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Siraj Syed


Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 

 

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Review of the film, one By two

‘one By two’ fails to reach the half-way mark

A term used by two restaurant guests, instructing waiters to serve one dish/beverage to the two of them in equal portions, ‘one By two’ apparently wants to suggest that the sharing of a man and a woman’s lives, first as boy-friend and girl-friend, and then as husband and wife, are of a similar equation. It also takes a long, indulgent look at TV reality dance shows, how they attract both bottom of the rung strata and accented NRIs, and how their winners are fixed, both by computer hackers and by orders from above.

Abhay Deol plays the loser (again!) and is generally poker-faced, except where he gets the occasional witty line, when he manages a smile which seems to have been held back for a long time. He must try to get roles with more variety, if he wants to make an impact. Here, he is a shadow of Dev D. Preeti Desai (the dancer) gets her accents right and is spirited, like most of the cast, but there is not much to do for her. Yes, there are is one important scene with her mother and another with her father, but both play out predictably. Geetika Tyagi as Abhay’s heart-breaker has too small a role, considering her significance in the story. Of the supporting cast, Rati Agnihotri and Anish Trivedi stand out, while Lilette Dubey, Darshan Jariwala and Jayant Kriplani are just about okay.

‘one By two’ is Devika Bhagat’s ninth outing as writer, and her directorial debut. She has written the story and screen-play, and shares the dialogue credit with Manoj Tapadia. So, the film is mainly Devika’s baby. Sadly, she manages to impress only with some of the brazen, earthy dialogue, and some interesting frame compositions, leaving the other departments wanting. Too many scenes of toilets, and breaking wind, make you wonder what the focus of the story is! In any case, it comes across as part realistic, part abstract and part absurd. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics remind you a lot of Gulzar, being undecipherable and every-day in about equal measure. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have come up with a couple of hummable numbers. And Ashley Lobo deserves credit, mainly for the flashback number’s choreography.

Mumbai’s Bandra-Worli sea-link and a local suburban hotel’s verdant landscape, where a lot of the action takes place, are captured with good effect by Sameer Arya, who also does a reasonably good job of the frenetic dance scenes. Shan Mohammed’s editing is slick and gives the film a TV feel. Come to think of it, part of the film works well as a 20-minute episode of a TV reality show. But then, why not watch a TV reality show instead?

Rating: * ½

 

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of FilmFestivals.com and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.


Bandra West, Mumbai

India



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