Movie Review: Loveyatri – 3/5

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Story: Sushrut’s (Aayush Sharma) only passion in life is to teach garba to kids in Vadodara, but this time, the 9-day Navratri festival changes his life. He falls head over heels in love Michelle (Warina Hussain) and does everything he can to win her over.

Review: Sushrut or ‘Susu’ as he’s fondly called, is written off as an unambitious boy, whose only interest is to dance his life away. He constantly faces pressure from his family to find a ‘real’ job, while he dreams of opening his own garba academy in Vadodara. Over to the United Kingdom; Michelle is at the top of her class, but she wishes to return to her motherland in India. Her father (Ronit Roy) reluctantly agrees; they arrive in Baroda and extend their stay to celebrate Navratri on the insistence of his imposing Gujarati family. During the ‘festival of dance’, Susu falls in love with Michelle at first sight. He becomes the typical lover boy who literally runs in circles, to follow his heart.

‘LoveYatri’ is a straightforward love story – nothing more, nothing less. The makers clearly set out to create a sugary film, so they do that with enthusiasm and tons of nostalgic appeal. Debutant director Abhiraj Minawala plays it safe by sticking to a tried and tested formula, focusing on mushy moments to create drama. The problem is that there are too many sweet nothings in between, and that doesn’t help an unambitious screenplay. The characters are likeable, but the story doesn’t make you feel for them because there is little conflict of note and whatever arises is doused with ease. The songs in the film get special attention for capturing the festivity and mood around garba. Composer Tanishk Bagchi’s renditions of ‘Chogada’ and ‘Dholida’ are energetic with foot-tapping energy guaranteed to be popular on every Navratri playlist. Vaibhavi Merchant’s choreography will inspire plenty to shake a leg as well. The rest of the compositions are catchy enough not to become overbearing as they emerge at the drop of a hat.

It’s evident that Aayush and Warina are raw, but both have a charming screen presence with enough chemistry. Since the story requires them to be innocent and naïve young lovers, this inexperience works in their favour. Ayush’s boyish appeal is likeable, although his first film doesn’t give him a chance to show much range as an actor. Ronit Roy as Michelle’s father and Ram Kapoor as Susu’s uncle, lead the charge to handle the emotionally heavier dialogues and scenes. Although ‘LoveYatri’ lacks the gripping appeal of more contemporary romantic stories, it might be just enough to satiate die-hard romantics looking to revisit the love stories of the 90s.

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