Double Seat

Sameer Vidwans

Kshitij Patwardhan

Film Review
Double Seat:Apples and Banana Peels

Double Seat promises to be a romantic treat right from the get-go. A newlywed couple returning home reluctantly from a honeymoon they wish never ended. And the home they return to, we soon realize, has no space for romance. A dingy old 2 room space, with a bathroom crammed in the kitchen and shared toilet outside the living room, houses a family of four, with the recent addition of the daughter in law. 

Writer Kshitij Patwardhan and Writer-director Sameer Vidwans sketch a beautiful portrait of this lower-middle class family living in a chawl in Lalbag, Mumbai. The chawl, as one would expect, houses many more households, who quite organically, become a part of this family’s story. There’s always someone who may see or overhear the lovebirds- Amit (Ankush Chaudhary) and Manjiri (Mukta Barve), so the romance happens through text messages and furtive looks and the way they navigate the space. Their movements are wonderfully choreographed to give a sense of comfort and confinement at the same time. By and by, they realize that they must move into a bigger home. 

Until this point, the film is bang on. We love these people. We feel for them. And we can’t wait for them to find a beautiful new home that gives them all the space they need. We want their romance to bloom, we want it so bad! It was so disappointing that the second half does zero justice to all this empathy and interest, and the hard-earned freshness of first half dissipates into a predictable melodrama. Long winding dialogues replace the witty, crisp one liners. Sudden obstacles start popping up out of nowhere and the plans for the new home rock back and forth. The two halves of the film are as different as apples and banana peels.

What Kshitij and Sameer have accomplished in the first half is no small feat. They really manage to reach the core of your heart, touch your dreams, awaken that romance of stolen touches. I so wish they had brought more to the struggles of this couple and their family in terms of organicity of the obstacles as well as the solutions. There was a rich material waiting to be explored: the passing of initial romance in a marriage as the realities of life take over, the finding of magic in the mundane and sowing new dreams in that soil of insight; agreeing, disagreeing, convincing, compromising, giving in, going on… and a spectrum of emotions hitherto unknown to the two people in wedlock. Instead, the film relies on gimmicks and emotion packed dialogue to pull through till the end.

Yet, it’s is worth watching Double Seat for the warmth and charm of the 1st half. For the simple dreams of a small town girl giving wings to a seasoned mumbaikar all too accustomed to a less than satisfactory life. And for that feeling we all carry in our hearts (in Manjiri’s language)- “Asa kahitari kela pahije ki aaplyala watel apan Baap ahot!”

   Ketki Pandit

Ketki Pandit is a writer/director with MFA from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Also an alumnus of Screenplay Writing course at FTII, she is passionate about cinema and stories that shape our world. .

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