SAIBAL CHATTERJEE | New Delhi, February 10, 2012 12:04 Tags :
Ek main ek tu | movie | review | kareena | kapoor | Imran | Khan |
Valentine's Day is round the corner. So it's romantic comedy week. A degree of déjà vu is inevitable. You wonder: can Bollywood really put a new spin on this done-to-death genre to blow the winter blues away?
But all doubts are set at rest in a jiffy. What unfolds on the screen is quite a treat: a stylish, witty and startlingly unpredictable rom-com that rarely strays from the realm of the believable.
One can unequivocally recommend Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu to everybody who is part of the teen segment that the film is aimed at – and probably also to their guardians.
It is a coming-of-age love story that takes swipes at the ills of overbearing parenting. Yes, Ek Main… is a Bollywood rom-com with a ‘message’, delivered with a light, urbane touch. Delightful!
The film derives its vim and vigour primarily from the fact that it remains within the limitations of the genre and then proceeds to turn it on its head.
It begins where other romantic comedies end. On Christmas-eve in Las Vegas, repressed boy, who has just lost his job in the “world's 11th ranked architecture firm”, meets sprightly hairstylist girl, who too is looking for employment in these recession-hit times.
After a wild, booze-drenched night they end up in the same bed after marrying each other by mistake at the very wedding chapel where Jon Bon Jovi also walked down the aisle many decades ago. But that is how far the film’s similarity with What Happens in Vegas goes.
Debutant writer-director Shakun Batra’s film follows its own quirky trajectory as the accidentally hitched twosome decide to annul their marriage and, over the next ten days or so, learn to come to terms with the many surprises that life and Las Vegas have in store for them.
The girl is Riana Braganza (Kareena Kapoor). The boy is Rahul Kapoor (imran Khan). But don’t let the traits of the Kareena character mislead you. This certainly isn’t a Jab We Met clone.
Yes, Riana is a free bird who dares to spread her wings wide and high like the earlier film’s more rustic Geet. She is blessed with indomitable spunk and insouciance, but that is it.
She is a year or two older than the 25-year-old Rahul and has no qualms about admitting that she has had flings with half a dozen boys and has had premarital sex a few times, like it or lump it.
In a pivotal sequence in the second half, Riana describes Rahul, who has had a less-than-happy upbringing with a father bent on turning him into a mirror image of himself and a mother determined to reduce him to a feckless dandy, as “perfectly average”.
At first, the guy is somewhat foxed but figures out quickly enough that it is perfectly all right to be perfectly average. He finds his voice and feet in the process.
Ekk Main Aur Ekk Tu, too, is perfectly average as a film. But that is precisely what makes it special. It has a free-flowing quality that makes it easy on the eye and the soul.
The director, who has co-written the film, sets the bar at a height he is comfortable and clears it with ease every time he is required to. When the script occasionally teeters on the edge of just a hint of tedium, he pulls it back with style and doesn’t gloat over the breezy smartness that he brings to the exercise.
The performances by the lead pair are first rate. There’s absolutely no Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na hangover in Imran Khan’s confident star turn, and neither does Kareena put a foot wrong. They keep it simple and solid.
And with actors like Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah and Ram Kapoor in the supporting cast, there is nary a slip-up in the acting department.
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is particularly impressive on the technical front. Director of photography David MacDonald lends the film a visual texture that complements the spirit of this romantic tale with a massive difference.
Editor Asif Ali Shaikh does a fantastic job of keeping the film moving at a fair clip. The musical firm of composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya are in fine fettle. And Clinton Cerejo’s background score is effective without being obtrusive.
Ek aur Ekk add up to two. It could also be eleven. But there is no two ways about this film – it is a perfect ten.