Abhay Deol's choice of films is indeed laudable. He has made a career by picking films that defy stereotype, by swimming against the tide... With ONE BY TWO, the talented actor turns film producer and you anticipate his production debut to hit the right notes. While the effort to push the envelope needs to be appreciated, ONE BY TWO suffers because it rests on a thin plot, with merely a few episodes grabbing your attention, not the film in its entirety!
ONE BY TWO talks of a simpleton Amit Sharma trying to get back his girlfriend Radhika [Geetika Tyagi], who dumps him for her own selfish reasons. Another story that runs parallel is that of Samara Patel [Preeti Desai], an aspiring dancer, a British citizen, who aims to make it big in the Indian industry.
While Abhay's life hits a low point after he desperately attempts to get his girlfriend back into his life, Preeti deals with her aspirations along with an alcoholic mother [Lilette Dubey], commitment-phobic boyfriend [Yudhishtar Urs] and parents' separation.
ONE BY TWO is miles away from cliched Bollywood fairy tales. What makes it a truly hatke experience is the fact that while Abhay and Preeti's paths cross several times in the film, they come face to face only in the final sequence of the film. Besides the out of the box concept, a few episodes keep the charm alive. To give the credit where it's due, director Devika Bhagat has filmed quite a few sequences with dexterity, especially the ones involving Abhay and his friends and Preeti and her mother.
While Devika reserves the best for the second hour, it's the first half and chunks in the post-interval portions that create a total mess, making you restless in the process. The story hardly moves in the first half [it tends to get boring too!], despite the spectator getting introduced to the characters at the inception itself. In addition, there are too many coincidences all through the film, which seem unreal and unbelievable after a point. The post-interval portions do raise the bar [a couple of dramatic sequences are noteworthy], but the writing lacks the power to keep you enthralled through and through.
Devika handles the sensitive relationships with maturity. Note the one when Preeti and Lilette have an altercation over the latter's excessive drinking. Also, the sequences between Preeti and her father [Anish Trivedi] are delicately handled. Conversely, the relationship that Abhay shares with his mother [Rati Agnihotri] and uncle [Darshan Jariwala] don't leave much of an impact. The humor, especially those involving flatulence, looks out of place. Even otherwise, the wit is missing and the humor is bland. Another aspect that goes against the film is its slow pacing as well as excessive length [it's stretched for no reason].
The DoP captures the vibrant metropolis with finesse. The frames are indeed good looking. The soundtrack is nothing to hum about.
Abhay Deol is strictly okay this time, but it is Preeti Desai who stands out. Also, her dancing prowess comes to the fore. Rati Agnihotri and Jayant Kriplani [as Abhay's parents] are tolerable. Darshan Jariwala is wasted. Lilette Dubey is wonderful. Anish Trivedi looks his part. Tahir Bhasin is first-rate, while Preetika Chawla is adequate. Yudhishtar Urs, Geetika Tyagi, Maya Sarao, Yashika Dhillon, Ragesh B. Asthanaa and Diwakar Pundir fill the bill. Srishti Arya appears in a cameo.
On the whole, an out of the box film like ONE BY TWO has some engaging moments, but they are few and far between. The excessive length and the slow pacing also play a spoilsport.