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Jab They Met

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Qarib Qarib Singlle
Tanuja Chandra
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Parvathy and others
Rating: * * 1/2

Imagine a role reversal of 'Jab We Met', instead of a chatterbox girl in love with herself, there’s a garrulous guy and instead of the guy being uptight, it’s the girl – and the formula works okay with Tanuja Chandra’s 'Qarib Qarib Singlle' (why the double L?). Romcoms are usually formulaic and hence predictable. So, there are no surprises in 'QQS', but there is humour and a joie de vivre, both supplied in copious quantities by Irrfan Khan as Yogi. If not for him, the film would deflate very quickly.

In fact, you wonder why a guy so extroverted and fun-loving would even need to go to a dating site to look for a partner. Jaya (Parvathy – playing it a little too stodgy) is a widow, who is doing well in her career, but her personal life is limited to baby-sitting her friends’ kids as pets – the typical ‘Stepney aunty.’

His response to her profile on the site is the least creepy, so she agrees to meet him. He is dressed garishly, has an opinion on everything, laughs at his own silly jokes and claims to be a rich poet. He surreptitiously gets her password, her phone number and somehow bags a second date (a woman like Jaya would have run screaming in the other direction!), at which he reveals three lost loves of his life, all of whom, he believes, still weep for him.

Between one thing and another, he is goaded by her to go meet the three ladies, and she is coaxed to come along. The reason to embark on the journey isn’t quite convincing, but anyway, the first meeting with the past girlfriend is genuinely funny, then the film goes all over he place, till the expected ending.

What works for the film are the lovely locations – Rishikesh, Jaipur and Gangtok – and Irrfan Khan’s killer charm even when being stonewalled by a dithering woman, who says one thing and thinks another, often looking hopefully at the camera and addressing the audience. Considering they are two grown-ups with a past, who seem to be attracted to each other, there is absolutely no overt sign of affection. She makes pathetic attempts to make him jealous, while getting jealous herself in a drunk-cum-stoned state. Getting a prissy woman high to get her to lose her inhibitions is a big movie cliché.

In spite of the no-stop chatter, you never really get to know the two characters, why they are the way they are, and what makes such opposites click.

As a date movie, QQS is fine, and Irrfan is likely to increase his fan base. If one were to go on a trip, then Mr Yogi would be voted as the ideal travel mate – he can even get off-menu 'pakoras' on a train!

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