Minutes into LoveYatri (changed title from LoveRatri), you realise that this is a Salman Khan production when you have the first glimpse of the debutante, Aayush Sharma. A slo-mo sequence has the debut actor go shirtless before he gets to show his smooth Garba movies on the college hall. In case you thought this is just a one-off case, Aayush gets to drop his shirt many times in the movie. More than LoveYatri, this should have been called Jija Ho Toh Aisa!
LoveYatri, directed by another debutante Abhiraj Minawala, has Aayush Sharma play what any male lead does in a romantic entertainer made in Bollywood. A good-for-nothing fellow in Baroda who hasn't grown up and ends up being a pain in the neck for his father. However, his character, who is affectionately called, believe it or not, Susu (and they didn't make a single pee joke there!) is not ambition-less. He loves and teaches Garba and plans to start a dance academy.
In his life, enters Michelle aka Manisha (Warina Hussain), a London-educated girl who is eyeing top business school education but is a Barodian at heart. She comes to her hometown with her father (Ronit Roy) to visit her relatives there. Coincidentally, it is also the Navratri season.
So it is love at first sight for Susu (snigger!) who sees her at a dandiya ground and in just a couple of nights, she reciprocates his feelings. But her father creates misunderstandings between them, leading Manisha to return to the UK. A repentant Susu decides to follow her to the Queen's country and win her back.
LoveYatri has a distinction that no movie in the world might have had. For the first time ever, a superstar has made a movie just so that her sister's husband can be launched and join the many nepotistic beneficiaries of Bollywood. So LoveYatri is designed to show Aayush good in every way, while also let him connect with the front-benchers by making him a chichora too. Nothing wrong with the idea, even if we have to endure him flexing his biceps or go shirtless at random moments. Warina Hussain Deserves a Round of Applause for Her Effortless Styling for Loveyatri Promotions.
But the insipid, unoriginal premise and pretty average direction fail to live up to whatever plans Salman Khan has for his brother-in-law's glitzy debut. There are random ideas, like the whole Baroda food eating spree or Manisha's so-called boyfriend angle, that go nowhere and lend nothing to the plot. The other aspects of the premise are mostly lifted from movies like Kal Ho Naa Ho, Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage, Namastey London and even Dhadak. And since we can't expect nuances in a Salman Khan production (Chillar Party is a rare exception), we have all Khakra Fafda jokes, while the hero rants about Garba being the basis of all dance forms (errr...what?). We have to justify the Gujarati setting, don't we? There is the female lead, who has a luxurious lifestyle but is a loner at heart, and still feels from the early demise of her mother. Because there is no point in giving her a different background, when the point of her character is to be gooey-eyed over the hero's antics.
The movie is humorous at times, when it involves Susu's friends, Negative and Rocket (why does ever Bollywood hero has two BFF's only?). The rest of the time, humour comes out unintentionally. Michelle's father has this giant wheel fixation when it comes to threatening her boyfriend. Another time, Susu's affable uncle (Ram Kapoor) motivates his nephew to get the girl in an English pub. He uses examples of Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and even Salman's movies but gets most of his facts wrong. The finale is so insipid that I wonder what was the point of the whole exercise. Then Aayush Sharma and his permanently fixated smile turned up on screen and I groaned in the understanding.
The movie's biggest laughter comes from a scene where Susu takes Michelle for a ride on his scooter in Baroda. When she asks why he is not wearing a helmet, he replies that no one does in Baroda. Perhaps, the makers realise that this won't go down well with the traffic police, so he adds offscreen that he was joking! Loveyatri: Priyanka Chopra Accepts Aayush Sharma and Warina Hussain’s ‘ChogadaWithLove’ Challenge - Watch Video.
LoveYatri's strength lies in the well-choreographed Garba sequences and the music, which somewhat manages to add pizzazz to the love story. If the makers were any smarter, they could have used Garba more efficiently (not a great fan of the franchise, but like the ABCD series does with dance-forms). In LoveYatri, Garba ends up only as an excuse to get the wheels churning for the plot and create convenient plotholes. Otherwise, the dance is left forgotten in the film like we do the rest of the year, after Navratri!
Watch the trailer of LoveYatri here -
To be fair, Aayush Sharma has a good screen presence and is a fine dancer, better than any of them in his in-laws. He has limited expressions, though, and needs to work on having more in his inventory, if he is serious about acting. Warina Hussain, who resembles Janhvi Kapoor a lot, is saddled with a weakly-written love interest role. Ram Kapoor as the Doctor Love in Susu's life is strictly okay. Ronit Roy plays Ronit Roy with a Gujarati accent. Pratik Gandhi, who was excellent in Mitron, provides some of LoveYatri's genuine mirth. Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan try to repeat their Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na double act in a cameo, but end up irritating us.
- The film looks good visually
- The garba sequences
- The rest of the aspects!
LoveYatri suffers from an unoriginal and boring premise and average treatment. If Salman Khan was really serious about making his brother-in-law a star, perhaps he could have chosen a better project for both the debutantes. Skip this Dandiya Raas!