A modern-day love story of an urban couple, in a live-in relationship, who aspire to be India’s first and best comic duo. This is the one-line gist of Saqib Saleem and Shweta Basu Prasad film’s Comedy Couple. Despite its somewhat fresh premise, for the most part, the Nachiket Samant directorial remains a well-meaning, generic romantic film. As with most rom-coms, you know how this one is going to end too.

Shweta Basu Prasad is Zoya Batra and Saqib Saleem is Deep Sharma. Zoya likes Deep because he is ‘average.’ Not a great reason to fall for anyone, but okay, it’s a free country. And Deep is a habitual liar ala Jim Carrey’s Fletcher in Liar Liar. Now the lies he tells in the pursuit of his passion and love drive the narrative forward. So far, so good. The blend of romance, comedy and lies is not novel, but at least it has some potential, which is fully realised towards the fag end of the movie. It is then that we see characters truly coming into their own, tackling their fears, trying to resolve a central conflict and even evoking some laughter in the process. The last 20-25 minutes of Comedy Couple is engaging and enjoyable.

The director and scriptwriter try to infuse some sense of distinctiveness and vivacity by populating the frame with supporting characters of Rajesh Tailang, Pooja Bedi and Aadar Malik who make fleeting appearances. Their presence adds that zest to Comedy Couple. Tailang plays Deep’s strict, conventional father who thinks Science is the best subject and becoming an engineer is the peak of a professional career. Whereas, Bedi is the liberal, free-spirited artist mom of Zoya. She continually disapproves of men and their ways, and dislikes Deep. Tailang’s character feels lived in. He is unintentionally funny (in a good way) and feels grounded, real. Malik plays the quintessential stoner guy who doesn’t have any of his priorities sorted and practically lives in a pigsty.

Shweta Basu Prasad does a credible job of playing someone who is confident and passionate about her goals. But Saqib looks like he is trying a tad bit hard to come across as the chill, upbeat and reckless Deep. The ZEE5 movie also talks about comics’ censure by media and right-wing political outfits. It tries to discuss freedom of speech but doesn’t do a great job of it. But points to the writer for having good intentions.


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