Review: Ekk Deewana Tha

Ekk Deewana Tha
Director Gautham Menon is supposedly a hotshot director down South and Ekk Deewana Tha is the Hindi remake of his Tamil film Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. Prateik and Amy Jackson are cast in the lead roles of young adults whose love story is paved with problems.

Prateik plays Sachin, a 22 year old with dreams of working in the Hindi film industry. On the recommendation of his cinematographer friend (Manu Rishi), Sachin is hoping for a job as assistant director to Ramesh Sippy. His family moves into a temporary home in Mumbai’s Juhu neighborhood where his upstairs neightbour is 23 year old IT professional Jessie (Amy Jackson). Its love at first sight for Sachin who proceeds to spend the next few hours and couple of songs trying to muster up the courage to speak to her and share his true feelings. At first Jessie does not reciprocate those feelings, and cites her family’s conservative background, their differing castes, age difference and her family’s abhorrence for cinema as deterrents. But before you know it, she is in love with him too.

But the path of true love is potholed. Firstly she is older than him (by a whole year!), she belongs to an Orthodox Christian family that does not watch movies, he is a Hindu and her father and brother clearly do not like Sachin. In a modern, urban context, it is hard to imagine such reasons as being deterrents, especially the age factor. It is even harder to imagine, as a scene conveys, that any adult Indian does not know who Amitabh Bachchan is — Jessie’s father does not.

It’s about time filmmakers from the south realized that Hindi movie audiences are now far more aware of technical sophistication, filmmaking grammar, good performances and accepting of contemporary society than 20 years ago. Concepts of difference in age, inter-caste marriages and parental opposition are archaic and unhelpful.

When Sachin confesses his true feelings to Jessie she rejects him but agrees to be friends; a strange friendship where she rebukes Sachin for holding her hand but has no objection to being kissed by him. A confused Jessie then flip-flops between fear and duty on one hand and attraction towards Sachin leading the setting to zig-zag between Mumbai, Kerala, Goa, Agra. After a passage of time, the pair reunite against the backdrop of the Taj Mahal.

The script and dialogues are so tiresome and labored that even AR Rahman’s music fails to alleviate the tedium and horror of what is simply poor filmmaking. Flat lighting, unimaginative camerawork, sloppy editing, over-written scenes and Amy Jackson’s darkened skin tone which varies throughout are just some glaring issues. It is also inexplicable why a British model, who clearly cannot speak either Hindi or Malayali, has been cast to play a 23 year old Malayali and then dubbed by a woman who speaks in a monotonous rasping voice throughout. And which 23 year old working girl in Mumbai wears such stiffly draped saris to work – unless she works for Air India!

So it is up to the relatively inexperienced Prateik to carry the film on his tottering shoulders. He tries hard, but the sparkle he showed in both Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and Dhobi Ghat is totally missing. Manu Rishi, who plays Sachin’s confidante and love guru, is overused.

After a grueling two hours plus, just when you think the ordeal is almost over, the director adds on a convoluted climax which introduces a film within a film. You cannot wait for both to end.

Rating: **