Planet Bollywood
Love Per Square Foot
Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
Director: Anand Tiwari
Starring: Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar
Music: Sohail Sen
Lyrics: Abhishek Dhusia, Sahir Nawab and Sumeet Suvarna (Mumbai’s Finest), Anand Tiwari
Film Released on: 14 February 2018
Reviewed by: Anish Mohanty  - Rating: 6.0 / 10
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If not for Kunal Kohli's much delayed 'Phir Se' making an unannounced arrival on Netflix, 'Love Per Square Foot', directed by noted actor Anand Tiwari, would have been the first Hindi film to release on the digital streaming platform. The film, starring Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar in lead roles, is also the first film to have been produced by veteran Ronnie Screwvala's newly formed production banner RSVP Films.

Sanjay Chaturvedi (Vicky Kaushal), son of a soon-to-be-retired railway manager (Raghuvir Yadav) and a homemaker (Supriya Pathak Kapur), has spent all his life living in cramped government quarters and is determined to buy a house of his own in Mumbai soon. Karina D'Souza (Angira Dhar), living with her mom (Ratna Pathak Shah) in a tattered home and dealing with a sweet but over-possessive boyfriend (Kunaal Roy Kapur), too harbours the dream of having her home in the city. Sanjay and Karina bump into each other at a gathering and hatch a plan to utilise a scheme for couples that would enable them to get a home loan easily and buy the home of their dreams. They decide to act as a couple and avail the offer.

Writer and director wins half the battle by setting the film in Mumbai, a city which competes with global cites for highest property rates. It is a city where crores of people die dreaming of buying a home because something as basic as a one BHK apartment could cost them, well, crores. Because of the exorbitantly priced properties in the city, buying a house remains a distant dream for many. As somebody who lives in this city, I could relate to the characters played by Kaushal and Dhar on so many levels. They represent the seemingly unrealistic dream of several middle-class working professionals in the city who dream of buying a house in Mumbai while they are in their 20s. At two hours and thirteen minutes, the film seems a tad long for the story it wants to tell. One understand that Anand tries to encapsulate multiple themes in the narrative, including the hurdles faced by young, modern couples in trying to persuade their parents into agreeing for a cross-cultural alliance but there are a bunch of scenes that should have trimmed or done away with.

The opening credit sequence, with the song "Yatri Kripya Dhyaan De" is imaginatively filmed, and reflects a part of the ethos one associates with Mumbai. Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, the film trudges along smoothly and makes for a fun watch. Much of that credit must go to the effective performances by the actors. Right from the leads to Gopal Dutt, who pitches in with a memorable cameo as the Hindu priest, every actor puts his or her best foot forward. Some of the dialogues (Anand Tiwari) are quite funny; Tiwari uses some stereotypes associate with North Indian and Christian families uses them smartly to pen down some risible scenes. The songs (Sohail Sen) have been used well in the narrative.

There was a phase in the early 90s when some films (e.g, 'Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayi', 'Humko Ishq Ne Maara') were made exclusively for the small screen. For some reason, the phase did not last for a long time but it seems the trend is back in a new avatar. While films should be, ideally, experienced on the big screen before they are seen on any other platform, it is not a bad idea to release films, which may not be feasible at the box-office, on digital platforms. That will ensure a larger viewership for them.

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