In the picture

October 09, 2022

When you want to forego plans A and B, and start looking for plan C, it’s time to turn the Netflix off.

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Plan A Plan B☆☆

Starring: Ritiesh Deshmukh, Tamannaah Bhatia, Kusha Kapila & Poonam Dhillon

Directed by: Shashanka Ghosh

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etflix has the market cornered on easy movies. Easy watches you know you won’t have to invest too much of yourself in. 2018’s Set It Up, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler’s Murder Mystery, and Rebel-Wilson-starrer Senior Year are all movies you can turn on and watch during the best and worst of times. Whatever you might be feeling at the moment, the film just won’t make it worse. Or better. Or impact you in any way. But these are the movies you will turn to right after work, when all you want to do is stare at a screen and also maybe be mildly engaged and amused.

Netflix also has managed to break the formula to curating good Indian television for every preference. From Sacred Games to The Fabulous Lives Of Bollywood Wives, there’s something for everyone there, and the content has done well.

But somehow, everyone, including the cast and crew, the producers, Netflix India, the muses who whispered this sweet little tale in Rajat Arora’s ear (Bluffmaster, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai), the young (too young, these friendships are being seriously reconsidered atm) friends who mentioned the film, have come together to fail the world of entertainment at large.

You know right off the bat what shenanigans might ensue when a matchmaker and divorce lawyer find themselves working in the same building, on the same floor, right across from each other. Him: heartbroken and jaded. Her: heartbroken perma-widow, but ready to find love for others. Poonam Dhillon: wasted. Us: hitting the forward button every other minute.

Look, the premise of this film is really good and fun. You know there’s a guaranteed happily ever after, and nothing and no one in this production will be too complex. We go in expecting nothing but fluff. But fluff too, has to have some substance to be good. And again, this is a story that could have had more twists and turns, perhaps better dialogue, maybe tighter direction. But Plan A Plan B is more like everyone was asked to write their ideas on little chits, throw them in a jar with glitter, shake the jar and then toss it on the floor. Voila. Movie made.

Ritiesh Deshmukh as Kaustubh Chougule is alright, and Tamannaah Bhatia’s Nirali Vora is adequate. The plot isn’t weak, but it’s poorly woven together. Lots of great hair and makeup lewks and pretty people aren’t going to make a film work.

A 60-year-old mother of the female lead being completely ditzy and telling her daughter, “Kisi se sex karle,” to get over a former beau is always nice to watch in the onscreen desi parent-and-child dynamic, but why cast someone like Poonam Dhillon and just have her pop up every now and again to say increasingly trite things? Why hire comedian Kusha Kapila and waste her in a nothing role? Why have an 8-year-old say atrociously wise but douchy things? Come on, Plan A Plan B guys, you are killing the people who were promised a light romcom, but got something that wasn’t a rom or com, or light.

We have a similar-ish female lead in Masaba Masaba, who is single after a long time, trying to find her bearings, and her mother, aging and dealing with that, but leaving aside the fact that both Masaba and Neena Gupta are solid actors, the storylines for every episode, no matter how frivolous, are well-written and directed. No such luck with Plan A Plan B.

Also, a word on the lead pair’s chemistry: there is none. When you’re watching a couple finally get together and thinking, oh dear god please don’t make out again, someone’s doing something wrong.

And finally, you know what we should’ve done? Watched Indian Matchmaking again.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only *** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection



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