Plan A Plan B is a relaxed, feel-good watch

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Tamannaah Bhatia & Ritiesh Deshmukh in Netflix’s rom-com Plan A Plan B Photo: Publicis-Consultants-Asia

Rajat Arora, best known as the writer / co-writer of films as varied as the superb Bluffmaster! , the incisive The Dirty Picture and the intense Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, doubles up here as a producer as well. Known for his one-liners (which have been often forced in his last few movies, which did not do well!), he now tries his hand at romantic comedy, a fresh genre for him.

Thankfully, he does not have any typical one-liners, and takes advantage of the most audacious streaming platform to come up with loads of the F word, the Indian C word and a couple of double-meaning jokes.  None of these were frankly necessary, nor was that miniscule hint of a homosexual affinity, but then, that’s Netflix and the wannabe-global writers-filmmakers today!

The plot, despite being nothing novel, had potential for some decent comedy and Rajat succeeds in exploiting it to the extent of getting a little more than pass marks. Again, thanks to the OTT release, he keeps the goings-on classy and urbane, and we get a humor-laden film that is not uproariously funny, in the best traditions of Basu Chatterjee placed in a modern, bolder milieu!

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Briefly, Kosty a.k.a. Kaustubh Chougule (Riteish Deshmukh) is an attorney at law specializing in divorce. Though earning well, he has a skeleton in his closet: a separated wife, Runjhun (Bidita Bag), who wants to divorce him, but he does not want that! So we have a divorce attorney averse to his own!

On the same floor in a shared workspace is Nirali Vora (Tamannaah Bhatia), who is on a mission to unite couples as a matchmaker. She has inherited the ‘business’ from her almost-60 years-old mother, Kiran (Poonam Dhillon). She herself has yet to get over her boyfriend’s death a decade back.

Besides the directly antithetic nature of their respective businesses, negative sparks fly between Kosty (whom she nicknames “Caustic”!) and Nirali in their early encounters. However, he gets along like a breeze with Kiran, and being an expert dancer, begins to train her friends and her for a special occasion: her upcoming 60th birthday.

The ever-sparring Nirali and Kosty call it a truce for this occasion, and then the expected happens. But there are hurdles: both Kosty and Nirali cannot let go of the past. In fact, Nirali even tries to bring about a patch-up between Kosty and Runjhun.

Meanwhile, both have good friends (for Nirali it is an amazingly precocious young kid, Kabeer!) who try their best to work at their happiness. Kabeer (Prithviraj Sarnaik) persuades Kosty to help out while, Kosty’s besties, Girish (Raghav Aggarwal) and his wife, Preeti (Dilshad Patel) put in a word about him to Nirali! Both begin to understand each other, and they are already mutually attracted anyway!

Like Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II, Khoobsurat and Veere Di Wedding, Shashanka Ghosh’s sensibilities also do not accommodate hilarious humor but remains strictly within the limits of “sophistication”, albeit with some tinges of naughtiness here. In the process, a lot of the fun here is low-key but also quite intelligent.

Tamannaah Bhatia is going strong indeed. After last week’s Babli Bouncer in a role 180 degrees opposite to this character, she is a delight as an actor, and looks utterly gorgeous. Her eyes remain her tallest strengths in terms of the feelings she expresses through them.

Riteish Deshmukh, on the surface, looks and acts dull, but when we know his gregarious real-life and (usually) humorous reel-life persona, we will realize the effort he has put into his morose, grumpy, sad Kosty with a caustic tongue born out of circumstances. Poonam Dhillon is a delight as Kiran—she is not over-the-top but pitched perfectly right as a fun-loving widow who prefers to see the positive in everything and everybody. A neat performance comes from Kusha Kapila as Nirali’s friend, Seema, and another from Heli Vyas as Serena, who works for Kosty.

Prithviraj Sarnaik (The Kashmir Files) steals the show—he is all of 13! And Neeta Mohindra and Farida Venkateshwaran as Kiran’s besties are born naturals. A good word also is in order for Raghav Aggarwal and, especially, Dilshad Patel as Kosty’s closest buddies.

On the whole, the film may be far from a classic comedy but works as a feel-good, pleasurable and crisp watch from home.

Rating: ***

 

 

Netflix presents India Stories Media & Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. & Funk Your Blues Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s Plan A Plan B  Produced by: Rajat Arora, K.R. Harish & Trilok Malhotra Directed by: Shashanka Ghosh  Written by: Rajat Arora Music: Bann Chakraborty & Yug Bhusal  Starring: Riteish Deshmukh, Tamannaah Bhatia, Poonam Dhillon, Kusha Kapila, Raghav Aggarwal, Dilshad Patel, Heli Vyas, Bidita Bag, Prithviraj Uday Sarnaik, Neeta Mohindra, Farida Venkateshwaran, Vishnu Sharma, Shubham Kashyap, Mannu Malik & others

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