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Sunday, February 12, 2012

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(Published in The Sunday Guardian, dated 12 February 2012, retrieved from

Cast: Imran Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah
Director: Shakun Batra
Rating: 4 stars
Aargh, it’s hard to figure out how much to reveal of Ek Main aur Ekk Tu without spoiling the watch! How much you enjoy this numerologically-bolstered flick depends on how little you know of the storyline. So let me say: if you thought this was a counter-narrative to The Titanic, where uptight boy gets taught to spit on glass panes by crazy, crass girl, you’re wrong.
For all its pink-tinted posters, Ek Main aur Ekk Tu seems to be part of New Bollywood – those quirky films that shun the idea of movies-as-escape, and are truer to life than the coincidence-dependent, candy-floss fare we grew up on.
Rahul (Imran Khan) is the well-placed scion of a business empire, and well-behaved son of socialites Mr. Kapoor (Boman Irani) and Mrs. Kapoor (Ratna Pathak Shah). His parents make all his decisions for him – khelnakhaana, school, college, and future. After working in a reputed architecture firm in Vegas for a couple of years, he’ll return home to join the family business.
Enter Riana Braganza (Kareena Kapoor), whose many neuroses include the conviction that she’s being stalked by her exes’ friends. Brash and lively, this avatar of Kareena is far less grating than Geet from Jab We Met, mainly because Rahul finds her as annoying as we do. This time round, she has a family whose combined excitability and madness is likeable enough to work as a foil to her own.
Imran Khan looks the part of the poor little rich boy who’d break up with a girl for spilling soya sauce on his white shirt, because he “like[s] things clean”. He uses his almost oversized eyes well, and his facial expressions are a treat. There’s something boyishly endearing about his blank looks and panicky horror that makes the viewer empathise instantly. What may appear mawkish on some people is “awww”-inducingly gullible on him. It doesn’t hurt that, as the filmmakers point out, his bum’s rather more perfect than Kareena’s.
Boman Irani and Ratna Pathak Shah delight in their roles, and the entire Braganza family – including the Alzheimer’s-afflicted granny – deliver ably in a film whose comic element hinges on timing. Less than two hours long, the screenplay rescues itself from maudlin by injecting the right witty comments at the wrong moments. The Kapoor family tradition of “chalti gaadi mein chup rakhna” makes for hilarious interludes. And though you’re left with a sort of restless itch at the end, you’ll walk out smiling.
The Verdict: Ek Main aur Ekk Tu is a breezy, charming watch. My only grouse with it is that it adds yet another Braganza to Bollywood.


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