Planet Bollywood
Phir Se
Producer: Shiv Sharma
Director: Ajay Bhuyan and Kunal Kohli
Starring: Kunal Kohli, Jennifer Winget and Sumona Chakravarthi
Music: Jeet Gannguli
Lyrics: Rashmi Virag
Reviewed by: Anish Mohanty  - Rating: 4.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5 / 10 (rated by 4 viewers)
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Kunal Kohli's name is associated with love stories. Two of his only successful films 'Hum Tum' and 'Fanaa', though completely diverse from each other, as far as the plotline is concerned, both of them have romance at their core. His other films 'Mujhse Dosti Karoge', 'Break Ke Baad' (co-produced by him and directed by his associate Danish Aslam) and 'Teri Meri Kahaani' were also romances. 'Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic' and his unreleased production venture 'Vartak Nagar' are the only two films that are not out-and-out romantic films. 'Phir Se...', a film which was supposed to mark the good-looking director's debut as an actor was supposed to hit the screens in 2015 but due to a legal controversy and other reasons got delayed and has now finally released on Netflix. It is the first Hindi film to get a direct release on a digital platform.

Jay Khanna (Kunal Kohli), an advertising executive has recently got divorced from his wife. He could have wriggled his way out of paying the alimony by proving, rightfully, that his wife had cheated on him but Jay decides against doing that as he feels she is the me woman whom he had fallen in love with and it is his duty to protect her dignity. Kaajal Kapoor (Jennifer Winget), a young woman in her late 20s is granted divorce from her husband the same day. Jay and Kaajal meet in an art exhibition and soon, become friends. Jay is already in a relationship with Piya (Sumona Chakravarthi). The three of them start hanging out together but soon, Piya realises that Kaajal and Jay have feelings for each other. She decides to walk out of the relationship and urges Jay and Kaajal to acknowledge their feelings for each other.

By the time the end credits start rolling, you end up asking yourself what exactly was the conflict? A few days before they are supposed to get married, Jay and Kaajal start arguing and getting upset over trivial things. These petty issues lead towards them decided to cancel their marriage. The film rests on a flimsy premise and the treatment offers absolutely nothing new to the viewers. The fact that the lead actor's parents are a gay couple could have added some novelty value Kunal and co-writer Sukhmani Sadana fail to explore it well. In fact, the lazy writing is the weakest link of the film. The film fails to rise above the stereotypical characters and plot points ridden with clich?s. As the film is being is co-directed by Kohli, one expects at least the aesthetics to be in place. One does not get disappointed on that front as the film is a visual delight courtesy the locations, spiffy camerawork and good production values. The music (Jeet Gannguli) is one of the major assets of the film. There are four romantic numbers and each of them is high on melody. Though Kunal and co-writer Sadana fail to come up with an engaging screenplay, the dialogues, written by him, are quite good.

Kunal Kohli makes an assured debut as an actor. Though he had faced the camera years ago as a film reviewer/anchor, this is the first time he gets to showcase his acting skills and one must say, he has it him to pursue it as a career in the future. Jennifer Winget is already a respected name on television and although her character does not require her to display histrionics, she delivers a natural performance. Sumona Chakravarthi does get a few scenes to shine and does well. The cast consists of seasoned performers like Dalip Singh, Kanwaljeet Singh, Sushmita Mukherjee and Rajit Kapur and needles to say, each of them delivers a good performance despite being saddled with stereotypical characters.

If 'Phir Se...' was made to bring to the fore Kunal Kohli's abilities as an actor, it succeeds in that respect. The ones who will see this film this film will definitely have good things to say about his performance. Will they be equally ecstatic with the film? Well, that is something one is highly doubtful about.

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