EK MEIN AUR EK TU
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- Published 11.02.12
The best thing about Shakun Batra’s first film Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is that it doesn’t want to slam dunk its way to box-office hysteria or thump the eardrums out of its victims, er viewers, or relentlessly cash in on its lead stars. And as it happens many a time, when a film doesn’t try to break new ground, it manages to do just that.
As the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai theme tune returns with the Dharma Productions logo — they had changed it for Agneepath just a couple of weeks back — you know you are entering familiar turf. Oh come on, haven’t we all seen the promos? It must be another of those KJo-produced syrupy romances with a fresh pairing: Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
Well, echoing the opening voiceover of 500 Days of Summer — one of the films Shakun’s debut will often remind you of — Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu “is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.”
At least not what we have been fed as love stories. Anything more on that will spoil it for you.
After squeezing out almost every tourist spot in Manhattan and Frisco, Johar Company drops you into Sin City in the company of Rahul Kapoor (Imran), an architect who has just lost his job. Also wandering around Vegas is another jobless Indian — hair stylist Riana Braganza (Kareena).
An innocuous 50-cent coin brings them together and in a way they never could have imagined. Within hours, the twosome get talli on Christmas Eve, and, in true Hangover ishtyle, get married in a chapel.
But that’s really the least of the problems for R & R in a city where the ‘I don’t’ of a marriage is as matter-of-fact and easy as the ‘I do’ in the first place. He has to find a new job before his super-strict parents (Boman Irani and Ratna Pathak Shah) find out back in India. And she has no money to pay rent and needs to find a shelter to keep her going. In the middle of this mundane mayhem, ek main hoon aur ek tu.
Better written (Shakun and Ayesha Devitre) than most recent Bolly romcoms or romdrams, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu has a lovely breezy and cheerful feel to it and consistently so across its running time of just under two hours. So even though it doesn’t have a major crisis or conflict ever trying to raise its ugly head, the proceedings remain unhurt.
Individual set-pieces are beautifully set-up and executed. One is the bizarre date featuring Rahul and one of his exes, where she wants to test his freshly acquired — so he claims — wild ways in the bathroom of the restaurant. A killer jazz remix of Aaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera follows before things get wet. A little too wet.
The other — the best scene of the film — is an extended dinner sequence hosted by the prim and propah Kapoors where good boy Rahul lets loose a lifetime of pent-up emotions. The verbal wallop officially marks his coming of age and the spoon-feeding ironically ends on the tips of a pair of chopsticks.
Imran shines not only in that scene but in many more. Playing the gawky lovelorn young thing is not new to him but here he is also convincing as “Mr Cranky Pants” and “Mr Tight Ass” who gradually loosens up. Yes, Rahul is lightly reminiscent of Jim Carrey’s Joel from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and that’s really a home run for our Jaane Tu... bloke.
And as his Clementine, Kareena is the perfect showboat. She is again asked to talk her way through a film — “main toh hamesha josh mein rehti hoon” — but nowhere would Riana remind you of Jab We Met’s Geet even as younger Bolly actresses continue to impersonate the talkative Sikhni from Bhatinda. Like most of her last few films, Kareena is again the heartbeat of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.
Do they have chemistry, you ask? Not really, but that doesn’t exactly work against the film. Why? Sssshhhhh!
A big high of the film is Amit Trivedi’s soundtrack. Till now he has worked his magic largely for the so-called rebel league of B-town — the likes of Anurag Kashyap, Vikram Motwane and Rajkumar Gupta. Here, in a more formulaic set-up, Trivedi with his usual partner in rhyme, lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya, completely strips Bollywood music of its usual stock slants. The songs are truly ubercool and a lot of fun. Especially Auntyji, which along with its brilliant choreography (by Bosco, who appears in the song), is a complete visual and aural delight.
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu knows the rules of the game and plays, for a long part of the match, well within them. And then, just before the final whistle, does something very brave. Is it a winner or a foul? You the referee decide.