Mid-way through One by Two, an exasperated ex-girlfriend screams at the still-besotted boyfriend whom she dumped recently: You are so boring. Aur toh aur tumhara naam bhi boring hai. I felt her pain. Boredom weighed me down too as I watched this film.
One by Two is one of those determinedly contemporary romantic dramas that are entirely played out in the world of stylish offices, coffee shops, malls, multiplexes and nightclubs. Here the beautiful, affluent, lonely young folk of Mumbai work out their angst. Among these is Amit Sharma, played by Abhay Deol, a nerdy computer type, who can’t get over his ex. And Samara Patel, played by Preeti Desai, a dancer, who we are told has, a BA with honors in contemporary dance. They don’t meet for a long time but their lives intersect in strange and unexpected ways. So for about two hours and twenty minutes we watch him mope. Meanwhile she struggles with her alcoholic mother, her distant father and a television dance contest that she desperately wants to win.
Of course neither appreciates what they have – he, loving affectionate parents and friends. She, a gorgeous terraced apartment that we in Mumbai would consider the ultimate lottery. The story by writer-director Devika Bhagat isn’t half-bad but these characters whine too much to be interesting company. Devika’s dialogues don’t help either – so early in the film as Samara is getting cosy with another dancer, she shifts awkwardly and says: sorry thong adjustment. It’s the disadvantage of trying to be sexy all the time.”
But when the film veers away from this forced cool vibe, it’s fun. At one point, Amit becomes fabulously unhinged when his prospective in-laws come to see him. There’s a sweetly touching police mushaira, in which cops read out awful poems that they’ve written. And there’s Shishikha, the seemingly uncool, plump girl, hand-picked by Amit’s mom for marriage. In one scene, she picks up his guitar and starts to sing absolutely off-key. Amit looks stricken and asks: Poora gaana gaogi?
I wish there was more of this. I’m going with two stars.