Irrfan Khan was the sole reason us gang of friends entered the movie hall this weekend. India’s only serious and flourishing export to Hollywood comes across as that large dollop of supreme quality butter. You add him to any dish and the product gets enhanced, smells and tastes better, instantly; by few notches. Irrfan makes Qarib Qarib Singlle (QQS) a charming road rom-com. Had he not been there, the movie would have looked like a low budget headless attempt on whims and fancies of singles.
Do you keep your ex-es in passwords?
Who else would vouch for a script where a pair of potential suitors head for checking out childhood muses of the other? Childhood crushes or affairs, serve nothing more than comparison barometers. If your crush has grown looking pretty and/or rich, you are uncomfortable on what could have been. If the crush has lost sheen and/or economically not as strong, you take an ego boost on a correct decision taken on a correct day, decades ago.
Director & writer Tanuja Chandra’s correct decision on correct days, two decades ago, spanned across her first five films – Tamanna, Dil to Pagal Hai, Zakhm, Dushman & Sangharsh. All mind blowing movies. Strangely, her next five movies (between 2001-2009) were so steeped in mediocrity, that you wondered if she left her mojo behind, at the turn of the century. Would history remember her as a Qarib Qarib good director? QQS is her comeback vehicle and hence needed an astrologer’s blessing to put the double L in Singlle.
When SWAG met YOLO
Just like Tanuja’s filmography, the first half of QQS is a charmingly whacky ride followed by a confused and slacking second half. As an audience you invest enough in Irrfan’s Yogi but you are left with questions. Why did he not meet his third ex, after all the pains? Where was his bottom less pot of cash coming from? Why would he buy return ticket for home leaving his companion behind? Why would he sleep only after chatting with someone on phone? What was so special about Jaya that he really wanted her to experience life, despite her idiosyncrasies?
Jaya’s role is well written with not much open ended questions. Her ‘single’ status and lifestyle is dot how you see most singles – having biscuits for dinner, baby sitting relatives kids, being an errand lady for friends, hunting out odd grey hairs, chasing mosquitoes at home to kill time, taking selfies at happening places, hardly taking office leaves and often marketing themselves with modern world hobbies like para-gliding! When such a person encounters a bright, red jacketed poet in Yogi with cheesy lines like ‘Aam to sirf chuus ke khaya jaata hai’ or ‘Sandwich khaane se pehle zahar na pee loon?’, one thinks about hell, while other is wanting to gel.
Rest of Cast
Parvathy is decent but not her best (watch Bangalore Days, Maryan for better performances). A Konkona Sen, Swara Bhaskar or a Shahana Goswami would have done more justice to the role. Her emotional confusion with Irrfan’s extremely irresponsible character (certainly lacked most husband material qualities) never comes out clearly. Not once do you feel from her angle.
Besides, no other side character is sketched well enough to stay in memory. Hence you leave the hall with Irrfan, Irrfan and only Irrfan. There are no memorable songs either. Aside one website jingle – L for Ladka, L for Ladki, L for Love ki Khidki! All in first half.
Rating: 3.25/5 (averaged with friends)