In a city as big and crowded as Mumbai, owning a big house is not the easiest thing to imagine. This is exactly what forms the heart and soul of Love per Square Foot, a light-hearted rom-com set in the city of Mumbai. The film tells the story of Sanjay Chaturvedi and Karina D’Souza. Both the principal characters aspire to buy a house of their own. Produced by Ronnie Screwvala and directed by Anand Tiwari, the film is India’s first mainstream feature film to be available online across 150 countries.
The film tells the story of Karina D’Souza (Angira Dhar) and Sanjay Chaturvedi (Vicky Kaushal). Both of them work at the same bank. A chance encounter between the two at a colleague’s wedding makes it clear within the first 10 minutes of the movie’s runtime that both of them would end up together. Citing financial limitations, Sanjay’s application for a housing loan is rejected by Karina. Sanjay gets upset but later apologizes to Karina. Sanjay is romantically involved with her boss whereas Karina’s Partner is Samuel ( Kunaal Roy Kapur). Both Sanjay and Karina want to buy a house but their respective partners do not seem enthusiastic about the idea.
It is here that both of them decide to forge a marriage (a partnership of sorts) to apply for the house under a housing scheme. Things turn murky when Sanjay goes to his boss’ house in order to get his hands on the money for the deposit and ends up bedding her.
Story and Script:
The film’s writers Anand Tiwari, Sumeet Vyas, and Asif Ali Beg have got their story just about in the right place. By stitching a love story set against the backdrop of housing crisis in the country’s financial capital the writers have given us a fresh angle to look at love stories. The story is nothing but your typical rom-com served with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mumbai’s housing crisis has its share of screen space as well. Sanjay and Karina are shown living with their families in rented flats that are dingy and crowded, with the plaster falling off the walls quite frequently. The fact that both the protagonists come from different religious backgrounds has also been showcased through a lens of comedy, where the girl loves eating fish whereas the boy, being a Hindu, loves eating Paneer.
All in all, the story has its heart in the right place but a majority of the scenes are quite predictable. The thing that keeps the story together is that it keeps things simple and believable. Everything portrayed is closer to reality. That is exactly what works well for the film.
Talking of performances, both Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar deliver convincing performances. The chemistry between the two is simple, believable, and sweet. Also, Kaushal’s comic timing works well. Both the protagonists don’t try too hard to make things happen. Supriya Pathak and Ratna Pathak Shah, the two Bollywood veterans are seen sharing screen space for the first time. Their performances are as believable and straightforward as ever. Both of them succeed effortlessly in their bid to showcase the hardships they are going through while living in ramshackle houses. Arunoday Singh appears in a cameo and doesn’t have much to work with. He’s shown flaunting his biceps and abs and that’s about it. Ragubhir Yadav, who plays Kaushal’s father is also quite convincing as a train announcer nearing retirement. Kunaal Roy Kapur plays a devoted but dominating boyfriend who wants to marry Karina.
The music’s fine but the songs just end up stretching the film’s runtime. These could have been removed from the screenplay in order to make it a bit tighter and engaging.
Anand Tiwari’s direction gives you a fresher angle to look at love stories. He has skilfully showcased the aspirations of contemporary urban youth i.e. to own a house and find true love. His love for the city of Mumbai is clearly visible in the film. Right from Mumbai ki local to the rooftop cafe in Colaba, everything showcased in the film showcases the true essence of Mumbai. The direction is reasonably good primarily because the director has a clear blueprint in mind. The thing that plays a bit of a spoilsport is the film’s 134-minute-long runtime.
Love per Square Foot is your typical modern-day rom-com set in a big city. It is meant for a typical Indian viewer, craving for some light-hearted comic moments and a sweet and simple love story.
Overall Rating: ***/5