LOVE is the romantic tale of two homosexuals set against the backdrop of a road trip. As NETFLIX has acquired the worldwide rights of LOEV, that has released on the same on 1st May, 2017, the makers have been receiving a lot of accolades for its touching subject from all over the world. Being director Sudhanshu Saria’s debut feature film, it explores the unspoken emotions of Jai (Shiv Pandit), an NRI corporate executive, and his music composer friend Sahil (the late Dhruv Ganesh), during their two-day getaway.
Sudhanshu had this constant fear of opposition throughout, while shooting the film, since homosexuality is still a taboo in India. He reveals,“I wanted to complete the project at any cost because I was certain that not many would attempt something like this. I was fortunate that Arfi Lamba and Katharina Suckale’s Bombay Berlin Film Production decided to back the film.”
He adds, “Honestly, I didn’t think we’d be able to finish the movie. We thought there would be some morchabazi. We are not powerful people. I am not Hansal Mehta and I don’t have Anurag Kashyap or Karan Johar to take up my battles. We were a 25-member team and we didn’t tell anyone what we were doing. In fact, I had told my crew members that we were shooting a Dil Chahta Hai kind of film about three friends. Barring the lead actors and a few others, nobody knew the real story.”
The truth was revealed after a kissing scene was shot with the male actors. Saria recalls, “When the initial shock wears down, you look at the characters for who they are and their ordeals and heartbreaks — their gender becomes irrelevant. I wanted my team to see the film for what it is instead of slapping a label on it.”
The actors’ reservations, the Loev director says, were justifiable as he was no Ang Lee making Brokeback Mountain. He adds, “They asked me how we’re going to shoot the intimate scenes and I told them, ‘If it’s kissing another man that’s bothering you, then you are worrying about the wrong thing. That’s the easiest part. You should be worrying about how you are going to embody your character, having never lived his life, hiding your sexual orientation’. We may all seem open-minded, but in reality, we are quite conscious.” The film draws references from the writer-director’s real heart-breaks. He explains, “I have experienced unrequited love. I believe that good art can only come from personal experience. If you’re not willing to get naked and share your vulnerable truths, you have no business being in the public sphere.”
Saria concludes, “I want to push this genre forward. Even in world cinema, most LGBTQ films are biopics that end in tragedy. I wanted to make a film on my experiences after coming to Mumbai. People were going about their lives, falling in love, having their hearts broken… I wanted to talk about their love, not their sexual orientation. Of course, the politics is unavoidable. I am happy that I have made a film whose poster features two men kissing each other — that is also love.”