Synopsis – Two millennials get into a relationship where they are allowed to meet only on ‘Tuesdays & Fridays’.
My Take – Gone are the times when the Hindi film industry used to rely on the Romance genre to get the cash registers ringing. Now no amount of star presence, swift marketing and chart busting numbers or soothing melodies are considered enough to keep the numbers pouring following its opening day, that is provided the product is backed by a strong story-line.
A concept which vamooses away from the once popular escapism, to an extent, and deals with factors more rooted in reality. And as evident from the few successes the genre saw in the last decade (like Kabir Singh), the biggest change in the current trend saw the romantic pair deal more with psychological issues like indecisiveness, commitment phobia and trauma from a disturbed childhood, with simple old parental disapproval not even considered that big of an issue.
However, with staleness once again creeping into genre, as seen from the failure of last year’s Imtiaz Ali directed Love Aaj Kal, filmmakers are once again forced to be on the look for a new modern packaging, and who better to experiment on than a bunch of first timers.
Backed by T-Series and Sanjay Lee Bhansali, this latest romance on the block sees debutante filmmaker Taranveer Singh introduce a new concept for bi-weekly dating, and leaves it upon Anmol Thakeria Dhillon, son of renowned actress Poonam Dhillon and producer Ashok Thakeria, and Jhataleka Malhotra, Miss India International 2014, to shoulder the film, and make the concept and their characters plausible.
Unfortunately though, while the contemporary and breezy story line manages to engage, in part due to the confidence of the two newcomers, it also manages to fall into the exact clichés and redundancies it was supposedly trying to avoid. Obviously inspired by a few Hollywood counterparts, the film is just too besotted with the idea of delivering a new Bollywood romance to ever really say something worthy of its own. Leaving the film’s idea of attraction, romance, and conflict feeling stagnant and over the top at the same time.
The story follows Sia Malhotra (Jhataleka Malhotra), an ambitious upcoming lawyer, who finds herself emotionally challenged when she briefly dates and breaks up with Jatin Singh (Aashim Gulati), a popular Bollywood actor, despite formerly proclaiming that she doesn’t date her clients. An element she is forced to revisit when Sia is introduced to Varun Sarin (Anmol Dhillon), a recently turned best-selling author, who is visiting Mumbai from London, and has joined her clientele to seek help in working out the feature adaption rights for his book.
With sparks immediately flying between the two, especially when they begin spending more time together in London, as Sia is visiting the city to see her mother (Niki Aneja Walia) married off. However, like most millennial men, Varun has commitment issues as he believes all his relationships include an expiry date, and just doesn’t want to see Sia get hurt. But Sia has a plan, and offers to be romantic partners only on Tuesdays and Fridays of the week, while they continue to remain friends on the other days. Though the scheme starts out to be beneficial it soon begins to hinder them equally as they begin to fall in love with each other, despite the rules they have set.
The concept is amusing with even an arbitrary ‘no sex till Date 3’ rule thrown in. Without a doubt this a brand new idea for a narrative and a relationship calendar that might encourage commitment-phobic youngsters to fall in love, like a three to six months’ probation period in a new job. But while director Taranveer Singh makes use of a super-chic and urbane canvas to form his unconventional story, he struggles to sustain it.
Though the first half of the film is refreshing, the second half is rather dull with too many songs drilled into the 106 minutes run time. With the shortened run time, too many characters and tracks find themselves scrambling for focus in a restricted runtime, which even sees a portion dedicated to Sia’s younger half-sister Tanya (Reem Shaikh) craving to lose her virginity on her 18th birthday, and a sub-plot involves a gay guy pretending to be straight. Even the backstory of Varun’s single mom (Anuradha Patel) which comes up at an intriguing point, ends up suffering a beat down.
Sure, it can be argued that lesser screen time was done in order to keep the focus on Sia and Varun’s fledgling love-story, but unfortunately, the constants breaks end up hampering that too. If his idea was to suggest the myriad ways in which millennial men and women, ensconced in a language of casual flings in the age of unlimited options self-sabotage their own romantic lives, then the film misses its intended target, as both Sia and Varun simply end up blaming their absent fathers for their psychological troubles and issues.
Yes, the film does keep you engaged even when it is being flaky and manages to provide some hilarious nods to Bollywood clichés, like the Jacuzzi scene, where Sia demonstrates how she hates the Shah Rukh Khan pose as it forces the traditionally dressed Indian heroine to take the extra effort to run towards her male savior. Plus in a particular song, the two end up dressing as Salman Khan‘s character from Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) and as Sridevi‘s character from Mr. India (1987). But the film’s most unforgivable shortcoming is its ear-piercing soundtrack auto-tuned by Tony Kakkar that mistakes music for just unbearable noise.
The performances are comparatively better as both Anmol Dhillon and Jhataleka Malhotra manage to be decent. Out of the two, Dhillon comparatively struggles during the emotional scenes, however, manages to pull off the maturity required for his character. Malhotra, is easily way more promising. Not only is she drop dead gorgeous, she carries herself throughout quite well. Her heartwarming scenes with the always brilliant Niki Aneja Walia being one of the highlights.
In smaller roles, Aashim Gulati, Zoa Morani, Reem Shaikh, Parvin Dabas, Anuradha Patel, Kamini Khanna and Parmeeth Sethi manage to shine through with her mere presence. On the whole, ‘Tuesdays and Fridays’ is an insipid romantic comedy which despite a unique concept ends up being a letdown.
Directed – Taranveer Singh
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 106 minutes