Amrith Jayan and Babil Khan as Sid in ‘Friday Night Plan’ | Image Credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Is Farhan Akhtar growing nostalgic about Dil Chahta Hai, the last coming-of-age Mumbai film he directed in 2001? Some of his recent production picks certainly reflect that craving. Last year, I was mesmerized by his quirky Netflix production Always confused and longing for love, about a twenty-something virgin and his trashy talking toy. The series was not a success; I guess the fun but off-color humor drove some of its target audience away. As if to brag, Akhtar has now produced a Netflix movie Friday night plansis so shy and inoffensive that it could easily air on the Disney Channel.
Brothers Sid (Babil Khan), 18, and Adi (Amrith Jayan), 16, attend the same private school in Mumbai. Sid is a nerd, unpopular, clumsy – aside from the fact that he’s procrastinating on college applications, he has nothing in common with Miles Teller in The scene now. On the other hand, Adi is a typical movie character – the sassy brother who drives you crazy with unsolicited advice and encouragement. “You should totally ask her out,” he wisely advised his brother about a girl in his class. A similar opportunity arose when Sid unexpectedly scored in an important derby and was invited to an after-school ‘Friday Night’ party. Adi, too eager to interact with his cooler ‘seniors’, follows.
Friday Night Plan (Hindi, English)
Manager: Vatsal Neelakantan
cast: Babil Khan, Amrith Jayan, Juhi Chawla, Aadhya Anand, Medha Rana
Running time: 108 minutes
Plot: Siblings Sid and Adi, who attend the same school, had a good night while mending their thorny relationship in the process
With their mother (Juhi Chawla), a single father, on a business trip, Sid and Adi decide to go by car (never a good omen in teen comedies). One joke led to another, and before long, Adi was ‘inciting’ a khaki officer on duty. It was a moment, one of many, that made me wonder if Friday night plans has enough ignition for a run time of 108 minutes. “It was epic, man,” said one child, clearly having a memorable night of his life. Director Vatsal Neelakantan and co-screenwriter Sapan Verma are probably being right about the experiences of sheltered high school students, where the slightest act of protest or misbehavior can turn into a crime. . When the rich degenerate Shaytan(2011) takes off in a Hummer, the threat could be a prison sentence. Here, all Sid and Adi have to do is apologize and get their mother’s car back.
This safe, clean feeling never leaves the film. Sid’s bullying experiences at school were limited to verbal belittling and rude words. The school itself is one of the elite, with Macs, gyms, and personalized career advice for everyone. At the party, the kids played beer pong and cup flipping – instead of Uno or silly charades. Underage Adi is not allowed to drink alcohol (Neelkantan is wary about losing that 13+ rating). Emotions are also glossed over to avoid compromising the film’s ‘feel good’ brand. In the end, when Sid and Adi clashed and their dead father was mentioned, I expected a massacre. Instead, it was all resolved smoothly with a pillow fight.
Babil Khan had a haunting debut last year Qala, a highly stylized and esoteric film. That performance is impressive but sometimes it’s hard to judge the actors in a setting or world that’s so far from their own (Ranbir Kapoor was caught in Saawariya but really hit her stride with Wake up Sid ). Friday night plansIn this respect, this is a better test of Babil’s talent. Juhi Chawla plays a widowed single mother with the right mix of pathos and exasperation. I’d also like to see more of Amrith Jayan – if he’s not in a supporting role. Protagonist named Sid tends to thrive in Hindi films. Adis not so much.
Friday Night Plans is now streaming on Netflix