Bollywood romance ‘Love Hostel’ finds Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra on the run

Bollywood actors Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra play runaway lovers who take refuge in a state-run shelter in India in their latest cursed romance “Love Hostel.” In many Indian states, governments have set up safe havens so that two consenting adults can take refuge if they fear retaliation from their family or society.

“The movie reflects the times we live in,” Massey said in an interview with Gulf News ahead of his low-key wedding to longtime girlfriend Sheetal Thakur on Feb. 18.

Despite his wedding a few days away, the always professional Massey did not hesitate to promote his film.

Directed by Shanker Raman and produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, the film is a gripping portrayal of how couples are forced to pay the price of falling in love outside of their society and family. Malhotra and Massey belong to two different religions and classes, which makes them exponentially vulnerable to hate crimes and honor killings.

Vikrant Massey.
Image credit: IANS

The film also features actor Bobby Deol as the man in search of these two lovers. Excerpts from our interview with Massey as we talk about her latest romance, her tendency to choose distorted lover roles, and more:

Tell us about your film “Love Hostel”.

It’s a movie about two star-crossed lovers who are on the run and a ruthless mercenary is looking for them. But there is much more to the film. It’s a film that reflects the world we live in. This might remind you of a story you must have heard somewhere about two consenting adults who are ostracized in their society for simply following their agency.

So the film explores the tricky subject of what constitutes consent?

Yes, in many ways. It’s more than a love story. It’s about a lot of class divides and the film is open to various interpretations. I can guarantee that the film’s two main characters are based in a world you’ll definitely recognize… It’s a violent film and there’s a lot of bloodshed. It’s not for the faint hearted and certainly not for those who want to hold a higher memorial. “Love Hostel” is much more real and much more relevant.

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Vikrant Massey in “Love Hostel”
Image Credit: Supplied

When I first heard the title “Love Hostel” I assumed it was a teenage romance about a group of young children at a hostel. But I was terribly wrong…

It is certainly not about children in a hostel. The premise of the film is based on refuges provided by the Indian government when two consenting adults end up getting married beyond the reach of their family or society. When they marry against everyone’s wishes, they are ostracized. It is the Indian government that provides these shelters for these adults to take care of them and protect them, probably from all harm. This is the hostel we are talking about. I was lucky enough to work with Drishyam Films for ‘Ram Prasad Ki Tehvri’ and when their script came to me, I had the fastest turnaround for any film. After five or seven hours, I called them back and told them that I liked the boldness of the writing and that I had always wanted to work with director Shanker Raman. I admire his work a lot and it was a great chance to work with him.

So, shelters in India are like witness protection programs which are granted to those who help catch criminals by siding with law enforcement… But here it is the lovers who are penalized and not Isn’t that a sad reflection of the times we live in.

“Love Hostel” is not a social commentary, but it’s up to you what you want to do with it. I’m not going to spoon feed you and I want to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are smart enough to assess and understand. And by you, I mean the viewers. Although this is not a social commentary, it reflects the times we live in.

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A picture of ‘Love Hostel’.
Image Credit: Supplied

Do you believe in love?

It definitely exists. Love is a parody of our time because there is nothing better right now than falling in love. Love, compassion and empathy are the only truest emotions that surround us now. Many others have been infected. So, yes, I believe in love, and I’m in love. It is the purest form of feeling one can experience. And I believe in its power.

Recently, you have turned to morally ambiguous roles. In ‘Haseen Dillruba’, you went to great lengths to prove your love for your wife… Is it a deliberate choice?

I would say more of a coincidence. And I don’t see any of my roles as morally ambiguous and I really don’t know how to answer that question.

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A still from the film.
Image Credit: Supplied

But do you think Bollywood has finally come of age when it comes to its dramas and romances?

There are all kinds of movies being made now. With the advent of OTT (streaming) platforms, various genres including thrillers and romance stories are being created. There is so much space under the sun now to go out and tell different stories. Compared to what was done 10 years ago, there are far fewer conventional stories being made and that’s a good sign.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan co-produced this film. Was that a big draw for you?

You always need someone reliable to support your vision and your instincts. And I’m glad that Shah Rukh Khan and Manish Mundra – who have done well to propel Indian films out of India – have supported us through thick and thin. It’s a fantastic collaboration.

Are you satisfied sharing the screen with an interesting cast?

It’s a great cast and our casting director did a fantastic job. After ‘Ashram’ everyone realized what Bobby Deol can do with a role if given the right opportunity… He’s had some work over the past 25 years and he’s a ready choice. job… And, I knew Sanya professionally before this movie, but I got to know her better once we started filming and couldn’t have done well without her.

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Don’t miss it!

“Love Hostel” will be released on Zee5 on February 25

Linda G. Ibarra