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November 29, 2022
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Exclusive: Tamannaah Bhatia, Riteish Deshmukh on rom-coms, Plan A Plan B and more

There is something to be said about the popularity of the ‘opposites attract’ trope. It easily makes for the most engaging romantic narratives in film and TV. Pair that with an enemies-to-lovers arc and you have a formula that has been mined for decades, and quite successfully. That’s precisely what Plan A Plan B – starring Tamannaah Bhatia and Riteish Deshmukh attempts to do. The recently released rom-com revolves around a matchmaker and a divorce lawyer navigating love and relationships.

In an exclusive interview with Filmfare, the two opened up about sharing screen space, rom-coms and why we’re so obsessed with said rom-coms. 

The opposites attract and enemies to lovers tropes are so overdone and yet it never gets old. Why do you think that is? Riteish: Of course it’s overdone and people have made films like that often but what is new in our film and why one will enjoy any film like this one is the dynamics between the opposites and the worlds that they come from. There’s always one character who believes in love and one who doesn’t believe in love or one who talks too much and one who talks too less – whatever the dynamic may be, it’s very important that they stay relevant and connect with audiences. Only then will a film work. In this film, you have a matchmaker and a divorce lawyer. Their worlds collide and they both carry a certain baggage. She is refusing to move on while advocating for people to get together and the fact that he’s advocating for people to separate but he’s refusing to separate from his own wife. That is something that is wonderful. Tamannaah, your character is a matchmaker which is quite old-fashioned so is she relatable to you?

Tamannaah: Basically, she has inherited the whole matchmaking business from her mother (played by Poonam Dhillon). She’s a psychologist so her way of handling matchmaking is very different from the old-school way so she has all these tests. Her ways are more scientific and slightly different. Going back to the whole opposites attract thing – I’ve seen that dynamic in my own home. My parents are really different people but when I see them together there are certain basics that are very similar. I feel like even in the film I noticed that what these two characters are going through is similar. They are both stuck – he in his situation and me in mine. So what brings them together is actually the similarity and not differences. They basically don’t like each other. That’s what we’re trying to establish but most importantly, it’s a fun chill watch. There aren’t many rom-coms that I’ve seen in recent times on OTT platforms. There’s a wave of a lot of thrillers and dark movies which is great. That content is required but I feel because there’s such an influx of that, rom-coms are a fresh watch for people. And sometimes you just wanna eat lunch you know, so it’s a great companion for that time when you don’t want to emotionally trigger yourself. 

Riteish, you have a perfect relationship with your wife Genelia D’Souza. Where did you find the cynicism to play a divorce lawyer? Riteish: Yeah, imagine me talking about dating apps. I don’t know what dating apps are. But yeah, I think everyone has cynicism within themselves but they choose to be nicer people. I was recently talking to someone about my character in Ek Villain and comparing to see if it’s close to me. When I was shooting for Ek Villain, I thought, “Is it possible for me to kill someone?” And, of course, it is possible for anyone to harm anyone but our upbringing and our education teach us the differences between good and bad – the right things to do. So all I’m trying to say is that there is a moral compass within all of us and you choose where to go. When you talk about cynicism, I think we’re all capable of it and we choose to be nicer people, at least most of us. And my character in the film is one of them so it was fun to play this character.  What did you learn from sharing screen space with each other?  Riteish: I was just thinking, for an actor to have a co-star who is so competent, so good at everything be it comedy or romance or emotions, it not only makes your job easier but it also elevates the scene. So it’s really wonderful acting with Tamannaah.  Tamannaah: All my comic blessings I get from him so that I can play great comic characters all my life. I think Riteish doesn’t know this but I was inspired by him when we were working on another project back in the day. And I keep telling him that I always had it in me. Why am I inspired by him? Well, what I always noticed about people who are funny was that they had to put other people down to make themselves look funny. That’s why I didn’t want to be that, I didn’t like that you have to put someone down to crack a joke. But when I met Riteish I realised he’s one of the few people who are funny without really insulting anybody. I feel like that’s where I really get inspired and felt that it’s possible to not bash someone and make a joke. So I actually learnt that from him.  What makes or breaks a rom-com hero and heroine?  Riteish: Take any rom-com, the reason why you love it is that you find a hero or a heroine that you identify with and at the same time, aspire to be. I felt that when I first watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. I thought I wanted to be Raj. That’s why Shah Rukh Khan has always been an inspiration to me, as a person as well as an actor. Take, for example, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Shahid Kapoor from Jab We Met. Even in films like Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and every other Hollywood rom-com, you’ll find that their situations are unique. You suddenly feel that you want these two to get together because you feel the love. The feeling of love is what makes or breaks it. 

Tamannaah: I think it’s the script. That’s where it largely starts. That’s the fact of the matter. As an actor, you can elevate it. You can either add magic to it or it falls flat, depending on how good or bad the actor is. People keep asking more about chemistry but I feel it has to be on paper first. Once it’s on paper, to translate it, you need good actors who can pull it off. And yes, I’ve seen cinematic magic happen when great actors come together. The films Riteish mentioned are exactly my favourites too. So I second that. 

What is your process of picking scripts?  Riteish: I just feel that once someone narrates the story within the first 15 minutes you know whether you want to go ahead with it. But if after 15 mins, somewhere in the middle if you’re thinking “what’s gonna happen next, I’m eager to know.” At the end of it if you think it’s nice and sleep on it and wake up thinking about it. That’s my process, I read the script and I see how I feel about it after two days. So there has to be one thread apart from a good script that should excite you. That’s it, that’s the thing that gets me into a script. Then you figure out how it goes with the director and that’s how the journey begins.  Tamannaah: For me, teams really matter. I think the probability of making a good film is higher when you have better teams because I think films are teamwork. It’s not something only one person executes. So when there is a good team with the presence of a solid script that’s a good sign. I’m also someone who really listens to screenplays. If it doesn’t hook me in some way – sometimes a disruptive quality of a script can be engaging, sometimes the characterisation can be engaging, you never know. But I always look for that one hook that’s possibly gonna hook audiences. Eventually, for me, the teams matter most because I’ve seen that it makes a difference. 

Plan A Plan B is currently on OTT. 

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