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Saturday, February 18, 2012

(Published in The Sunday Guardian, dated 19 January, 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/gimmicky-a-uninspired)



Cast: Prateik Babbar, Amy Jackson
Director: Gautham Menon
Rating: 1 star
When two imbeciles fall in love, the romance could culminate in several inane ways. Having shown us two in Telugu and Tamil, Gautham Menon imposes both on us in the Hindi remake Ekk Deewana Tha – apparently, which ending you see depends on which screen you walk into.
I gagged over the Tamil version years ago, so I’ll make this simple – boy meets girl, religion intervenes, they overcome that, work intervenes, they overcome that, destiny intervenes, and the tail gets more twisted than  a telephone cord. Extending the analogy, it drags on till you imagine a pre-pubescent voice going, “Your eyeballs are important to us; thank you for your patience. The end will be with you shortly.” A love story so trite, yet he told it thrice.
Aspiring filmmaker Sachin (Prateik) realises his landlord’s daughter Jessie (Amy Jackson) is hot. His lispy sister befriends Jessie, who mournfully asks him mundane questions, and dreamily mumbles phrases in Malayalam, which no one follows. Inexplicably, Sachin becomes bum-chums with a cameraman (Manu Rishi), who takes an inordinate interest in his love life.
Among the film’s many shortcomings is the lack of clarity in the dynamic of the romance. We don’t know whether she’s turned on by his creepy stalking. She hints that she’s not into him, makes out with him and then throws a tantrum days later. You may make less sense of this scene for being distracted by Prateik’s lipstick.
Her psychotic episodes are punctuated by infantile humour, mostly hinging on her uncle’s struggles with Hindi. Sigh, I wish my fellow-Madrasis would stop trying to subvert Bollywood’s “rascalla” agenda, only to fall flat on their moustached faces. It would’ve been cleverer to make the cameraman Malayali, like most Bollywood technicians. But the only innovation here is the replacement of foreign locales with Indian ones (budget cuts?)
The acting is straight out of a school play. While everyone insists on seeing potential in Prateik, he erases the line between immature and retarded, as he did in My Friend Pinto. Being surrounded by actors as capable as Sachin Khedekar, Manu Rishi and Babu Antony highlights his weak performance. He twitches his limbs like he’s got ants in his pants, especially in dance sequences that seek to acquaint us with his belly button (I’m sure I can draw it from memory). It doesn’t help that the music is disjointed, the meter distorted, the lyrics ooze Harlem angst, and Amy Jackson can’t pull of Indian dance moves.
The Verdict: If you’re wallowing in the misery of lost love, take along a box of tissues. Otherwise, take a barf bag.


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