Early reviews in bollywood are unlike anything in the rest of the world – you can never trust them. And at a time of social networking, everything spreads like wild fire. So when i heard good things about Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, the first person who was skeptical about it was film buff and screenwriter Navjot Gulati and rightly so. Big banner, big stars, screening for friends and family and early review by so called trade analysts – why would anyone trust it? And then he saw the film and ran in other direction. Why and how? Read on. Has SPOILER.
The heading is a popular line from a popular tv campaign. However, the Pappu in question here is director Shakun Batra, who did an Aamir Khan impersonation in the song Pappu can’t dance saala (from 2:46 ).
Now, before I start talking about the film, let me tell you that this post is about the film and also about the director. How a rank outsider was able to make such a big debut? And to top it all, he was able to make a “perfectly average” film with the same banner that made great films (NOT) like Agneepath, Kurbaan, We are Family ( I call it We all Act Hammily) and I Hate Luv Stories. You may wonder what is so common between all these five films including Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. Interestingly, all of them have been directed by debutant directors.
What sets Shakun Batra apart is the fact that he made a big budget romcom with an indie feel, and, with a banner which is known for making candyfloss films set in unreal world. Shakun is also the one who started the Assistant Director’s community on Facebook which has helped thousands of people since its inception around five years back. One would think it has to be good karma as he was able to make his debut after assisting in just four films. I know people who have been working with top production houses and have assisted in more than eight films and still can’t even write a story, forget about making a film. The point being if you are talented and smart, you will always be able to make a film. Shakun’s smartness was in striking friendship with Imran Khan, who, let’s face it, may not be a great actor but he certainly has an eye for “good” scripts. Yes, if you are an outsider wanting to make big films, this is one way which can work.
Now coming to the film.
EMAET is a film which almost 80 percent of the population of Indian will be able to connect to because every character in the film is relatable. The Goofball dad Philip, sexed up Boolani, demanding Kapoors, not-in-a-zone-to-get-in-a-relationship Riana, highly-under-the-influence-of-family Rahul and my favorite, the Granny. We all have seen such people around us and that is what makes you believe that this is “your” story.
It starts off as little over the top but it was refreshing to see the detailing in the film and the body language of Imran Khan, an actor known for NOT knowing what acting is. Imran’s family was bit over the top too but then came Kareena, almost like a breath of fresh air and the film was never the same again. She reminded me of Summer Fin from 500 days of Summer – a girl every boy wants to fall in love with. As the film progresses, you know that this is going to end up in only one way but you still want the guy to get the girl and so the movie works.
The movie does not go over the top even in any of the dramatic sequences, like the dinner table chopstick scene and the one in the school corridor. Kareena is so good that I fell in love with her all over again. Last time it was in 2007 with Jab We Met. The character she plays is the girl every guy wants to end up with for the rest of his life. Sweet, sexy, adventurous and caring.
But the one who steals the show is Imran Khan. Finally, the boy becomes man and learns to act and changes his hairstyle too. Watch him in the scene where he goes on a date with Anusha. He is damn funny! This is the first romcom to not have a kiss in the end, or the Indian equivalent to kiss – “hug” or better “marriage”. The film breaks all the clichés of Hindi romcoms and does it in style by having an ambiguous end. Although it is very clear that she does not love him but what the director leaves us with is that lil’ hope, that she may come back to him sometime in the future.
The photography along with the background music sets the mood perfectly and lets you flow with the story smoothly. Just listen to the way Clinton Cerejo jazzes up aaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera. Music by Amit Trivedi is of timeless variety – a rarity in today’s times when music is forgotten a week after the film releases. To sum it up, this is one of those rare films where I could not find a single thing that would put me off, everything was “Perfectly Average”, just like the 90 percent of the world’s population.
(P.S – I know the film has been inspired from various romcoms like What Happens in Vegas, 500 days of Summer, and desi flicks like Jab We Met and Wake Up Sid. But i did not mind the inspiration because the writers made something of their own from the inspired material.)