Cast: Irrfan, Parvathy
Direction: Tanuja Chandra
This understated love story by Tanuja Chandra needs patience. What keeps you invested in this road film is Irrfan’s impeccable comic timing.
A 35-year-old widow succumbs to peer pressure and signs up to find love online. A few wrong connections later, she meets the 40-year-old, never-married, Yogi, who claims to be passionate about poetry. Their first rendezvous makes them look like a complete mismatch, but Yogi’s eccentricities and spontaneity render him likeable, despite his over-the-top ways.
As the oddball couple decides to embark on an impromptu trip, we discover their little quirks and wonder whether the two will actually find true love.
We travel to Rishikesh, Jaipur and finally to Gangtok, but the focus remains so much on the protagonists that even though we are part of their journey, it hardly feels like we have seen much of the beautiful landscape. Except a peripheral glimpse of the Ganga aarti from the banks of the river, there is no real insight into the many places this couple visits.
The plot is interesting – two people actively seeking companionship surely makes for an entertaining theme – but the couple is so encumbered by the past that they find it impossible to move on. While they both take regular digs at each other, they fail to let go of their insecurities.
Parvathy’s sincere approach to this portrayal makes her real and vulnerable as she tries to traverse an unfamiliar path. Irrfan brandishes his craft with skill – here is a suitor who is aware that women don’t particularly take to his looks, but he is a wordsmith and sure knows how to charm women. Despite his constant blabbering and sudden snoring in the midst of conversations, Yogi does have an understated appeal.
There are some moments of love and laughter, but the lead cast lacks the chemistry or the instant connection that is a prerequisite in any successful cinematic love story.
I can’t help compare ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’ to ‘The Lunchbox’ and feel this one just doesn’t tug at the heartstrings like the latter, which was a heartwarming tale that unfolded over inanimate letters.
Watch this only for Irrfan.