Death of Pyaar (2020) is a film which is very difficult to summarise due to the deliberately broad scope of its narrative, with elements of crime, family drama, mystery, romance and thriller all blending together to result in a rather unfocused, confusing final piece.
The plot centres around two brothers, Yash and Ansh, both played by the director and writer Mukesh Asopa, and their family as a sociopathic criminal targets them resulting in a murder investigation to discover the identity and intent of the killer. Yash is the charismatic, driven young lawyer and Ansh is his socially anxious and reclusive brother. The film explores how far people will go for those they love, with the title word ‘Pyaar’ meaning love in Hindi, relating to the dialogue which alternates between Hindi and English throughout.
The film has received praise for its music, editing and performances, winning forty eight awards to date, including Leading Actor at the Accolate Competition for Mukesh Asopa and Best Actor in a Drama at the Actors Awards in Los Angeles. Charles Ross and Asopa are also award winning film directors, with the latter known for defying genre conventions and presenting compelling character based stories. This film certainly follows this formula with a Bollywood style to this American made movie, incorporating a range of different genres and themes.
David Nguyen’s cinematography is a little inconsistent, with an opening flashback to the family’s past presented in black and white and a later flashback between Ansh and his girlfriend (Johnson) shot in colour. Although these may have been stylistic choices to enhance the narrative (without revealing any spoilers!), it does appear a strange choice on the surface.
The film is directed well, however, with a variety of dynamic shots and a consistently engaging pace delivered throughout. Sequences are well constructed, but most rely on exposition and generic dialogue in solving the murder mystery, with little character development given to the large ensemble cast. It is an ambitious story, with Asopa admirably taking on many major roles for the film, yet the large scope results in the narrative unfortunately lacking any depth and focus on the characters to make us really care about what is happening. There is one particular sequence involving a romanticised dramatic slow motion account of a character’s memories of another who was close to him, which appears out of place as a music video in the middle of a drama-crime based story. The film is also jarring in its rapid and sharp switching between dialogue spoken in the Hindi and English language, resulting in a need to intensely concentrate all the time to avoid missing any important plot beats and the choice to do this does seem rather unclear.
Although the film suffers from a bland narrative and underdeveloped shallow characters for the most part, Mukesh’s performance as the two brothers is a positive highlight that certainly deserves praise. He plays two people with different characteristics, with Yash being self-assured and confident and Ansh starting off as a sensitive young man with unpredictable emotions. Mukesh delivers a strong, effective performance for both roles, believably embodying these contrasting personalities well.
Death of Pyaar is a valiant and admirable effort by filmmakers who clearly have a passion to tell interesting character based drama stories, however, the film is unfortunately chaotic and riddled with inconsistencies in its presentation. Although led by a strong performance from Mukesh Asopa, the end result is overall shallow and lacklustre.
Depth of Pyaar (2020) Film Trailer: