After a month of heavy-duty action [PLAYERS, AGNEEPATH], the spotlight is on romance [EK MAIN AUR EKK TU, EKK DEEWANA THA] in the month of St. Valentine. Besides, films like READY, BODYGUARD and SINGHAM have revitalized the trend of South remakes. Gautham Menon returns to the Bollywood centre stage after a gap [REHNAA HAI TERRE DIL MEIN] with a remake of his films, made in Tamil first and Telugu later.
Both, the Tamil version [VINNAITHAANDI VARUVAAYAA] and also its Telugu adaptation [YE MAAYA CHESAVE] were considered path-breaking motion pictures. Though essentially a remake, EKK DEEWANA THA conjures memories of K. Balachander’s roaring hit EK DUUJE KE LIYE. Menon is a master storyteller, no two opinions on that, but EKK DEEWANA THA fails to leave an impact for a valid reason: A beaten to death plot tends to stagnate after a point. Also, Menon overstays the hospitality by dragging the film in its second hour. Just when you think the story would conclude, Menon does a time travel and starts a new chapter in this never-ending love story. That, honestly, only makes this snail-paced movie a taxing and cumbersome experience.
Sachin [Prateik] is an engineering graduate from a middle class family in Mumbai, who is in love with the world of cinema. One day, he sees Jessie [Amy Jackson] and it is love at first sight for him. Jessie is beautiful, elegant, smart and classy. But Jessie belongs to an orthodox Malayali Christian family where watching movies or falling in love are completely taboo.
Sachin finds himself increasingly drawn to her. Jessie, on her part, tries to forge a friendship between them, believing that cloaking their feelings under the umbrella of friendship would save them heartache, tears and a full-blown family drama. But these two different characters go through the pangs and pleasure of first love, while battling with the situations that life has placed them in.
Opting for a tried and tested story is not sacrilegious, but the challenge lies in giving a new spin to the age-old tale, which, regrettably, EKK DEEWANA THA doesn’t. Like all love stories, EKK DEEWANA THA doesn’t lack drama and emotions, but barring a few episodes, the viewer doesn’t get absorbed into the world of Sachin and Jessie, which is the chief inadequacy of the film and which, concurrently, reflects on the sketchy written material.
What baffles the viewer is the character of Jessie. While the guy is crazily in love with her, the girl, in contrast, seems downright confused about her feelings for the guy. She appears indecisive about what she really yearns for and this aspect, to put it bluntly, sends out puzzling signals not only to the lover boy, but to the by-now-exasperated viewer as well.
The screenplay totters and flounders the moment Jessie decides to part ways. The justification offered is least persuasive. Since the reason for separation is not forceful enough, it leaves the viewer feeling unsympathetic, detached and disconnected from the goings-on subsequently. The sequence at the Taj Mahal and the portions thereafter don’t work either.
Menon does handle certain dramatic and emotional moments with aplomb, but the written material lets him down. Barring a few moments that stand out, the twists and turns in the plot are repetitive and devoid of exhilaration. Also, the film is agonizingly prolonged and should’ve been spruced up by judiciously trimming at least 20-25 minutes. Rahman’s musical score has the unambiguous stamp of a genius. The best track is of course ‘Hosanna’. But the film could’ve done without a song or two in the latter half. The film boasts of some stunning visuals and the credit for it goes to DoP M.S. Prabhu, who captures the scenic beauty of Kerala with dexterity. Manu Rishi’s dialogue are real at times, but tend to get flowery at places.
Prateik is natural to the core. In fact, after DHOBI GHAT, wherein Prateik’s efforts were appreciated, now EKK DEEWANA THA makes you wake up to the potential the talented youngster possesses. It requires tremendous self-assurance and acting prowess to enact this intricate and demanding character in an authoritative style. His dialogue delivery is near-perfect and body language, precise.
Amy Jackson is charming. She carries off her part — and also the Indian attire — splendidly. Though the character is not very compelling — since she appears confused about her emotions for the madly-in-love Prateik — it must be said that you don’t detect slip-ups in her presentation of the character. In fact, it isn’t a straight-forward role for a tenderfoot, but Amy handles it like a pro. However, her makeup is inconsistent. Manu Rishi excels and so does Sachin Khedekar. Babu Antony [as Jessie’s father] does a fine job. Ashwin Kakumanu and Samantha get no scope. Ramesh Sippy is likeable in a cameo.
On the whole, EKK DEEWANA THA has a few sparkling moments, that’s about it. However, it lacks the fizz for the spectator to go deewana!