If you are like me and are wondering if director Tanuja Chandra is really into superstitious nonsense for adding an extra "L" in "Single" in the title then let me calm you down by saying that it's a valid reference to the primary theme of the film. Other than being a honest yet dry attempt at mimicking the wildly popular Hollywood hit franchise, the "Before series" by Richard Linklater, Qarib Qarib Singlle is a surprisingly pleasant drama to watch. There is a lot of conversation going on here, which keeps you hooked, not because of the activity itself, but because of the nature of the conversation. You instantly connect with the protagonist, played slightly vigorously by Parvathy. Irrfan's effortless comedy is actually funny that even a tight-nosed Parvathy is not able to ignore in this film that talks about desolation, life adventures, and relationships that happen by chance. There is a lot going on here, some of which are way too explosive and heavy for the humorous plot. Neha Dhupia adds to the roughness in the second half but if you look at what the message the film tries to convey, it can be easily ignored. Just don't get bored during the second half and the lady who wrote Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) will make you feel good about life and will teach you to dread a life lived in suppression. There's an awkward try at creating the forth wall in Qarib Qarib Singlle, which albeit amateurish, is one more good reason to try the film out. TN.
Over the years we have had numerous Malayalam movies being remade in Hindi which has fared satisfactorily at the box-office. However, not many technicians from the Malayalam industry has been able to make a mark in Bollywood except for a few like Priyadarshan, Sabu Cyril etc. It's even tougher for an artist to break into Bollywood, which is the reason why very few appear in more than a single movie. In recent times, Padmapriya appeared in "Chef" & this week we have Parvathy in Tanuja Chandra's "Qarib Qarib Singlle" along with the dependable Irrfan Khan. To be frank, they did seem like an odd couple at first glance & it remains to be seen whether their combination will endear to the audience???
Jaya (Parvathy) is a widow who has been single for quite a while that her friends tells her that she must have turned virgin. She was rather unsure as to whether she wanted to be in a relationship again but decided to give it a try courtesy through an online dating site. This led to her meeting up with Yogi (Irrfan Khan), a rather loud, instinctive, no holds barred type of character who considered himself a worthy Urdu poet. In simple words, their personalities were pretty much like chalk & cheese. As expected, Jaya wasnt keen to take it beyond their first meeting but Yogi's charm & her urge to meet his exes whom he claimed still loved him, makes her embark on a journey with him. Little did they realise that it was a journey towards their self discovery.
Tanuja Chandra is a well known director who has been off the radar for quite a while. However, mention of movies like "Dushman" & "Sangharsh" gives us ample proof about her capabilities. Her latest venture is about two charmingly different mature individuals finding each other in the premise of a road trip. Over the course of their trip from Hardwar to Jaipur & finally to Gangtok, we are hooked onto the manner in which their equation with each other changes. Kudos for that goes to the script by Tanuja's mother. Kamna who has movies like "Chandni" ,"1942-A Love Story" etc to her credit. Equally impressive was the screenplay & dialogues by Ghazal Dhaliwal. With regard to other technical aspects, all of them were fine especially the music by Rochak Kohli & Vishal Mishra which was soothing to the ears & didnt impede the flow of the movie.
As usual, Irrfan was brilliant as the loud Yogi coz in the hands of a lesser artist; it would have come across as rather artificial & superficial. This makes it really difficult for his co-star to match upto him, but Parvathy (whose acting credentials in Malayalam & Tamil speaks volumes about her) matched him step to step in pretty much all the sequences. As for the rest, they have done their parts aptly in their brief screen space they were allotted.
Verdict: It is undoubtedly one of the finest rom-coms in recent times as the characters endears to the audience. An impressive script & odd looking couple enacted by brilliant performers, makes it a winner for ones who loves normal relatable movies. It is not a money spinning mass flick but you can rest assured you will be entertained. In short, do check it out!!!