Movie Review: Love Per Square Foot (2018)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Love Per Square Foot on Netflix
Buy the soundtrack at iTunes

Writer-director Anand Tiwari’s debut feature film Love Per Square Foot shows a lot of promise. Drawing from his own acting experience, Tiwari coaxes charming performances from his talented cast.

Two young strangers in Mumbai long for homes of their own. IT guy Sanjay (Vicky Kaushal) is tired of living with his fussy parents, Lata (Supriya Pathak) and Bhaskar (Raghuvir Yadav). Loan officer Karina (Angira Dhar) wants financial independence, a feat her mother Blossom (Ratna Pathak Shah) never quite achieved.

Sanjay is being strung along by his sexy boss, Rashi (Alankrita Sahai), and Karina is dating Sam (Kunaal Roy Kapur), a nice guy she likes but doesn’t love. When Sanjay and Karina hit it off at a mutual friend’s wedding, they realize that they can’t achieve their dreams if they stay with their current partners.

In order to take advantage of a government-sponsored housing program for newlyweds, Sanjay and Karina decide to apply together. They only have to get married if they win an apartment via a lottery draw, and even then, their arrangement is based on business rather than affection. They’ll split everything 50-50, from the costs of owning the apartment right down to household chores. That they start to fall in love with each other during the process is just a bonus.

The story takes its time establishing the relationship between Sanjay and Karina, which is great because Kaushal and Dhar are adorable together. Fresh off of his chilling turn as a crooked cop in Raman Raghav 2.0, Kaushal transitions seamlessly into an ideal romantic leading man. Dhar is effortlessly likeable and cute in her first film role.

Tiwari’s storytelling style is concise, with characters resolving problems that would normally stretch over several scenes with just a sentence or two. It’s refreshing, but it also creates the need to continually manufacture new conflicts in order to keep the story going. Problems aren’t born out of well-integrated subplots but rather spontaneously generate, and the story drags.

The two ex-lovers are one well Tiwari returns to, with Rashi’s demands on Sanjay’s attention becoming increasingly outlandish and less believable. As a character, Rashi is one-note, which is too bad because Sahai shows some charisma in her first film role. Kapur’s Sam has fewer scenes, but the actor makes the most of them.

Tiwari relies even more heavily on the main characters’ parents to complicate matters, chiefly on the grounds of religious objections to the union. Sanjay is Hindu and Karina is Christian, though neither seems especially devout. The sudden parental religious objections feel obligatory — as though one can’t make a Bollywood romantic comedy without them — and they don’t easily fit with the central modern love story. Despite having wonderful actors in the roles, all of the parents are unfunny caricatures.

The rookie writer-director must perfect his story crafting, but overall, Love Per Square Foot is a fine debut — not just for Anand Tiwari but for Angira Dhar as well.



3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Love Per Square Foot (2018)

  1. Prem

    Hi Kathy! Always enjoy reading your reviews. I enjoyed the movie, a nice rom-com a bit over the top at times but enjoyable. In regards to your commentary on the parents and religion conflict, I thought I would share this story with you. Usually here is USA when two Indians get married who are different religions it is the brides religion that dictates what religion the marriage ceremony is. Recently I attended a wedding where the brides religion wedding ceremony was performed and immediately after the grooms religion wedding ceremony was also done. Most everyone remarked that either the grooms parents had insisted that this be done or the groom himself. It caused a lot talk that day not only because it is usually never done and it made for a very long day.

    I spent the first part of this movie trying to figure where I had seen Angira Dhar before. I first saw her on a you tube web series called Bang Baaja Baaraat. It is also stars Ali Fazal from Victoria and Abdul. Check it out when you get a chance.

    1. Kathy

      I had no idea about that wedding tradition in the US, Prem. Thanks for sharing! I can see how the wedding you attended would’ve sparked a lot of of gossip — and why all the family members in the movie were in such a tizzy! As for Bang Baaja Baaraat, it was also directed by Anand Tiwari. Their experience working together on that series must be why Angira seemed so comfortable in the movie.

  2. Pingback: 2018 Access Bollywood Wrap-Up | Access Bollywood

Leave a Reply