‘Love Hostel’ is a drab tale of star-crossed lovers entangled in a web of honour killings. It’s a generic story that’s been told all over the Indian subcontinent.

Ashu (Vikram Massey), a.k.a. Ahmed Shaukeen, is the child of a butcher who is head over heels in love with Jyoti Dilawar (Sanya Malhotra), the vivacious granddaughter of a local politician Kamala Dilawar (Swaroopa Ghosh).

They plan to elope because they know their families will not accept their union because they hail from diverse religious backgrounds. They go to the local court, and the judge gives them a week of safety at the District Safe House.

Given the title, one could expect the story to revolve upon the events at the “District Safe House.” This location is also called the “Love Hostel” because it shelters a large number of other couples in a similar situation.

However, the writers produce a plainly conventional and straightforward screenplay that tells a detached story about two characters on the run. The tale unfolds in a detached way, with the vicious mercenary Dagar (Bobby Deol) hell-bent on destroying individuals who do not follow social norms, driven by a personal agenda.

‘Love Hostel’ has a more immediate execution than ‘Gurgaon,’ which makes its relentless bloodshed more dramatic, at least at first. However, as the body count grows and the blood spray becomes more intense, you become numb. The fact that Dagar has a scar on his soul is revealed far too late: perhaps we should have learned what motivates him to his violent crimes a little earlier. Also, even though Deol has nailed his Dagar, the gaps between his starry persona, which we’ve seen in countless close-ups, and his Dagar aren’t totally bridged.

The leads of the movie, Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra are both excellent and flawless in their part. Massey isn’t surprising because he’s demonstrated how much he can sink into his characters; nevertheless, Malhotra, who’s been inconsistent, is. Her Jyoti is spot on: she jumps directly into her role and doesn’t let up until the very end.

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