Sudhish Kamath's Pad On The Net

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu: A little less inspiration, please?

Genre: Coming of age/ Romantic Comedy
Director: Shakun Batra
Cast: Imran Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah
Storyline: A 25-year-old architect marries a 27-year-old hairstylist in Vegas after a night of revelry and must spend 2 weeks with her & her family to find himself & annul the wedding
Bottomline: A new beginning for Hindi cinema except that every other scene is inspired from another film.

Before scripting, I suspect the writers (Shakun Batra and Ayesha DeVitre) put together an edit of their favourite movie moments and then came up with a story to string it all together. Like the glum workaholic Orlando Bloom-ish failed protagonist fired from his job at the beginning of Elizabethtown. Or strangers hooking up in Vegas, getting married after a night of drunken revelry (What Happens in Vegas). Or when Harry spat out gum out of the closed car window to Sally’s disgust (When Harry Met Sally, of course, except that here, Imran is Sally). Or meeting her politically incorrect parents (2 Days in Paris) or standing up to his own (Bommarillu/ Santosh Subramaniam)… Pretty much everything in the film unfolds with a sense of déjà vu.

But it’s to the director’s credit that he’s managed to make it seem fresh, thanks to framing (debutant cinematographer David MacDonald), music (Amit Trivedi) and performances of its two leads Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor who play characters well within their comfort zones. It helps that they have both played similar roles before and have excelled in playing these types.
Massively derived from Hollywood, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu too is plagued with the same problems you would find in their romantic comedies. While the guy is the typical lost yuppie, the girl is the Manic Pixie Dream Girl whose only purpose in the film is to help the lost hero find himself.

On one hand, it wants the lost hero to get rid of that corporate noose (signified by the tie), and find his peace and on the other, it finds itself trapping its hero in an intensely messy love story that remains largely unresolved (unless a stalemate counts for a resolution) simply because we don’t know enough about the girl other than the fact that she’s the Manic Pixie Dream Girl type, the angel who helps the lost soul find his way outside home.

What happens when you borrow from many films is that somewhere you lose track of what your film is about. And that’s the problem with this romantic comedy that never really comes of age. Nor does this coming of age film work as a romantic comedy.

Standing up to your parents to tell them what you want to do is just Chapter 1 of growing up. This is where Wake Up Sid scores and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu fails because this is more about the Ek (specifically him) than the two. Also, it ends rather prematurely leaving you with more questions than answers.

Structurally, this would make a great pilot for a TV show about one searching for love in a friend and another searching for friendship in love and the tug of war between the two. Or maybe this was planned as a prequel to a series of many films in a franchise. But as a stand alone film, this is at best an ‘average’ film. As Riana shows Rahul the bright side of being average, that is not bad at all. In fact, it’s so nicely put together that you wish it went beyond just the first chapter despite any issues you may have with the bastardisation of plot, characters and situations heavily derived from Hollywood.

Director Shakun Batra shows promise and with a little less inspiration from his DVD collection, this may just turn into a fun franchise. Very rarely do we get a Hindi film that is frustratingly short of good, one that merits discussion and debate. One that has the spunk and cheek to stop in the middle of a story and bring up The Beginning. Go watch it just for that sprightly young confidence.

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