Abhay Deol shoots himself in the foot by acting in (and, inexplicably, producing) this monstrosity called One By Two that sucks all the goodwill out of an actor we usually like, writes Raja Sen.
True to its name, this is half a film.
It’s half-written, half-digested, half-witted.
The reasoning -- that ordering half a portion of soup gets you more bang for your buck -- might be a sound one for the neighbourhood vinegar-lovin’ chowmein joint, but when both performers and characters are as insipid as the ones in One By Two, you’d be best advised to call for the check instead.
This is one dish best served unserved.
Director Devika Bhagat tries a fair few intriguing things with her first movie, subverting standard romantic-comedy expectations by giving us unlikable protagonists -- he’s a drab jerk, she’s a venally selfish dancer -- and giving them truly unusual motivations.
She also gives them sensible parents, and this is a film remarkable in the way that it makes the parental generation -- through long-winded conversational stretches -- sound much more sensible than their clueless spawn.
And while that may well be the intent, what she gives us are two impossible-to-be-charmed-by actors playing two impossible-to-like characters, speaking lines impossible to take seriously, lines clearly written in English and Google-Translated into Hindi. What we’re left with is a film that is impossible to bear.
At first, I kept telling myself it was ironic. It had to be. Clearly this edgy new film wasn’t being literal with the heroine strutting down the middle of the road, a pied-piper line of people following her as she thrusts her fists forward to say, um, “kaboom.” It couldn’t really be doing this, could it? But it was. And it just got worse from there.
There is zero narrative consistency, the tone jarringly shifting from tween-soap to bad-sitcom to dance-reality-show like impatiently shuffled channels. And while this may make for quite an audition tape for the next Colors reality show, it fails miserably as a film.
Abhay Deol shoots himself in the foot by acting in (and, inexplicably, producing) this monstrosity that sucks all the goodwill out of an actor we usually like, and his apparent girlfriend Preeti Desai hands in the kind of atrocious performance that makes vintage Katrina look like Juhi Chawla.
And if incompetence weren’t bad enough, the writing stinks. Literally.
Deol -- who fools around with two irritating characters who belong more to a bad school drama than any office scenario -- is not just boring, but gassy. He pigs out on paneer and assaults us all with his flatulence, and one assumes this trash is being doled out to us in the name of pushing the envelope. Aargh.
There is a stray moment of freshness every now and then. A girl who plays hungry suitor does so with some vim, and, as mentioned, the older folks -- Jayant Kripalani, Rati Agnihotri, Lillette Dubey, Darshan Jariwala and a man who has stolen Dalip Tahil’s voice -- are all good. But the people around them, the apparent leads of this project, let them all down.
Like the parents in the film, we deserve better.