Comedy Couple Movie Review: Funny, skinny love
Saqib Saleem and Shweta Basu Prasad play a stand-up pair in Gurgaon in Nachiket Samant’s film
How do couples who are comedians fight? Pretty normally, it would seem, pulling a duffle bag till the strap comes off. On stage, Zoya (Shweta Basu Prasad) and Deep (Saqib Saleem) make a killer pair. They bicker sharply but collaboratively — like actors in a play. They are just about awkward to appear spontaneous, but know their ins and outs. They’ve rehearsed it clearly. It’s not how they do it at home — angrily, messily, wanting to hurt.
Nachiket Samant’s film centres on a young stand-up couple in Gurgaon. Zoya and Deep’s double act gets a boost when their manager uploads their performance online. Soon, they’re doing corporate shows and selling packed-out gigs. But their personal lives are far from settled. An ‘unmarried couple’ in the city, they are kicked out of a rented apartment. Even when they find a house of choice, it seems to slip away. Deep, wanting to keep his relationship secret, has been lying about his parents to Zoya. When he tells the truth, she walks out.
Cast: Saqib Saleem, Shweta Basu Prasad, Rajesh Tailang
Director: Nachiket Samant
Streaming on: ZEE5
The script (written by Raghav Raj Kakker and Kashyap Kapoor from a story by Bikas Ranjan Mishra) oscillates between the ups and downs of a modern relationship and has the farcical tone you would expect from a film titled Comedy Couple. The slice-of-life details are enjoyable, but familiar. Frequently, a moment of dramatic interest is rushed into comedy. Upset with Deep, Zoya walks off on their court marriage; the next scene is her driving a car as more and more people keep piling in. Deep gets picked up for making a joke on gaumutra. When a second FIR is filed, he proceeds to drink the revered excreta.
As a snapshot of India’s stand-up comedy scene, a subject previously explored in Humorously Yours and Hasmukh, the film fares no better. Zoya and Deep are likable but not explosively funny — their jokes won’t make it past the Comicstaan audition rounds. The film also makes the mistake of having Anubhav Bassi guest at the start, which only reveals this gulf. The really funny bits come later: a parody of rightist news bulletins, Deep getting umbrella-whipped by his dad.
This is Shweta’s fifth online release this year (she was also supremely watchable in Serious Men and Hostages). The thread involving Zoya’s absent father, being a cliché, needed just the sort of minimal playing the actor delivers. Saqib puts his best comic face forward, but is soon turned into a hero-type. There are also entertaining turns by Pooja Bedi, Rajesh Tailang, and Jasmeet Singh Bhatia (as the broker Timmy).
In a memorable scene, Zoya is interrupted by Deep as she speaks. “Flow tod deta hai…” she snaps. “You break my flow.” Then she sits up, unfastens her hair and pleads with him to marry her. He isn’t the best of partners, but he’ll do.