Film: "Hate Story IV"; Director: Vishal Pandya; Cast: Urvashi Rautela, Vivan Bhatena, Karan Wahi, Ihana Dhillon and Gulshan Grover; Rating: ***
For a change, this fourth edition of "Hate Story" series is a pleasant surprise. It is not a noir film but it certainly has a femme fatale who is impressive and who holds her own against characters that are bad.
Keeping with the theme of the franchise, revenge remains the core issue at the heart of this tale too. And there is ample skin show and frothy music which unfortunately does nothing to propel the narrative.
The story by Sameer Arora revolves around business tycoon Vikram Khurana's two sons Aryan (Vivan Bhatena) and Rajvir (Karan Wahi). While Aryan is happily married to Rishma (Ihana Dhillon), Rajvir is a flirt whose girlfriends don't last for over six months.
Rajvir stumbles upon Tasha (Urvashi Rautela) after he is assigned to find a fresh face to model for their company with the instruction, "Aisa chehra jo madhosh bhi kare aur hosh bhi uda de".
Tasha is a dancer at a local club who aspires to be a model. And she certainly fits the bill for not only does Rajvir fall for her, but also his older brother Aryan and their father Vikram (Gulshan Grover) -- who too has a roving eye but keeps it in check owing to his forthcoming mayoral elections -- find her very attractive.
While Rajvir genuinely falls in love with Tasha, Aryan hoodwinks his brother to get closer to her. But what it results in is a web of manipulation, doubt, blackmail and ultimately revenge.
The plot, narrated in a non-linear manner, is skilfully crafted with a taut and neat screenplay. The first half of the film is racy and keeps you hooked and the second half gets into a preachy tone.
The dynamics between the actors are rock solid. With her oomph and floss, Urvashi Rautela as the femme fatale Tasha is impressive. She is the star attraction of the film.
Of the two male leads, neither Vivan Bhatena nor Karan Wahi have the on-screen charisma to counter-balance Urvashi. They deliver, but perfunctorily.
Gulshan, on the other hand, is slack and wasted in a stereotypical role.
The production quality of the film is superior and the visuals by cinematographer Sunita Radia are appealing. While the locales and scenes are matter-of-factly layered, the songs are cut like music videos. None of the songs stand out.
Overall, "Hate Story IV" is an engrossing tale despite its predictability.