This franchise is based on the principle that hate stories are more erotic than love stories. Sex as sport, as a game, as casual encounters at work or in travel, as an instrument of comeuppance, as a strategy of business; all these are more of a turn on for audiences than a passionate culmination of romance. Friends and enemies with benefits seem to get more out of sex than traditional lovers.
But ‘Hate Story 4’ has a little twist to the functional kinkiness of this series. It turns out that this film has political content. We find out that there is an Indian sisterhood at work in London who are using their charm to destroy the two wayward sons of a man who has just been elected Mayor of London (Gulshan Grover). Luckily we don’t know this while the seduction process is in full swing. It is revealed to us, one flashback at a time. And, even then, it is impossible to pay attention to the political implications of what is going on, because the flashbacks have so many women in tantalising posture and dress, whispering sweet nothings to the brothers Rajveer (Karan Wahi) and Aryan (Vivan Bhatena).
These two goons, while in India, have molested a woman and murdered the valiant young man who tried to protect her, a dark secret which will implode in the face of a contender to political influence in England – the Grover character being clearly inspired by the figure of Sadiq Khan, the first Mayor of London from an ethnic minority.
The female protagonist of the film, Tasha (Urvashi Rautela), uses her sexuality as a sword and seduces both brothers in order to trigger sibling rivalry and hatred. It is a matter of taste, of course, but the miming of torso and pelvic movements while scantily dressed, though counted as eroticism in the ‘Hate Story’ series, can sometimes be off putting. Combined with the unbuttoned shirts of the men, baring shaved chests, the whole exercise could just as well be an elaborate simulation of bad sex.
But bad acting is worse. What is unforgivable in this movie is how stiff the actors are. Not one performer in this movie is credible as a character, and the director has made no attempt whatsoever to guide them. As a result, there is no synchronisation between the dialogue written and the dialogue delivered. The people in this film could as well be expensively dressed mannequins, miming speech, while fitted with digital speakers.
The truth is that this series has run out of steam and now needs closure.