'Love, Bites' Review: A compelling take on masculine jealousy

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

'Love, Bites' is a short film directed by filmmaker-trainer Ajay Govind whose debut feature film as a writer-director 'After the Third Bell' released in theatres across 8 cities in 2014. He subsequently line produced Shab, directed by Onir. Love, Bites - a romantic drama about an artist named Karthik and a scientist named Meghna - stars Satyajeet Dubey and Harleen Sethi in the lead roles. Produced under the banner of Sisyphus Rocks Films, 'Love, Bites' costars Ajay Shankar, Surbhi Pathania, and Aparajita Dey. 

The theme central to 'Love, Bites' is not love or lust but masculine jealousy. Here's a theme that's as old as humanity itself. Of course, there are ample examples in literature: whether we look upon Greek tragedies or plays of Shakespeare or epics like Mahabharata and Iliad or works of Dostoevsky. As far as cinema is concerned, the best example of masculine jealousy is Spanish master filmmaker Luis Bunuel's 'El' (1953). There is a powerful sequence in the noted American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's swansong 'Eyes Wide Shut' (1999) wherein a wife tells her husband about her one-time crush - a naval officer for whom she almost abandoned him. The husband, a doctor, gets so disturbed by his wife's revelation that he starts imagining things about his wife's adventurous fling with the naval officer. The visions continue to haunt him whole night long as he struggles to come to terms with the reality. Recently an episode of the British series Black Mirror titled 'The Entire History of You' revisited the theme. Set in an alternative reality where people are able to record everything they do, see, or hear, which can later be played back as memories in front of their eyes or on a screen. The story revolves around a jealous husband who starts suspecting that his wife might be having an affair. Using the aforementioned technology as an aid, he tries to dig deep, only to ruin his personal life forever.
On the sets of Love, Bites
'Love, Bites' offers a compelling take on this evergreen theme. The film also cheekily touches upon the science of hickeys aka love bites. Just like the 'grains' in the Black Mirror episode, the hickeys become a bridge of memory that leads Karthik to an old sexual encounter between Megha and her boyfriend at college. 

In 'Love, Bites', Ajay Govind constructs a tantalizing world of love, betrayal, insecurity, and jealousy. And he does it much better than what most Indian filmmakers have managed (while dealing with similar themes) in the recent times. How the film cleverly connects the theme of masculine jealousy with love bites and memory is quite commendable. Also, the convincing performances of the film's leads add great credibility to the movie. The film is highly recommended for those in love or those who intend to fall in love. But make sure that you watch it till the very last frame, until the end credits stop rolling. 

Love, bites - song promo from Ajay Govind on Vimeo.

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