Being a resident of Gurgaon, I could pretty much relate to the world shown in Comedy Couple, a made-for-OTT film which has just premiered on ZEE5. A young couple [Saqib Saleem, Shweta Basu Prasad] trying to live their dreams, stand-up comedy circuit, glitzy lanes of Gurgaon, high rise apartments, problems faced by this live-in couple to find a place on rent – all of this and more is the kind of life which is prevalent in the city.
What makes this two hour film a breezy affair for most part of its narrative is the fun quotient that stays with the narrative. All of that is courtesy the moments that have been given a real life treatment by director Nachiket Samant, for whom this is his first Hindi film. He certainly understands the language of the youth and unlike many filmmakers who are guilty of overdoing the whole Delhi NCR milieu (which is nowhere close to the kind that is often seen in the likes of Ginny Weds Sunny and Jai Mummy Di of the world). This one at least stays real.
It’s this very ‘being real’ factor that binds the love story of Saqib and Shweta. From the very first scene (which by the way starts with a kiss), they come across as a couple really in love. Surprisingly though, belying the title of the film, they don’t quite come across as a ‘comedy couple’ though. Most of the jokes fall flat, the interaction between them on stage is rehearsed (despite both trying really hard to be spontaneous) and (fake) audience laughter doesn’t help the cause either. For a film about stand-up comedy, surprisingly there isn’t much comedy on stage.
This is the reason why it’s off-the-stage comedy (as well as heartwarming moments) that work best between Saqib and Shweta. You are with them in their journey to find the best apartment, you do chuckle when they find themselves stuck at their respective friends’ place, and the parents angle (Rajesh Tailang, Pooja Bedi) – though clichéd – brings on the fun as well. In fact there are a couple of more supporting actors who actually bring on a lot of fun; the man who plays the manager of the couple and the friendly broker who hangs around like a buddy.
However, it’s the second half where Nachiket tries to pack in a lot of things and that occasionally makes things slow (and even repetitive) at a few places. The whole ‘why-do-you-lie’ angle surrounding Saqib isn’t really convincing and when his parents arrive at his apartment, the scenes are actually long stretched. Then there is this ‘rashtravaad’ and ‘intolerance towards jokes’ angles that come in as well which may have been interesting had they been peripheral, but in this case they consume a good part of the second half.
Thankfully, just when one would have thought that Comedy Couple would become really somber and soppy, it is the spunk of Shweta that keeps things moving. She is indeed the sunshine of the film and while at places she does remind of Anushka Sharma (in terms of dialogue delivery as well as mannerisms), you are glued to seeing her on screen. Meanwhile Saqib, in a role where he is surprisingly not allowed to go all out, stays on to be reliable as ever and ensures that his deadpan humor as well as natural way of acting keeps things afloat.
This is how the film as a whole stays on as well, which is ‘being afloat’. Though a crisper second half with an overall running duration reduced by 15-20 minutes would have helped, Comedy Couple still turns out to be one of the better ‘straight-to-OTT’ releases that have arrived in the last few months. At the very least, it’s a feel good affair and that’s decent enough for a relaxed time.