Synopsis – Follows a matchmaker who believes marriage is for everyone except herself, and a successful divorce lawyer with a secret, who cross paths, and explores if opposites coexist or attract.
My Take – Considering Shashanka Ghosh had directed Khoobsurat (2014) and Veere Di Wedding (2018), his latest, a Netflix release, seemed ready to complete his trifecta of successful stories. With a fresh pair in the form of Riteish Deshmukh and Tamanna Bhatia, and a fresh subject in hand, the film looked like the right one to breath fresh air to the dying genre.
Alas, if only it possessed a technique for fresh storytelling too, as the resulting film is not only agonizingly boring but hardly manages to keep you glued to the screen. Written by Rajat Aroraa (Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, The Dirty Picture), a story about a matchmaker and a divorce lawyer who have extremely opposite opinions about relationships sharing a workspace is an idea that has the potential to create a unique conflict.
However, the film serves neither the idea nor the promise of a premise and ends up being emotionally flat and forcefully funny, instead choosing to be an uninspired take on the cliched opposites-attracted-to-each-other theme that plays so safe that it forgets to add something of its own.
Yes, the lead pair seem to be doing their very best but, saddled with a patchy screenplay that swims in shallow waters, their efforts to liven up the proceedings fail to make a meaningful difference on how the film actually ends up being.
The story follows Kosty Chougule (Riteish Deshmukh) and Dr. Nirali Vora (Tamannaah Bhatia). While Kosty is a divorce lawyer, and an expert one, who is a happy dividing couple as per their own wishes, Nirali is a former psychologist, who has now turned matchmaker and taken over the matrimonial business previously run by her mother, Kiran (Poonam Dhillon). And when the two happen to get an office next to each other in a shared work space, the two immediately end up at loggerheads.
Not just because their professions are crossed, but also because their thoughts on love, marriage, and relationships differ. With Kosty’s troubled separation with his wife, Runjhun (Bidita Bag), still bearing hard on his in mind, and Nirali still struggling to move on from her last relationship. How these two diametrically opposite people finally find themselves together forms the crux of the story.
Right from the beginning, the film swings between the vacuous to the odious in search of a sweet spot. But without any luck. The film tries to string instances like this together to make us prepared to witness sudden bouts of attraction between the characters. But it falls flat on the viewers to root for their romance. We never get to understand, feel, or see why they fall for each other.
The film volunteers a lot of information about the two principal characters and yet does not get us invested in their fate. Here, director Shashanka Ghosh has a deceptively languid approach to storytelling. His film has ideas, but no immediacy or urgency about it. Even its feuds fall flat, its exaggerations flatter to deceive. Kosty’s compulsiveness could have been the source of humor, and in the hands of someone as accomplished as Deshmukh, but instead it is relegated to confused flashbacks that his wife has, while on the cusp of divorce.
Plus, there are some truly bizarre bits in the film. Nirali’s spiritual exercises aimed at getting couples together, are enacted by some of the most disinterested, clueless extras you will see in cinema this year. There could have been a thing or two here about how high society manufactures romance but all of that is lost in the mushy quest for romantic ideals. Kosty’s work, on the other hand, feels far more modest but it is rarely examined beyond his principal position as the argument against Nirali’s.
In fact, most of this film is a reminder that someone better could have cooked something far more enjoyable and superior to what has eventually been put together. It’s neither here nor there, really and it is just one of the many problems with a film that can often seem to dragged beyond the finish line.
Performance wise, Riteish Deshmukh is pleasant. Though he has well proven his natural talent for pulling off caricature-style comedy, here, he gets to play a more somber character comparatively. Tamannaah Bhatia looks stunning and plays a very relatable role, which pulls it off with ease. In supporting roles, Kusha Kapila, Poonam Dhillon, Bidita Bag, Prithviraj Sarnaik, Heli Vyas, and Raghav Agarwal are decent. On the whole, ‘Plan A Plan B’ is a tepid rom-com that is both boring and predictable.
Directed – Shashanka Ghosh
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 105 minutes