohin Bhayanak Raat – From 3.27 –
I think Ashim has been a lot around the sets of B-Auteur Vinod Talwar – The Dulhan Scene particularly motif from these two movies –
Khooni Panja – From 1:02:28
Hatyarin – From 11:23
In one scene, a newlywed bride is being ravished by a monstrous aberration in a sexually charged hypnotic trance which is depicted by Ahluwalia with a hysterical and precise recreation of the shooting style of Camp filmmakers; while in the other we have Kiran Kumar’s deep-fried chicken pakora avatar who ferociously sucks the blood out of female victims is superbly incorporated in the film as if it is made by the film’s lead pair The Duggal Bros (assuming it is made to sound like The Dhillon Bros, a famous B-movie duo).
There are several triumphs like these where the Director outshines and puts a wide smile on enthusiasts and novices alike. The entire movie is laced with a ‘Green Room-esque’ motif, and when you combine the moody direction with ace cinematographer Mohanan’s virtuosity, you are inadvertently left with a princely smack of Cuticura, the mentally depressing lights of the backstage and the impending doom of a wrathful breakdown from the funding Underworld Dons and unpredictably sinister Distributors. The music of the film is absolutely mind-blowing. Instead of lackadaisical 80s guitars and off-tune keyboard sonatas by less known music directors, the music has been perceptively compiled containing the best of post-disco pop such as Nazia Hassan & Biddu and even contains psychedelic compositions by Maestro Ilaiyaraja and Italian exploitation composers Egisto Macchi and Piero Umiliani of Manha Manha fame.
Dum Dum Dede – Miss Lovely Official Song
The musketeers of Miss Lovely are its stylized treatment, costumes, production design and lastly, Da Man Nawazuddin Siddiqui, an actor who rises like a phoenix from a deadpan screenplay and heightens his character even when he stands still, traumatized and sickeningly numb after a prison term, watching his heartless brother’s wife beseeching him not to enter her newly started life. An unforgettable scene where Nawazuddin lifelessly stands still and simply gives a smile, flummoxed at the heartlessness of the world. What masquerades as a dense narrative is actually an intensive lack of scenario. The story is about a forlorn and discontented bloke Sonu (Nawaz) who joins his slightly established B-movie filmmaker Vicky (Anil George) in the Camp movie-making business. After initial shocks and frustrations, he meets Pinky (Niharika Singh), an innocent struggler who hails from a strict family. Sonu pretends to be a filmmaker who promises her a lead role in his upcoming film titled Miss Lovely. After a brutal clash from the underworld and sundry financiers, Vicky lures Sonu into a last resort plan that forever exiles him to oblivion.
Even with the leading characters’ galling complexities, insecurities and their escapades, the film battles between two worlds whether to tell the story of the B, C & D-Grade World through the eccentric mentation of Vicky and Sonu or try to salvage the maladroit storyline impediments of all three characters, leading to an inevitable Bhandarkar-esque situation. And yet the movie is sandwiched by some of the most painstakingly showcased cultural phenomena and developments of the late 80s and early 90s.
With all its narrative faults, Miss Lovely proved to be a commendable watch due to its spectacularly rich recreation of the first ever D-Grade Era, its uncompromisingly Pulp and Psychedelic 80s settings, the Behind-The-Scenes of extremely paltry budget films, dark humor of its characters and of course for the glory for Camp/Cult fanaticism.
P.S – I’m extremely angry as someone flagged my Qatil Chudail video as inappropriate and pulled it out from youtube.
(Editorial Team note – You can check out Aseem’s videos collection here, here and here. And click here for our 2012 rewind post in which we’d written about Miss Lovely)