I Love You Review | Pavail Gulati Excels in This Flawed Thriller With a Captivating Premise

Nikhil Mahajan’s film I Love You, which is streaming on JioCinema, has a run time of 95 minutes and has a very enticing premise for a single-location thriller. The film starts off giving you a feel that it is going to be an Indian original that has the feel of the Netflix series You. But after entering the cat-and-mouse game between the main leads, the film cannot take the drama to the next level, and it just remains in the familiar zone of a survival thriller.

SPOILER ALERT! We don’t really know where these people are working and what their roles are. Satya and Rakesh Oberoi, or as Satya calls him, RO, are the film’s main characters. Satya is engaged to her boss Vishal. But RO was deeply in love with her, which he never told her. Her engagement with Vishal deeply unsettled him, and what we see in the film is RO’s creepy ways to get her back.

There is this theory about opening shots in movies as they either comprise the film’s key elements in a nutshell or there is this possibility of it having a significant role in the film. The opening shot of this movie is also like that. The steadiness of the shots, the clean frames, and Pavail Gulati’s curious face will make you interested in knowing how Nikhil will pull off this stalker story. When the movie sort of goes to this flashback space and shows the story from the psychopath’s perspective, the creepiness level increases by retaining visual glossiness. But the film is ultimately a survival thriller, and it felt like the writing was finding it difficult to make things layered after a point.

Rakul Preet Singh, as Satya, has this pleasant energy in the initial phases of the movie, and she portrays the roller coaster of emotions through which the character goes through believably. The best performance came from Thappad fame Pavail Gulati who performed the role with absolute conviction. Maybe because of his physicality, I was kind of reminded of the performance of Dulquer Salmaan in Chup. Without necessarily trying to make the character gimmicky or loud, Gulati managed to convey the toxicity of that character. The minimalism he kept in his body language also made that character peculiar.

In detailing certain scenes, Nikhil Mahajan tries to maintain a level of realness. For instance, in the scene in which RO realizes that he made a mistake by talking about the driver, we can clearly see him preparing to attack Satya. The torture of Vishal also had that unexpected end. The novelty starts to diminish in the second half of the film, where the movie serves as a survival thriller. Even though we do get to see why the movie started with that underwater sequence, the struggle of Satya doesn’t feel tough. Yes, they have included possibilities like phone tracking, spy cams, etc., to make this trapped aspect of the story look believable, but the conviction is still a bit dodgy.

From the initial moments of flatly lit happy sequences and claustrophobic frames and neon-light-filled violence sequences to the character exposition through that goldfish, there is an effort to make it a well-directed thriller. But the writing’s inability to take it a notch high as the story proceeded makes it look like one of those projects they decided to make hastily in the lockdown scenario.

Final Thoughts

The writing's inability to take it a notch high as the story proceeded makes it look like one of those projects they decided to make hastily in the lockdown scenario.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.