In One by Two, Abhay Deol’s first film as a producer, Abhay Deol’s character is dumped by his girlfriend because she “almost died of boredom”. You get the same feeling for the film and you never even fell in love with it in the first place.
Okay I have a choice here — to spoil the film or to spoil your date. Given the way two of the three couples in the morning show of INOX (Forum) left in a huff, let me save your weekend evening, in case you pick One By Two as your date movie.
Well, in a film featuring two real-life lovers — and produced by one of them at that — Abhay Deol and Preeti Desai almost don’t meet! And that’s not good news in the Lunchbox kind of way even though the film does get its name from food — the protagonist’s obsession of ordering manchow soup and then splitting it one by two.
A cardinal rule in any script is to make your characters interesting and offbeat. But only in Bollywood would you find filmmakers taking so much pain to make their leads “boring”! Writer-director Devika Bhagat, who last wrote the bland I, Me Aur Main, continues her insipid streak here making a romcom, which has neither rom nor com.
Abhay’s Amit Sharma is in so much palpable discomfort throughout the film that you want One By Two to end quickly not just for yourself but for him. At least he gets to release his frustration by farting — replete with sound and smell (thank god the film’s not 4D) — while singing the Nirma jingle in a new tune and by covering himself with undies!
Why? He can’t get over his ex. And he doesn’t even do sex, drugs and alcohol like Dev D, a so much more entertaining character conceptualised by Abhay himself.
So did the Deol puttar produce this to showcase his girlfriend’s dancing skills? Because when she is not struggling with her toota foota Hindi and defending her propah Brit accent, Preeti Desai’s Samara Patel is dancing. Then again, you can also call that a natural way of drying hair.
Anyway, so their paths cross in very strange ways. He hacks the judging software of the reality show she is participating in. Then they exchange toilet paper in adjoining cubicles in a men’s loo. And finally she dances to his tunes. Literally.
In between, there’s a lot of jibber jabber about single moms, alcoholism, dreams and duties, marriage and companionship, featuring the usual suspects — Lilette Dubey, Rati Agnihotri, Jayant Kripalani, Darshan Jariwala. And some terrible poetry — Aisa bhi naap tol ke kya jeena yaaron... Zindagi aur ration ki dukaan mein kuch toh farak ho...
Abhay not only plays boring, but also looks very bored (yes, even in the still from the film accompanying this review). When even the bit characters are more interesting than you, there’s only that much you can do.
Preeti, who made quite an assured debut in Shor in the City, looks lost for a large part of the film. She takes her dialogue “Dance has no language” a bit too seriously and struts her phiranginess way too much for a Hindi film.
There’s nothing really to champion in this film. The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is strictly ho- hum and the background music a direct lift from The Social Network soundtrack.
The title One By Two actually is more like a ‘half’ volley to critics who rate movies out of five. As for us, our movie meter is stuck at one or two in every category!
Pratim D. Gupta
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