Film: Ekk Deewana Tha
Director: Gautham Menon
Cast: Prateik, Amy Jackson, Manu Rishi
The hero is a 22-year-old Konkanastha Brahmin, mechanical engineer-cum-aspiring-filmmaker, but jobless, and always trying to look cute. That’s Sachin.
She is 23, a conservative Malayalee Christian, seemingly homely and usually cute. That’s Jessie.
Before the reader accuses this reviewer of ageist intentions or religious differentiation, it must be made clear that these are one of the many lame pangas (issues) in their love story, according to the above mentioned protagonists.
Sachin narrates his story, of how he fell in love with the very beautiful Jessie, who he discovers lives just above his own rented apartment in Juhu, Mumbai. Jessie’s Kapil Dev look-alike father is the landlord, cinema-hater and extremely conservative. Sachin’s love is almost stalker-like and when Jessie refuses to acknowledge his feelings, he lands up in Kerala to apologise for his mistake. They agree to remain friends. Throughout the narrative, Jessie is torn between playing ideal daughter to her parents or doll to Sachin.
Jessie’s hide and seek with her feelings for Sachin leave the audience parched, not to mention agitated and indifferent after a point. ‘Say yes and get done with it, girl’ plays like a stuck record in your head.
Add to this ordeal, a song every 15 minutes. All of them custom-made like those in hyper-active Bollywood launches of star kids. The problem is, Prateik has been around for a while and doesn’t need them. Let alone the audience. Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman’s score is strictly okay, sometimes even inconsistent with the happenings on the screen. None of the songs stay with you and that becomes one big disappointment.
Director Gautham Menon’s original Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010, Tamil) garnered a good response and critical acclaim. Even though this reviewer cannot boast of having watched the film, it sure was a way better deal than its Hindi sibling, Ekk Deewana Tha. Anything will be superior to this insipid, never-ending drama. Menon’s Hindi direction is jaded and unimpressive at best, and torturous at worst.
What could have been another step in polishing Prateik’s acting skills, comes across as an attempt of terrible casting. His boy-next-door-smitten-by-pretty-girl act is perfect, but he fails miserably in the more mature, emotionally demanding bits. Amy Jackson is plain wooden. While shooting, she was probably caught by her hair, yanked in a can full of oil. How else do you explain that unkempt hair with an OD of bronzer/oil?
Manu Rishi’s name as actor and dialogue writer in the opening credits comes as a breezer. As an actor he is the best thing about Ekk Deewana Tha, but his dialogue is passable, nothing extraordinary.
Released only a few days after Valentine’s Day, clearly to cash in on extended revelries, Ekk Tha Deewana may draw in the crowd. But it’ll still remain only a tiresome journey of a couple in love.
A simple and sweet story treated badly. Skip. Simple.