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Plan A Plan B Movie Review: A lousy film that barely makes it worth watching

Neither does this intended romantic comedy have any soul to carry, nor is it a film that employs effective storytelling methods to keep you invested

Published: 01st October 2022

There are films that demand your attention throughout their runtime, and then there are ones that can keep you engaged in parts. But Netflix’s recent Hindi feature Plan A Plan B (PAPB) does not fall under either of the categories. Neither does this intended romantic comedy have any soul to carry, nor is it a film that employs effective storytelling methods to keep you invested. In fact, you need to have a plan B, when most certainly plan A to watch the film is bound to leave you utterly disappointed.

PAPB is about an uptight, OCD-struck divorce lawyer Kaustubh Chougule (Riteish Deshmukh), who seems successful in his career. He shares his office next to Nirali Vora (Tamannaah Bhatia), someone who is reeling from heartbreak and has just taken over her mother’s matrimony business, Unique Matchmaking. While, Kaustubh, aka Kosty, argues to the family court Magistrate to grant a divorce to a north-south Indian couple on the abysmal grounds that they are “opposites” due to their geographical-cultural differences (some comparisons like one being ghee and other coconut oil, sari-salwar, Bhangra-Bharat Natyam, so on), Nirali has just inherited the matrimony business from her mother who is so attached to her job that she even bids adieu to her last bride client.

Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Tamannaah Bhatia, Bidita Bag, Kusha Kapila, Poonam Dhillon

Streamer: Netflix 

Writer: Rajat Arora

Director: Shashanka Ghosh

As Nirali assumes office next to Kosty, one expects a meet-cute situation and sparks to fly, right? Well, what the audience is put through is an effect of lousy writing that is ineffectively abled by depth-lacking characters and implausible romance.

Of course, I am not against the notion that some divorces can make you happy and relieve you from a doomed relationship. Unfortunately, PAPB, instead of exploring this significant arena, chooses to explore the everyday lives of Nirali and Kosty by staging poles opposite clientele. Perhaps, through this, the audiences have to understand that the lead pair is meeting cutely daily.

PAPB does not have any high points, nor does it justify the professions of Kosty and Nirali. Apart from the fact that their jobs end up being detrimental to the other, there is no substance fleshed out. The story would have been the same even if we removed their professional background and made it about the two individuals with polarising tastes.

There is a brief appearance of Kosty’s wife Runjhun (Bidita Bag), who surprisingly calls him a “romantic” but is after him for divorce. Kosty refuses to give in as a way of wielding the power of leaving her running after him. And there is an instance where Kosty learns about the sharp and painful past of Nirali that she is coping with bowls of ice cream.

The film tries to carefully string instances like this together to give cues that each one is falling for the other subconsciously and make us prepared to witness the sudden bouts of attraction and love between each other. But it falls flat on the viewers to root for their romance. We never get to understand, feel, see, or even be spoon-fed why they fall for each other, other than the fact that they are leads of the film who are bound to end up together in this rom-com.

The lacklustre treatment of the characters and staging of their emotions are insufficient for the audience to understand where this story is going. For one, the film’s a little over its 100 minutes runtime, which may seem relieving to write off this as a quick watch, is deceiving, as the film drags itself. Tamannaah and Riteish try to save PAPB with their nonchalant presence, but even that does not save these poorly written, flat protagonists.

The film also leaves you pondering what it wants to discuss. Can love happen after heartbreak? Do opposites attract? Should there be a reason to fall for someone? But, the most important question the film leaves you with is, does it have its heart in the right place?

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