'Qarib Qarib Singlle' review: Irrfan, Parvathy are in top form, the story isn't

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Shomini SenUpdated: Nov 10, 2017, 09:47 AM IST

Irrfan Khan and Parvathy in a still from Qarib Qarib Singlle Photograph:(Others)

You know you have won half the battle when you cast Irrfan Khan in your film. The actor can literally camouflage into any character. From a Bengali professor to a cab driver to a loud Punjabi businessman to a possessive lover who abuses his wife in bed every night- Irrfan can play any role and make it his own. 

Therefore, when Tanuja Chandra cast Irrfan in a light-hearted love story of a middle-aged couple- one knew that she had an ace up her sleeve. Qarib Qarib Singlle has the actor paired opposite Parvathy and together the actor's make the film enjoyable despite a weak script. 

Jaya (Parvathy) is an army widow who lives for her friends. She is always the one who will step up for her friends when they can't take their kids to the mall or babysit their cat. She has a good job, a supportive family but what she lacks is a man in her life.  Stuck in her past, Jaya is a fresher in the romance department who easily gets scandalized at the new ideas of romance. While her friends and family ask her to find a man for herself, Jaya is comfortable being alone. During one sleepless night alone at home, Jaya decides to open an account on a dating site. She lies about her name and age but finds a match almost within minutes. She meets Yogi (Irrfan Khan) who is a poet of sorts the next day for a coffee date. 

The film has Irrfan Khan romancing south star Parvathy. (Zee News Network)


Yogi isn't a regular guy. He is rich (although it is never very clearly indicated the reason of his wealth) doesn't have a job as such and publishes his own books of poems. He is also unconventional and self-contained and believes his ex-girlfriends still pine for him. Jaya finds him strange in the beginning but on a whim agrees to go with him on a road-trip of sorts to meet his ex-girlfriends to find out whether they still have any feelings for him. 

They do meet these women, in some of the picturesque towns and cities of northern India but realize the importance of moving on from the past and holding on to what is present in front of them.

To its advantage, the film has some exceptionally witty lines- most of which are delivered by Irrfan Khan. The man plays a character who is a little old school. Who dozes off when Jaya talks off the advantages of the Internet to him, who believes in paperbacks more than e-books. And Yogi is the exact opposite of Jaya. Jaya is sophisticated, he is not. She is calm and dignified, Yogi is too nonchalant and loud. Jaya is measured, Yogi fumbles and is overall loud. The writers create a Yin and Yan sort of situation and it translates well on the big screen at least in the first half where the characters are established. 

The problem occurs in the second half when writers continue to hammer into our heads the characteristics of the two leads. There is an excruciatingly long scene in the second half where Parvathy goes a tad overboard with her acting as she appears drunk on a few extra sleeping pills. The scene has Neha Dhupia and Irrfan Khan as well but Parvathy's act appears to naive and rather out of place. 

The actress, in the rest of the film, delivers a confident performance and makes Jaya very relatable. You almost smile at her when she sets out on her first date in years as she practices her smile and rehearses the lines she would say to Yogi. Or the time, she can't believe that she has agreed to meet someone so strange like Yogi as she sits on flights and trains- waiting for him to arrive. 

While the performances are top-notch, it is at the end overruled by the very illogical storyline and a boring second half. When the film begins, the screenplay is so well written that you can almost relate to what Jaya is going through. But as the film progresses, the writers take too much liberty with the story- making the film a usual frothy love-story. Which is why Qarib Qarib Singlle falls short of being called a good film. It just remains very average.  it has some genuinely funny moments, a good message and also creates a perfect ambiance for an old-school romance but a poor script overrules these aspects.

A word for the film's cinematographer Eeshit Narain who captures Rishikesh captivatingly, making the hilly town look breathtaking. 

Qarib Qarib Singlle is a good attempt at telling a story of people in the 30s- an age group that is widely ignored in our films. It has two genuinely good actors who deliver mature performances but the story takes too many liberties and makes the overall film look a bit illogical. 

Ratings: 2.5/5