‘Pawan and Pooja’ Review: As Dull As A Loveless Marriage

Yawn-worthy
50%Overall Score

THE UPSHOT
The show looks at what love means to three couples of varying ages, all named Pawan and Pooja. It’s about as dull as the sort of 15-year-old marriage in which partners view each other as roommates.

Directors: Shaad Ali, Ajay Bhuyan
Creator: Siddharth P Malhotra
Cast: Deepti Naval, Mahesh Manjrekar, Gul Panag, Sharman Joshi, Natasha Bharadwaj, Taaruk Raina
Streaming on: MX Player

Three couples, one set of names

The show follows three couples across ten episodes. The oldest Pawan and Pooja (Mahesh Manjrekar and Deepti Naval) are endearing, broad-minded 60-somethings who, in the aftermath of the death of a friend, start drawing up a ‘regret list’. It’s a bucket list of things they regret not having done and want to do now, with a little help from their son Raj and his girlfriend Janet. For instance, Pawan wants to smoke pot and Pooja wants to pick a pocket.

The second couple are middle-aged. Pawan (Sharman Joshi) and Pooja (Gul Panag) were best friends in college before they married. Many years and one child later, they’re unhappy, primarily because their relationship is virtually sexless. Pooja presents a possible remedy. Pawan is unconvinced but gives in. That’s when things slide downhill.

The third couple are young 20-somethings. Pooja (Natasha Bharadwaj) is a social media influencer with plenty of followers, whom she refers to as ‘friends’. Pawan (Taaruk Raina) is a YouTuber who runs a channel called Popo Pranks. Their social media antics go viral and it’s not long before they’re roped in by a creative digital agency to star in their own reality TV show, ‘Pawan and Pooja’. Naturally, things get messy between the two. While Pooja is okay with demands of reality TV, Pawan finds them intrusive.

A competent cast is wasted on a middling story

While the couples cross paths occasionally, they’re unconnected. The idea is to show the attitudes of different generations to relationships and how the changing social fabric affects relationships. Not much happens in the season. In fact, the stories are pedestrian, offering little insight.

It’s a pity as the cast has competent actors. Mahesh Manjrekar and Deepti Naval are charming as veterans living their fantasies with childish enthusiasm. Sharman Joshi and Gul Panag are wasted in a narrative that’s tedious and predictable. Pooja’s suggestion to revive their sex lives will be anyone’s first guess. The only mildly interesting story is that of the young Pooja and Pawan, only because it deals with the contemporary phenomenon of people who meet through social media and eke a living off it.

Sanjana Subramanian: