By Simran Kaur Sidana (Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Love Per Square Foot is a love by chance; a love that we know of as fate; a rare love; and sadly still an unrealistic love. No matter how much closer to reality the plot is, it is still unreal. Sanjay Chaturvedi and Kareena D’Souza, two people with the exact same dream and with an equally strong need for companionship meet and love happens. (By the way, they meet in the infamous breeding month of February).
A quick marriage would mean it is sealed. That is, the dream doesn’t change and the need for companionship doesn’t vary. How often does that happen? One might ask and say the fate played its part. Another question to ask is, to how many does that happen? The answer to that is none. And the unrealism hits. Does your dream never change? And when two people under the same roof live with two different dreams, does the need for companionship doesn’t vary? And when it varies, who wins- the dream or the need for companionship? Sanjay is a limitless dreamer. When he dreams, he dreams for the top floor.
“Sapne toh khul kr dekh lo, middle class” (Let’s dream big, middle-class). Kareena dreams of a house but has fences on her imagination – “Ground floor bhi toh ho skta hai?” (What if we get a ground floor?) – To not even dream of what might never be true. The fate playing its part, they do get their dream house on top floor in the lottery.
The movie is a beautiful and optimistic blend of different and often contrasting cultures and classes that reside in Mumbai. The Hindu parents of Sanjay have nothing in common with the Christian culture that Kareena belongs to. Yet, both their parents work out things with each other not by opposing but by smoothly understanding. The part where your Indian middle class family might even force you to change your pants on road is depicted as honestly as it is in reality. The important thing that the movie does not achieve is a realistic discussion on need for companionship.
When Sanjay is not able to articulate his feelings, the narrative of ‘I love you and wish to spend my whole life with you’ takes over. The past and present lapse and we continue to stray with the dilemma of our personal, real and universal dilemma of companionship. The plot changes over time, over centuries. But ends with a marriage or a kiss that promises a forever. Rashi, Sanjay’s boss, who faces this dilemma of companionship is a comic character that is subject to our mockery.
The blurry definition of love that the youth in India faces today more than ever is not properly addressed or reflected in this otherwise seemingly progressive movie being the first Netflix release of an original Indian production, the movie was expected to break some bars. But sadly, Love Per Square Foot is another movie tossed in the bucket of feel-good movies that one can watch when one feels low. The movie has a lot of good humour too. And it does the job of giving you a hangover of cheerfulness, just like any other rom-com.