Reviewing the Reviews: Half to two stars for One by Two

03 Feb,2014

By Deepa Gahlot


One by Two

Director: Devika Bhagat

Starring: Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai, Lillete Dubey, etc


It has already made it to some critics’ list of one of the worst films of 2014, and it’s just January. Doubly disappointing because it has been produced by Abhay Deol, who is known to have picked interesting characters so far. Devika Bhagat’s debut film uses the offbeat (though used before in international cinema) device of having the two lead characters not meet till the end; their stories run parallel, and both they are crashingly boring.


Most critics found the toilet humour repellent and gave it half to 2 stars.


Raja Sen of rightly commented, “True to its name, this is half a film. It’s half-written, half-digested, half-witted. The reasoning — that ordering half a portion of soup gets you more bang for your buck — might be a sound one for the neighbourhood vinegar-lovin’ chowmein joint, but when both performers and characters are as insipid as the ones in One By Two, you’d be best advised to call for the check instead.  This is one dish best served unserved.”


Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express was critical but kind. “That a rom-com makes us wait for the meet-cute moment is unusual. ‘One By Two’ does this with almost geometric zeal, giving us man and his doings, and the woman and hers, in a parallel track. When will the twain meet? This Devika Bhagat-written and direct romantic comedy should have been much better than it is, given its attempt at adding a couple of its own tics to the territory. The trouble begins with it not being able to find the right rhythm.”


Deepanjana Pal, writing on commented, “Perhaps as a reference to Schrodinger’s cat, things happen even as nothing happens in One By Two. The film waffles along, showing various moments where Amit and Samara’s lives intersect but don’t give them a chance to actually meet. This would seem a shame if it wasn’t for the fact that the basis of their emotional connection eventually turns out to be tissue paper, farts and fecal metaphors. That’s not the beginning of a happy relationship. One By Two offers one of the least insightful and most shallow portraits of India’s urban youth. If the upcoming generation of Indian men is really like the ones in the film, I predict a sharp and dramatic rise in the country’s lesbian population in the next census survey.”


Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN found nothing refreshingly original about it. “One of the problems with this film is that it plays out like a sitcom. There’s enough chick-lit philosophizing to make you barf, and supposedly adult characters who behave like overgrown teens. So Amit is comfortable enough around his buddies to break wind when his tummy rumbles. But when the same gag is repeated thrice over, you know they’ve run out of ideas.”


Like many others, Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times was bored by the film. “”Mid-way through One by Two, an exasperated ex-girlfriend screams at her still-besotted boyfriend, whom she dumped recently, “You are so boring. Aur toh aur tumhara naam bhi boring hai.” I felt her pain. Boredom weighed me down too as I watched this film. One by Two is one of those determinedly contemporary romantic dramas that are entirely played out in the world of stylish offices, coffee shops, malls, multiplexes and nightclubs. Here the beautiful, affluent, lonely young folk of Mumbai work out their angst.”


Shubha Shetty Saha of Mid-Day grumbled, “The film might have been less disappointing if Abhay Deol, who is admired for the kind of roles he has hitherto picked in his career, hadn’t chosen to act and produce it. There are some fleeting touching emotional moments which could have lingered longer if they were handled more deftly. The music is good, but then that is obviously not enough to pull this movie through. At one point in the film, one of the characters tells another, “Don’t let me lose the plot.” I wish real-life partners Abhay and Preeti, had done that for each other. We could have been saved from two hours of being torn between yawns and longingly looking at the exit door.”


Nandini Ramnath of Mint, used the words that were on everybody’s mind –gross out. “The classic rom-com premise-the perfect couple from the same social bubble travels halfway around the world before eventually being united-is stretched beyond permissible limits in Devika Bhagat‘s debut feature. Amit (Abhay Deol) refuses to get over his girlfriend, while Samara (Preeti Desai) is trying to forget a failed relationship and make it as a dancer. The two meet, finally, over an upset stomach-yes, you read right. Of all the genres that Bhagat dips into for the mish-mash that is One By Two, the gross-out American comedy was an ill-advised choice.”


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