Bunty – well, we will get to that later!
Bubbly, however is Vivek. The leading lady of this tale. Yes, that is right, Vivek is a ‘SHE’. And we have this freewheeling, socially awkward schoolgirl deciding to bunk her scholarship exam when we first meet her. However, her misadventures also cost the head boy Ashwin (Karanvir) to miss his exam as well.
And that is just about it. The rest of the movie is just an unusual day these two odd-ball duo have as they end up together dealing with booze, deaths, crushes, daddy issues, police arrests. All in a day.
Directed by debutant Megha Ramaswamy, What are the Odds? is a sort of hat tip to the charm of classic like The Breakfast Club. Here the incident brings together two strangers, Vivek and Ashwin aka Achhu and puts them into some wacky situations together. The movie rides mainly on the petite shoulders of Yashaswini Dayama, who is an absolute joy to watch here and one of the biggest factors why I would recommend this movie. She brings a certain believability to all the eccentricities of the character. Supporting her in this Karanvir Malhotra (earlier seen in the series Selection Day) who tries to be the yin to Yashaswini’s yang.
Abhay Deol who is also a co-producer on this along with Shimit Amin, narrates and stars in this movie as a musician mentor to Vivek, and even pitches in some singing as well. Monica Dogra, Priyanka Bose, Manu Rishi Chadha, Rajshri Deshpande are some of the other names putting in cameos, along with veteran Sulbha Arya who comes in as the grandmother, rocking it in red suit dancing on the streets.
Then there is also an odd choice – Jugal Hansraj featuring as the voice of Bunty. Bunty who? Well, it is none other than Vivek’s talking fish who becomes an important character in this misadventure.
Megha’s attempt at constructing a whimsical, Wes Anderson-inspired, musical comedy, revolving around young adults, is commendable. I think the desi film scene could do with some, both in content and the style it tries to incorporate. Unfolding in chapters, it is told in a tone as daft and eccentric it can get. It also comes random as it can get.
However, must admit, not everything goes right for the movie. Some of the episodes and jokes work big time, while many falls flat on its face. At times, you wish scenes and characters led to something more concrete and not written off as just a joke. It is almost as the writers have a fear of committing to anything. Even the relationship between Val-Vivek plays merely at surface levels without getting a deeper exploration that it required.
And that is frustrating. Because you could see the potential here. And there is a lot going good for the movie too. There is some outstanding music from composer Sagar Desai with cast members pitching in their vocals. There is fantastic work behind the camera from Johan Heurlin Aidt (Delhi Crimes, Leila). Ditto for costumes. If only the writing was more focused and met with more wholesome results and made the ride much more worthwhile. Me think, it just needed to go all out with its lunacy. Just not ‘Wilde’ enough!
WHAT ARE THE ODDS? (Earlier simply titled, THE ODDS), is a light on the feet, quirky adventure that is an easy watch during this quarantine. Could have done with more madcap, and of course more of Abhay. But hey, at the end, it is one of the few movies, that I watched with a smile. And in these days of content, that is indeed a rare achievement.
Cast: Yashaswini Dayama, Karanvir Malhotra, Abhay Deol
Directed by Megha Ramaswamy
Streaming now on NETFLIX