Just woke up after swallowing a whole strip of Calmpose. Oops, sorry, that wasn’t a strip of sleeping pills, it was a whole film called Ekk Deewana Tha which is more like a lengthy film plus a sequel and still showing no signs of The End. After two versions down South, why was this one attempted in Hindi when the whole flavour (music, look, ambience, lingo, even food) was straight from Kerala? And when an entire menu has no items to recommend it, it becomes a patience-testing, ploddingly narrated tale, told old style.
The plot: Sachin (Prateik Babbar) is a cinema and cricket obsessed, unemployed 22-year-old engineer from a Brahmin Maharashtrian family. It’s love-at-first-sight literally at his gate when his employed 23-year-old Keralite neighbour Jessie (Amy Jackson) walks into his life. What’s a love story without obstacles? They’re obvious here – he’s jobless, she has one; he’s young, she’s older; he’s movie-mad, she hasn’t even heard of Mohanlal; one goes to church, the other presumably goes to temples. And she has a 6’3” tall dad plus a beefy bro on a bike. But Sachin is madly and obsessively in love with her and tells her just that. The hurdles-misunderstandings-confusion route is taken until yes, there is finally a semblance of an ending.
The good: You have to look hard for this. Maybe you could pass off as a good point some funny-ish scenes provided by dialogue writer Manu Rishi who also acts as “Sirji”, the cameraman who mentors Sachin in the film industry. The cinematography of ‘God’s own country’ alias Kerala by MS Prabhu makes this love affair at least look visually pretty. The hero’s dad (Sachin Khedekar) has his moments especially when he’s sporting about his son’s romance.
The bad: This should definitely carry a note on how not to make a remake of a South Indian film. For instance, the bits in Kerala could have been funny if Gautham Menon had not overdosed on the south Indianness, making it weary for the Hindi film viewer. It’s a standard plot to begin with and dealt with in a sub-standard manner with writing that doesn’t flow with ease. It’s a jerky narration where scenes told in songs (AR Rahman at his forgettable best) swing back and forth between Mumbai and Kerala, leaving one as confused as the annoying heroine who swings from one mood to another. It should have been enough to put off the young Lothario but no, he plods on and so does the viewer. The film doesn’t seem to have been written in a continuous flow as suddenly all the focus is on the couple and the warring Keralites with the hero’s family lost in the melee. They just vanish after a point, never to stage a comeback. Characters come and go without really adding anything to the story.Most of all, it’s the couple itself that is inexplicable, especially Jessie who is in and out of love, one moment leading him on, the other moment spurning him for no apparent reason. If the lead characters leave you annoyed, their performances are too effete to help out in any way. Bland faced Amy Jackson’s dubbing (obviously not by her) is unprofessional and inaudible in places while Prateik’s dialogue delivery, lack of facial expressions and strained, stilted dancing (like he is more in pain than pleasure) make the whole package unattractive.
Overall: All the above rob the film of its romance. Skip it, you won’t miss it.
– Pooja Thakkar