If you have been missing Piku’s Rana or Life in a Metro’s Monty for a while and want to get swayed away by their charm all over again, go meet Yogi from Qarib Qarib Singlle! You will see flashes of the same undeniable charm and quirky humor in him, and may even find the depth and solitude of Saajan Fernandez from The Lunchbox if you see beyond the surface! And Yogi is brought to life in flesh, blood and soul by the magician Irrfan who has such a brilliant sense of timing and humor that it’s a miss when he decides to do such light-hearted frothy humor so few and far! It can be very difficult matching up to him and his understated subtlety, but the refreshingly elegant and lovely Parvathy and her Jaya achieves just that for the most part of the film, other than a scene here or there where she falters a bit and goes overboard (especially on an overly long sequence in Jaipur)! And it was very important for QQS that Jaya shines through the film because at the end of the day, its her journey of self discovery from a world she had shut herself into, to the adventurous road trips of reinventing her needs of good company, of being happy, and of finding life again!
The film’s biggest hero though is its amazing writing (by Ghazal Dhaniwal, Kamna Chandra and Tanuja Chandra) who take a paper thin plot of a road trip again, but give us some of the best dialogs of the year through the sparkling, witty and at times deeply meaningful banter between Jaya and Yogi! After all, these are real characters who have seen enough of life through past relationships and heart breaks, and are at point of life where head presides over heart, where its not easy to trust and share, and where compassion and reasoning are at loggerheads! They both carry their past interspersed in passwords, poetry and perfume; and are not so sure if they need to give in so quickly! The journey which they embark on hence turns messy at times, courtesy two unlikely individuals diametrically opposite to each other, one loud, colorful (including his quirky dressing) unabashed about his past, and yet extremely measured and poised in his approach towards Jaya, who by the way is clumsy, reserved, conditioned to solitude and is restrained even in her wardrobe (which by the way is one of the high points of the film – loved almost everything she wore)! But its a journey turning wonderful nevertheless which has the right pace and mystery for the occasional spark between them to show up its flair, and ensure that the two strangers find a little bit of themselves in the other on this soul searching trip!
True, the trip could have been shorter, the second half especially feels stretched and there was no possible need of the additional characters on both sides from Gangtok who don’t contribute to anything new to the script, and the overall end seems hurried and clumsy; but if we ignore these occasional minor bumps and are willing to look past some of the rough edges, this Tanuja Chandra film is a breath of fresh air, finding meaning in the journey of two very interesting and relatable individuals, who challenge all the set norms of a Bollywood rom-com and the typecasts of its typical lead pair; and become the part of a very unlikely and yet one of the best rom-coms of the year! Yes, it takes you on an exploratory ride with a weird pretext, but that hardly matters; because the charm and sensitivity of Yogi and Jaya and their understated chemistry is so subtle that you could almost breathe it for real! Without trying too hard, they make you smile, they make you happy and they touch your soul, without needing to be manipulative or forceful like a certain Sulu and her predictable world – and that is where they come out as winners.. of life…!
I would love to spend more time with them in a sequel to see what life does to them in their couple journey from here on!