‘I Love You’ is a wannabe Upendra film

I Love You is a bland movie, marked with silly writing and thoroughly lazy film-making.

Upendra, as a director, grew popular not just because he had idiosyncratic ideas.

He translated these eccentric themes on to the screen with conviction.

A master at treating bizarre philosophies with unconventional filmmaking, he grew popular among the youth. 

As an actor, Upendra is mostly seen in stories that are a rehash of his own directorial flicks. Upendra knew what he was doing. But many who have directed him compromised on originality and focused on making ‘Upendra-style films’ and failed miserably.

R Chandru, with I Love You, falls in this list. His 10th directorial venture is a bland movie, marked with silly writing and thoroughly lazy film-making.

Santosh (Upendra), a love guru in college, believes love is lust. Dharmika (Rachita Ram), working on a thesis on love, feels Santosh is her perfect subject to experiment on. This triggers a series of inane sequences that make the first half a drab fest. Santosh falls for Dharmika only because she helps him recover from an injury.

Chandru, however, forgets to forge an interesting chemistry between the leads.

Neither does Chandru focus on feel-good moments or lively conversations.

With unending sexual innuendos, one wonders if the director originally wanted some other four-letter word in the title. The story further meanders when Chandru decides to offer the impressively toned body of Upendra some action sequences.  

The twist, if at all we can call that, only makes the film weaker. We are told that Dharmika pretended to be in love with Santosh to teach him a lesson — that love isn’t lust. But only Chandru can explain why Dharmika, who thinks love is “divine”, leaves Santosh because of his status. 

To prove a point, Santosh goes on to become a famous businessman but we don’t see how that happens. ‘Show and not tell’ is the basic rule of filmmaking. Despite now being married to Gowri (Sonu Gowda), a devoted wife, Santosh isn’t happy as his first love, like in a million films, is hard to forget for the hero.

The manner in which Gowri’s character is written is a clinching proof of Chandru’s limited creativity. If you think a ‘halli hudgi’ (village belle) is timid with no voice of her own and embraces patriarchy, then your perception is hollow. Despite not liking what’s on screen, if you are still watching I Love You it’s because of Sugnan’s camera work. His vibrant colour tone is one of the two positives. 

A look at Chandru’s career (Tajmahal, Prem Kahani, Charminar) will tell us his obsession with the subject of love. It’s okay to have strong opinions and repeat your pet themes. However, you also need to have the skill to tell an interesting story every time.

The second positive is that Upendra is set to wear the director’s hat again. I bet the wait for it is more exciting and fulfilling than watching I Love You. 

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