Magic exists in every moment of life and so does love- this was the message that we think led to Megha Ramaswamy’s What Are The Odds? But it must have totally looked fantabulous on paper, ’cause on screen the plot lacks the steam it needs to make it…worthwhile and apart from a few visual victories, it fails to bring alive the whimsy and magic it sorely needed to survive. What makes it more disappointing is the fact that What Are The Odds? comes from the creative pen of Megha Ramaswamy, the writer of 2011’s slick black comedy thriller, Shaitan, with Little Things franchise’s Shimit Amin and Dhruv Sehgal as creative producers.
What Are The Odds? focuses on the story of two school students, Vivek (Yashaswini Dayama) and Ashwin (Karanvir Malhotra)- two people who couldn’t be more different from each other. While Ashwin is a star student and the school head boy, Vivek (yep, she is a girl) has her head in the clouds, is a back-bencher, and has too many imaginary wanderings to let the real world bother her. So, when the exams arrive, she concocts a plan to get out of it but ends up getting Ashwin ousted from the exam too.
It’s when they escape school that their real adventure begins and by “adventure” they mean a goldfish talking in Jugal Hansraj’s voice, a weird group of street performers, them saving a man attempting suicide who in reality was doing ‘su-su,’ a man disguised as a tree running after them, and an artist summing up what What Are The Odds? truly feels like- “sometimes art is pain”. They also visit a bar named Baar Bar, know about each other’s partners, and, wait for it, get thrown into prison for freeing caged birds and animals.
Some may find these weird aspects a tad bit endearing or interesting even, but debarring these few whimsical oddities, What Are The Odds? has little to offer and even those too are just a bunch of badly recycled Wes Anderson dramas. There are too many loose ends for it to become a plausible plot and whatever quirky aspects Ramaswamy thinks she added as part of her rich imagination just contribute to the shaky direction of the story.
One could even find solace in the fact that “Oh, maybe, being all weird and quirky is What Are The Odds?’s aim but no. It doesn’t even stick to that theme- it embraces logic whenever it feels like it and ditches sanity like the plague when it sees fit. It was the other cinematic elements that tried to balance out aimless direction and writing- the background score, cinematography, editing, etc.
There are points in the film that will make you yearn for all the potential it had to be a perfect coming-of-age film. But it all lays to waste as everyone and everything, from Yashaswini and Karanvir Malhotra’s passionate attempts to lift the story to Abhay Deol and Manu Rishi Chadha’s underutilization, is primarily used only to bring alive Ramaswamy’s eccentric imagination. As the film drags itself to its conclusion, one can’t help but shake their head in disappointment at all the potential What Are The Odds? had, but couldn’t grab as it failed to embrace the very magic it intended to spread.