Directed by: Shakun Batra
Starring: Kareena Kapoor, Imran Khan, Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah
All images courtesy of: http://www.ekmainaurekktuthemovie.com
WARNING: Review contains spoilers – but the biggest spoiler: I didn’t like the film!
There are some films that you instinctively know won’t reward the effort one puts into constructing the day so that you can watch said film. So that lie-in which is cruelly abandoned in the warmth of the duvet; wolfing down breakfast and rushing errands so that you can get to the first show (because all the other shows are scheduled at silly o’clock) – all are in vain when at the end of the film, instead of feeling inspired or satiated, the first thought in your mind is “what a waste of time”. I tried hard not to judge Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET) before I saw it, hoping the annoying trailer = awesome film rule would come into play. But it was not to be.
Leaving aside the very obvious “Hollywood” influences (500 Days of Summer, Garden State, Friends) EMAET seems to have no identity of its own, plodding along with designer clothing, super styled interiors and our lead characters spouting Americanisms all hoping to mask the poorly written story . EMAET walks on familiar territory which is no bad thing but when the treatment is no different from the usual fare, there is nothing to mark EMAET from the glut of other films that have come to clog up the ever popular “modern” romcom genre in Hindi cinema.
One cannot even applaud the writer and director for taking a creative risk as this film seems to have been made with a risk-free mentality and that was perhaps my biggest problem with it. In this wonderful USA-India vacuum, reality never bites and if it does, there is always a shiny plaster to stick all over it. To be fair, there are some good ideas in EMAET – as always in a Dharma Production, the father-son strand is present but under utilised as the backbone for the story. The candid and unapologetic nature of our heroine is also refreshing but the script doesn’t give her any dimension or base to expand upon and make Riana memorable. I also thought Rahul’s whole identity crisis and accepting he was average could have easily made for a much more interesting film all on its own.
Performance wise, thank god for Kareena Kapoor who seems to be the only person awake on set and brings much needed energy and star power to EMAET. Although she is let down by the poor script and characterisation, Kareena makes the best of what she is given, portraying Riana as a likeable and fun person who genuinely has a happy go lucky approach to life and is the perfect foil to the bland Rahul. Furthermore, Kareena is able to cope with the comedy, the loud scenes and the emotional scenes with equal aplomb and needless to say, she overpowers Imran without even trying; quite frankly, I would argue Kareena is the single reason for this film to even merit a viewing or review. Boman Irani and Ratna Pathak Shah do their jobs in a quiet dignified manner, giving gravitas where it doesn’t exist.
Sadly, my opinion of Imran Khan remains unchanged as he turns in a dull one note performance, shifting his expressions between gurning and pouting and looking half asleep. Out of all the characters, Imran’s Rahul has the most ample scope to perform but Imran not only misses the boat but plays yet another version of himself – it was only thanks to Kareena that I knew I wasn’t rewatching the awful Break Ke Baad or I Hate Luv Storys. Whilst fans will lap up his performace, I was not only disappointed but irritated too.
It seems EMAET had ambitions to be a hybrid of Wake Up Sid or a Love Aaj Kal – there was a sense of the screenplay wanting to be a coming of age yarn meets slice of life drama- unfortunately, it doesn’t even come close to this ideal and instead feels an indulgent waste of resources. Despite having a first time director at the helm, there was nothing fresh or exciting about the film. I really wouldn’t recommend making a special effort to watch EMAET – this is one to catch on DVD or telecast.
But what really hurts is after the magnificent Agneepath, EMAET is a real disappointment – certainly not worth giving up a lie-in for.