Zee Studios and Jar Pictures’ Qarib Qarib Singlle (ua) is the story of a middle-aged bachelor and a widow who meet on a dating website and then go on a date to a few cities to know each other better.
Yogi (Irrfan Khan), a middle-aged bachelor, and Jaya (Parvathy Thiruvotu), a widow, meet on a dating website. Soon, they meet at a coffee shop. Yogi convinces Jaya to accompany him on a trip for a holiday so that they can know each other better and assess whether they are compatible enough to get married.
While on their holiday, they visit different cities because Yogi wants to meet his three ex-girlfriends. He introduces them to Jaya too. But their trip is not too smooth. They have misunderstandings and problems galore. For instance, Yogi misses the flight which Jaya has already boarded. On another occasion, he boards the wrong train and the two get separated. On a third occasion, he erroneously enters her room while she is in a state of undress.
If Yogi can’t forget his past – which is why he wants to meet his ex-girlfriends even though they have moved on in life – Jaya also can’t get over her deceased husband, Manav (Anuj Khurana). What do Yogi and Jaya finally decide? Are they compatible or incompatible?
Kamna Chandra’s story is interesting and although it moves on a single track, it is engrossing because it does not tread the beaten path. No doubt, it is a class-appealing subject because it doesn’t cater to the general mass base but that’s how it is and there’s no harm in that. The problem lies with the screenplay which is written by Tanuja Chandra and Gazal Dhaliwal. Two major drawbacks of the screenplay make the drama far less entertaining than it ought to have been. Firstly, although the film is designed as a light and breezy entertainer, the humour quotient is low. There are opportunities for the audience to laugh but they are few and far between. Besides, the pace is so slow that the drama often tests the audience’s patience. The second major drawback is that the emotional connect of the drama is missing. By the end of the trip, the viewers don’t really root for Yogi and Jaya to come together. The audience’s attitude is: if they can come together, fine; if they can’t, then also, it’s fine.
The reasons for the missing emotional quotient are several. For one, Yogi and Jaya hardly try to make the relationship work. Since the two main protagonists themselves don’t seem to be too keen to sort out their differences or to understand each other, the viewers are left wondering whether they met on a dating website or a friendship website. Not just left wondering, the viewers also, therefore, don’t want to hope for something which the protagonists themselves don’t seem to be trying for. Also, there are so many irrelevant scenes that the audience gets irritated. An instance in point is the entire sequence of Jaya’s antics after she consumes sleeping pills. Besides, the way Jaya behaves after popping the sleeping pills makes it look like she is under the influence of alcohol rather than sedatives. Besides, a drama like this ought to have been full of heart-touching moments but in reality, such moments are almost conspicuous by their absence. Rather than the screenplay flowing smoothly, several scenes look contrived – aimed to either evoke laughter or touch the heart. But because they are contrived, they fail to have the desired impact. Examples of the forced scenes: Jaya enters Yogi’s room in the night to put back the phone receiver into the cradle; Yogi, by mistake, enters Jaya’s room while she is wrapped in a towel – did Jaya not have common sense to latch the door from inside?
All in all, a fairly good story, no doubt, meant for the city audience only, has been sort of ruined by a screenplay which is written less with feelings and more with calculations. Gazal Dhaliwal’s dialogues are very good but not consistently so.
Irrfan Khan once again proves that he can rise above the script and shine his way through. He is such a fabulous actor that he puts life into every scene he appears in. To underline how great an actor he is, it needs to be said that even his rythmic snoring deserves distinction marks. His perfor- mance, in one word, is outstanding. Parvathy Thiruvotu is good in some scenes but tends to go overboard in others. Her make-up is patchy in several scenes. Neha Dhupia, in a special appearance, makes her mark in the role of Yogi’s ex-girlfriend, Anjali. Isha Sharwani, in a special appearance as Yogi’s ex, Gauri, is grace personified in her dance movements. Pushtie Shakti is good as Yogi’s ex, Radha. Siddharth Menon makes his presence felt as Jaya’s brother, Ashish. Navneet Nishan is terrific in a brief role as Mrs. Saluja. Aman Sharma leaves a wonderful mark as the taxi driver who gives Yogi a life lesson. Brijendra Kala (as the hotel receptionist) is natural to the core. Anagha Joshi has her moments as Jaya’s friend. Others lend the desired support.
Tanuja Chandra’s direction is not upto the mark because neither is the comedy enjoyable enough nor are the emotions touching enough. Besides, she makes the drama very elitist in appeal. On the music side, ‘Khatam kahani’, composed by Vishal Mishra, is a truly good song. Other songs (by Rochak Kohli and Vishal Mishra) are alright. Lyrics (Raj Shekhar, Varun Grover and Hussain Haidry) are quite okay. Song picturisations (by Tushar Kalia, Shampa Gopikrishna and Rajeev Surti) are fair. Background music (Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor) is so-so. Eeshit Narain’s cinematography is quite nice. Sunil Rodrigues’ action scenes are functional. Ravi Shrivastava’s production designing and Seema Kashyap’s art direction are fair. Chandan Arora’s editing is alright but it must be repeated that the pace itself is very slow.
On the whole, Qarib Qarib Singlle misses the chance to be an entertainer. It falters because it is not funny enough and also because it doesn’t touch the heart. Overall, it will prove to be a flop fare.