A name like Qarib Qarib Singlle spells quirkiness, and quirky it is, just not in a good way. The director labours hard to make the film what is commonly called in Bollywood ‘hatke’ and gets it all wrong. You get a man Yogi (Irrfan) who turns up for his first date sweating in a jogging suit that seems to have been borrowed from Mithun Chakraborty’s Disco Dancer days. She, Jaya (Parvathy) is a widow, whose friends are all worried that she is not getting laid enough. His conversations are centered on his ex-girlfriends and yet she takes off with him to meet them.
Implausible but still could have been interesting had the lead characters had some zing in them. Both are morose people who can’t even keep each other entertained, forget the audience. This is a road movie where the two main characters don’t even travel together for a large part of the story. Characters come and go with no purpose and don’t think twice before making personal observations. Yogi, though a failed poet, has enough money flowing around to live a king sized life. Just to make sure everyone knows, he even announces he is rich out loud a couple of times. And he is swimming in money by his part time gig as a food consultant. Move over business people, doctors and lawyers, the road to riches passes through culinary schools.
Yogi seems to be pretty diverse in his choice of women, ranging from a daughter-of-the-soil to a party chic to an artsy dancer. The only commonality among them is that that they all seem to have a thing for Yogi even after decade and a half. Irrespective where they are in life, they are all drawn to the Yogi magnet. So how our leading lady could be left behind? However unlike others, she hides her liking for Yogi by being irritating and screaming out in public places or getting high, again in public places.
As far as casting is concerned, I never thought I would say this – but Irrfan is not the best choice for this role. Neither is Parvathy Menon. They are both excellent actors but a film is a visual medium where acting is a major, but not the only part. A road movie like this needs a certain inherent charisma, an out of ordinariness and both of them lack it. The film never establishes their personal relationship beyond incessant banter. So when Yogi is morose when Jaya goes to see an ex-boyfriend, his reaction seems exaggerated.
The best part of the film are the locations – some very beautiful ones indeed. Cinematography could have been better though. Some of the scenes such as the river rafting one give a made-for-TV feel. A few lines of the “Bade Ache Lagte Hain” song from the 1976 film Balika Badhu just reminds how we don’t make such music anymore.
There are a couple of times in the film when Yogi nods off while Jaya is talking to him. That snooze was infectious.
Rating : 2/5
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Parvathy
Director: Tanuja Chandra