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By DESPITE RAHMAN, EKK DEEWANA THA IS A LOOPY BORE Pratim D. Gupta Did you like/ not like Ekk Deewana Tha? Tell]
  • Published 18.02.12

Time: 11.40am.

Location: Entry door of INOX (Forum) Screen 2.

Girl: Ek baar dekh toh loh theek theatre hai ki nahin.

Boy: Arrey yeh hi hai, Screen 2.

Girl: Film ka naam kya hai?

Boy: Kuch Ek Hasina Thi ya kuch.

Two-and-a-half hours later, they still might not have got the name right. It’s got an easier title than Gautham Menon’s original Tamil and Telugu versions (Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa and Ye Maaya Chesave) but Ekk Deewana Tha is an extremely misleading title.

There’s really nothing wrong with the boy. If Amy Jackson were your landlord’s daughter, you would have followed in the footsteps of Sachin (Prateik). That is followed Jessie around. So much so that he develops a foot fetish for her! From home to office to restaurant to office to home. And if you have A.R. Rahman composing magic in the background, well, you follow some more.

At one point a frustrated Sachin himself says: “Uski front se zyada uski back ko dekha hai maine… not that I’m complaining.” Yes, Jessie seems to be participating in some sort of a walkathon in the first half, striding up and down the streets of Mumbai in every possible costume available to mankind. And behind him, not too far away, Sachin does callisthenics with a group of yo kids in yo clothes jumping around like a yo yo. Aiyo!

But she is a Christian Malayali girl. And he a Hindu Marathi boy. She is a programme analyst with some IT company. He is vella, of course. You must have figured that out by now. And like so many jobless guys, he dreams of becoming a movie director some day. And Jessie’s Dad hasn’t even heard of Amitabh Bachchan!

The girl herself hasn’t heard of Mohanlal and being a Malayali, that’s a punishable offence. Come on, she’s watched only five films in her life! Now, which aspiring filmmaker woos a girl like that? But the girl is filmi enough. You know the kind who sends the boy back because “woh pal chala gaya!” You spend 16 reels and almost a dozen Rahman songs for that precious pal to arrive… singing someone else’s tune in your mind… Pal pal pal pal har pal har pal, kaise katega pal.

Ekk Deewana Tha is just a lousy bore. On loop. The conflicts are so ancient that you never take them seriously. And the romance itself is so thanda that you are not sure which side you are on. You just sit and listen to Rahman.

In a scene, director Ramesh Sippy — making a rare cameo (Fox Star Studios connection, was it?) — tells his cameraman: “Hero stands far away, the camera charges at him and then Rahmansaab takes over.” Gautham Menon does pretty much the same — jot down a lame scene or two for the next Rahman song to fade in.

The ending of the film and that of its originals have been discussed and dissected for days. But honestly, if the ending can just be flipped around without making a difference to the film, it says a lot about the film, doesn’t it? The other Ekk movie that came a week back couldn’t have ended any other way. The ending is an amalgamation of every moment that has preceded it up to that point and cannot just be a random editing decision.

Prateik tries. Tries hard. He is earnest right through but is grossly miscast. The actor who started on such a promising note with the Jaane Tu… Yaa Jaane Naa cameo cannot be clubbed with an Imran or a Ranbir and cast in every other romance. He shines in a Dhobi Ghat but is not Deewana material.

British import Amy looks bewitching and her body language works perfectly as the eternal tease. Singer Chinmayee, a Rahman regular, dubs for her and sees her through the talkie scenes. A couple of more expressions on the face, surely, wouldn’t have done too much harm.

The scene-stealer — and he has quite a few scenes — is Manu Rishi (Bangali of Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!), who has also written the dialogues for the film. As the cameraman who takes responsibility of Sachin and his romance, he is a winning presence.

And there’s Rahman, of course. With his oeuvre of beautifully crafted ballads. Hosanna, Sharminda hoon, Aromale, Kya hai mohabbat, Sun lo zara… they regale your ears even as your eyes get tired of the repetitive and mostly redundant proceedings.

Sachin makes a film on his romance with Jessie and that turns out to be movie no. 6 for her. But you are better off not upping your film count with this one. Unless you want to watch it like the Boy and the Girl at the entry door of Screen 2.