Film: "Qarib Qarib Singlle"; Director: Tanuja Chandra; Cast: Irrfan Khan, Parvathy, Bajrangbali Singh, Neha Dhupia, Isha Sharvani, Pushtii Shakti, Brijendra Kala and Luke Kenny; Rating: **1/2
Director Tanuja Chandra's "Qarib Qarib Singlle" is a typical Mills and Boon fare, a rom-com in the dot com age, where two drastically opposites meet on the dark web and weave a romance that's difficult to digest, nevertheless, it makes for a perfect fantasy narrative.
Jaya, a young widow after leading a staid life trying to make others happy, decides to add some zest in her own world, by registering on to an online dating site 'Ab Tak Singlle'. Soon, she is inundated by inane messages, including some obscene ones from fellow singles.
Her online conversations zero down to messages from Yogi and they decide to meet at a coffee shop. The meetings escalate to the duo deciding to take a road trip to three different destinations to meet Yogi's ex-friends.
The premise is definitely interesting but the plot seems forced and laboured with a verbose exposition, flat and one-dimensional characters with cliched motivation and no shades of grey.
Initially, Yogi appears to be a stalker, but soon that aspect dissipates and he is then seen like a harmless soul in his own world. This is emphasised when the duo have a showdown in a restaurant when Jaya blasts him saying, "Everything is about you". The showdown appears forced as their equation yo-yos, but the ripple is ineffective. Also, the montage of Jaya breaking from her shackles is unimaginative and lazily presented.
Though the chemistry between the lead pair seems forced and does not touch your heart, it is the brilliant performances and the cheeky one-liners which are delivered with elan that keep you hooked.
Irrfan Khan as the motor-mouth poet Yogi is irritatingly funny, sincere and charming. His character is supposed to be quirky and rich and he portrays this with flourish.
Parvathy is convincing as Jaya, the South Indian executive working in the health sector. She is every inch the workaholic girl who desires to be free but yet is pretentiously tied down by societal norms. She is effective and emotes with apt precision.
In underwritten roles, Pushtii Shakti, Neha Dhupia and Isha Sharvani as Yogi's ex-girlfriends are perfunctory.
On the technical front, the film is moderately mounted with excellent production values. Though the look and feel of the film seems oft-seen, the production design and camerawork are attractive.
What elevates the viewing experience is the poetry and songs used in the narrative. The old number, "Bade achche lagte hai" is optimally exploited to push the romance between the two forward. But the numbers "Jaane de", "Tu chale to" and "Khatam kahani" add intense shades to the narrative, giving the film a soft sensitive feel.
Overall, "Qarib Qarib Singlle" is a well-made, light, frothy rom-com that does not touch you emotionally.
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