We can either see it as half full or half empty.
There is so much missing in One By Two as many reviews have pointed out, but the good news is that it is at least half full.
Devika Bhagat’s directorial debut (she also wrote Aisha) is a coming-of-age romantic comedy for the How I Met Your Mother generation and like the series itself, while there are some genuinely heart-warming moments, there is quite a lot of stalling as the film ambles along for its Sid to Wake Up and meet the mother of his future kids.
More Hollywood than Bollywood in its romantic comedy template, here we see a girl who is hardly virginal (all kisses in the film involve the girl with her no strings attached lover) and a completely boring loser hero (you have to hand it to Abhay for bravely playing this type — the hero here is the butt of jokes in the gang).
Every character in One By Two comes with a refreshing twist. The boy’s mother who initially comes across as the stereotypical privacy intruding mom who can't see that her boy has grown up, is also the voice of reason at the end. The girl he is set up with through the arranged marriage (a brilliant cameo by newcomer Yashika Dhillon) comes with a twist of her own.
The friends (Preetika Chawla and Tahir Bhasin) make fun of the hero all the time, like he is their sidekick. Preetika Chawla particularly is impressive when she gives the hero an earful about how he is a potato. We have all had those potato friends, who allow themselves to be skinned, peeled, cut, fried, eaten and dumped out.
Yes, there is a little too much of scatological humour through analogy, but this is a film that tries to look at life through the prism of human waste. IT is there all around us, it is what we need to fight (the reason why the hero farts so much) and there is a nice scene when the boy has a conversation with the girl he hasn't met, in a men’s toilet of all the places. And the toilet is where it all gets resolved finally.
In fact, this is a film where there are probably one too many characters with talking parts written in (Darshan Jariwala as the voice of philosophy) to teach the leads a life lesson or two. This, combined with the structure of the film that involves the leads never meeting (which means the stories run parallel) results in a rather slow pace. Hence, the film ambles along looking lost, plotless and boring, just like its hero. It is a long wait before they find each other.
While Abhay is mostly good, he could have done with a little energy to make up for the dullness of the character. Preeti Desai has great presence but falls short in a demanding role.
Despite all the freshness, One By Two still succumbs to many clichés (the guy is a singing genius waiting to be discovered, the girl is a dancer par excellence, and a dance competition... Yawn... holds the key to their dreams). And there are contrivances (the guy can suddenly hack through the reality show contest and change winners!).
So finally, whether or not you want to watch it depends on how you like to see your glass. Half empty or half full?
Director: Devika Bhagat
Cast: Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai, Rati Agnihotri, Jayant Kriplani, Lillette Dubey
Storyline: Boy meets girl only right at the end
Bottomline: Great characters, quite a few moments of quirk and some good lines let down by shoddy storytelling