Story and substance, served with a pinch of disappointment

Story and substance, served with a pinch of disappointment

One By TwoHindi (U/A) ¬¬¬
Director: Devika Bhagat
Cast: Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai, Jayant Kriplani, Rati Agnihotri, Darshan Jariwala, Lillete Dubey


What’s better than a Bollywood film with a story? One with two stories! And even better if they cross paths intermittently and finally blend into one. That’s what Devika Bhagat attempted with “One By Two”, and almost manages to pull off, the key word here being “almost”.

The film’s title being a nod to not only the way the lead characters split soup, but how the entire film is divided into the two lives of Amit Sharma and Samara Patel, whose lives show several signs of crashing into each other, with various likely outcomes. But when they do, one leaves the theatre with the sincere hope that it’s heading towards the best conclusion possible.

Along the way you have some heavy doses of “finding oneself”, relationship advice, friendly banter, family pressure, and a whole gamut of situations that put Amit and Samara through emotional roller-coasters. However, the same doesn’t hold true for the audience, who, at best, are little keener than “mildly interested.”

 What works for “One By Two” is definitely the story, and the characters personified by the likes of Rati Agnihotri (Amit’s mother), Darshan Jariwala (his uncle) and Lillete Dubey (Samara’s mom). One only wishes that a powerhouse like Jayant Kriplani (as Amit’s father) was not underutilised. Amit and Samara’s friends and exes could have been mentioned too, but they seem to do little other than just antagonising or placating the lead individuals. 

What also works for the film is the music, with the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy creating some hummable melodies. Add to that the editing, which shows real promise, but fails to stand out as exceptionally good.

The hitch of “One By Two” is in its pace. At 2 hours and 19 minutes, the film seems much longer, specifically because the story, despite being there, shows no sense of urgency, nor does it have a sense of inevitability to it. True, that Bhagat might have wanted to depict the fickle nature of human encounters, but the meandering plot, despite its bright spots, fails to keep the viewers glued to their seats.

If you have a free afternoon, sit down with some popcorn and friends for this one.

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