All Half Measures
Film: One by Two
Cast: Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai, Rati Agnihotri
Directed by: Devika Bhagat
Duration: 2 hrs 20 mins
Rating: * 1 / 2
When a grown up Abhay Deol is lectured by his parents’ non-stop, he has the most exasperated look on his face. I felt pretty much the same throughout this film, titled One by Two. Written and directed by Devika Bhagat (her past writing credentials include Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, I, Me Aur Main, Manorama Six Feet Under and Jab Tak Hai Jaan) the film is as tedious as driving with the brakes on.
The story of a young man (Abhay Deol will be 38 soon) and woman whose lives are going no where, can make an interesting plot. But when the boredom of their lives, raised to the power of three, seeps into the audience, then we are in for a hard time.
Amit Sharma (Deol) is a computer geek (he uses the Ubuntu operating system) and has a regular job. His mom (Rati Agnihotri) still buys underwear for him (stretchable ones) and he has just broken up with his girlfriend, or rather, she has dumped him. He also has an affliction - flatulence. I can’t remember any character in a film, let alone the hero, who farts so much, as if he is a railway engine, letting off steam. That perhaps could be one of the reasons why his girlfriend left him.
In another part of the city, Samara Patel (Preeti Desai) a British passport holding desi girl is an aspiring dancer who is in a relationship with the bloke who runs the dance school. To make it look urban and hip, we are also told about her underwear. Every rose has its thong after all.
Among many problems in her life, one is the fact that her single mom (Lilette Dubey) consumes more alcohol than Amitabh Bachchan did in Shaarabi. They live in a posh house in Mumbai and that is something more than you can ask for. Papa also makes an appearance out of the blue but by then you don’t care what they do and why.
The only likable and fun character is the stocky girl, who is the potential bride for Amit. She is smart, normal and with her thoughts sorted out.
While there is an attempt to give background stories to the characters, it falls flat. Take the Samara’s parents problem for example, we have seen that countless times before. So what is the point in going down that same old road? And even that reality show dance contest angle is a crashing bore.
In this otherwise dull enterprise, Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics and Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music is enjoyable. Preeti Desai is easy on the eyes and looks comfortable in front of the camera but needs to fine tune her acting. Like his character, Abhay Deol looks a bit lost.
One By Two could have been a nice fun film, unfortunately, it is anything but that.
Published in The Navhind Times on 2nd Feb 2014