Following the phenomenal success of Agneepath (2012) which released just two weeks ago, Dharma Productions was, it seems, all set to showcase their versatility as a production house with the Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. The movie, if trailers were to be believed, had been inspired by Hollywood’s What Happens in Vegas (2008) but as that isn’t a movie I have watched myself, I will be giving opinion on this – the Bollywood version – with a totally unbiased outlook. The film brings to the screen a fresh new jodi in Khan and Kareena as well as the entry of a brand new writer-cum-director in Shakun Batra. Dharma has become known for its talented debutant directors who always manage to give a unique feel in their first offerings and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu promised that Batra would do the same. However, it’s necessary for someone like me to question at this stage whether there was much hope from this project and from this movie. It’s one thing making a movie loosely based on something already seen in Hollywood but surely this tried and tested method is doomed for failure? Should Dharma have known better or has this attempt gone to salvage the intensely and emotionally charged romances that the banner has built a reputation for?
The story surrounds the characters of Rahul Kapoor (Imran) and Riana Braganza (Kareena) who meet in the most unlikeliest of ways. Riana is full of positivity and embraces the different colours of life whereas Rahul is quite the opposite. Rahul’s life seems very black and white in comparison what with his upbringing based on routine, expectations and… silence. A night out sees Rahul try to prove to Riana that he isn’t as boring as he might come across and in their ‘merry’ state, the two end up getting married. What follows is a series of circumstantial incidents which bring them together and the two somehow become friends before an annulment takes place.
My very first criticism of the movie comes in the shape of the story itself. Although very light-hearted, I feel the lack of ‘Bollywood’ is essentially a let-down somewhat. I know this probably sounds like a very odd statement but what I mean is that this version seems to be quite a literal crossover into Bollywood meaning that the roots and the culture one might have expected to have been injected by Batra as the writer and director is something that made the movie, for me, a little incomplete. When I do go into a Bollywood movie – especially one churned out my Dharma Productions – I don’t really expect it to look and feel completely like a Hollywood movie. Maybe that’s just me but I was disappointed a little… and before you all start throwing virtual tomatoes, I don’t mean that in a big-Bollywood-dance-number way.
The second thing I would say that made me feel a little cheated was the lack of real romance and I don’t mean that in the lovey-dovey sense. Batra’s debut movie has some amazing looking scenes which couldn’t be crispier or fresher if they tried but even the portrayal of friendship needs a touch of romance, na? Romance, in my view, can be created in many ways and what I felt would have helped Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is a handful of scenes or settings that had an air of romance about them. To give you an example, I feel every scene in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie is romantic because I feel he depicts his characters and their situations so well on screen. Batra seems to have gotten lost in the fast-moving and disengaging story and, in that, he’s forgotten to add that little extra to lure the audiences in. The movie didn’t allow for many heart-touching scenes either which was saddening. More of these would have brought the story together that much more… and probably would have given more of a meaning to an otherwise cheerful plot.
Before watching the movie, I had heard a lot about how much work had to go into making Kareena look younger and more in accordance with Riana’s age. It’s a well-known fact that she is a few years older than Imran. This extra effort that was reported baffled me a little. Have we not seen this kind of pairing before in Bollywood? To name just one example: Dil Bole Hadippa. I really don’t understand why it was so important for Kareena to look so much younger than she is. The pairing of the two protagonists is probably one of the oddest I’ve seen in a long time but I feel this was the point of the plot. I didn’t think Kareena and Imran looked too different in age and – extra effort or not – I don’t think they would have looked out of place together because the story allowed for this unusualness. They both do justice to their roles but I feel Imran stands out totally. It seems this character really did have nuances of him as a person because he plays Rahul with so much dignity and empathy that it would be hard to see anyone else in his place. Hats off!
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is not the kind of film which will change your world or make you fall in love… in fact, it will neatly fall in between the two. The movie will give you a little warmth and characters that are real to the core. It will also give an ending which may make you feel a little uneasy… or have you breathing a sigh of relief. Either way, I wouldn’t say it’s the kind of movie I expected it to be… but then I was seeking enlightenment whereas Dharma were probably after an audience which would enjoy the lighter moments and leave their tissues at home. I didn’t get what I bargained for… but I ended up in the company of mice in the cinema hall! An unfair exchange to say the least!
PS. You might spot a cheeky appearance of Imran’s wife, Avantika, in one of the songs! 🙂
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