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|Ekk Deewana Tha|
|Prateik is that rare thing - an actor blessed with effortless charm. He doesn't have to work too hard to make us like him. And even his obvious awkwardness in scenes that require more complex emotions becomes endearing. He brings a real sweetness to his character of Sachin, a young, middle-class, engineering student bitten by the movie bug, who dreams of someday directing his own film. Sadly however, Prateik's charm isn't enough to salvage this soggy love story that stretches beyond any reasonable limits of endurance.|
Sachin falls in love with Jessie, a Malayali Christian girl, inexplicably played by a British model named Amy Jackson. Amy, who has done one film in Tamil, is slathered with make-up to brown her white skin. She is sufficiently attractive but why a British model should be cast as an Indian remains an enduring mystery. Her skin tone is inconsistent, her acting is indifferent and her dialogue, obviously dubbed. And that is only one of this film's many problems. Ekk Deewana Tha is ostensibly about first love, which is thwarted here by religion, profession (her father believes that movies are sinful), language and culture. Director Gautham Menon, who has already made this film in Tamil and Telugu, sets up the differences well. There is a nice scene in which Sachin's sister, upon hearing that Jessie has barely seen any films because her father is anti-cinema, frankly tells her brother 'katley'. But then the love story, nurtured incredibly, by Sachin's mentor-cinematographer who doubles up as love guru and financier of girl-chasing trips, meanders at a sluggish pace. We go back and forth between Kerala and Mumbai, love and break-up, until absolute exhaustion sets in. The indifferent music by A. R. Rahman doesn't help. And just when you think it's all over, the film moves into Rockstar territory -the trauma of love turns Sachin into an artist.
Menon struggles to achieve grand emotion but the story is thin and the telling, insipid. Ekk Deewana Tha requires enormous patience and a healthy appetite for love stories. If you possess either, check it out.
February 17, 2012
Cast: Prateik Babbar, Amy Jackson, Manu Rishi, Sachin Khedekar
Director: Gautham Menon
With Ekk Deewana Tha director Gautham Menon takes his third stab at the same story, having directed successful Tamil and Telugu versions previously. This Hindi remake is a disappointing bore of a love story that tests your threshold for pain as it hobbles along indulgently for close to 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Prateik Babbar stars as Sachin, a 22-year-old middle-class engineering graduate who dreams of making movies one day. When his family moves into a rented home in Juhu, Sachin finds himself instantly smitten by the landlord's daughter Jessie (played by British model Amy Jackson) who lives in the house above.
Jessie is a year older than Sachin, she's a Malayali Christian, and her family has disdain for people involved with films. She's attracted to Sachin, but she knows it's not going to work out. Not one to give up easily, Sachin pursues her relentlessly, even following her all the way to Kerala in the hope of changing her mind. Floored by all the attention, she gives in'only to keep changing her mind every now and then, driving both Sachin and the audience completely nuts.
Charming in a goofy sort of way, Prateik Babbar makes the film's first thirty minutes or so watchable even though very little happens here. His awkward body language and his nervous tics are refreshing, especially as his character, Sachin, skulks around spying on Jessie, and stalks her even. The same, unfortunately, can't be said for the film's pretty but vapid leading lady, whose lines appear to have been dubbed by someone much older than herself. Surprisingly, the actress is poorly made-up, and for much of the film sports an obviously fake tan. The couple's chemistry is lukewarm, and save for a few inspired moments their banter is grating.
Cutting between Mumbai and Kerala, the film's second half meanders carelessly, and at such a sluggish pace you'll have to check your pulse to make sure you're still breathing. Manu Rishi, who plays Sachin's mentor, and a Bollywood cameraman, infuses some energy with his smart lines and his natural style of acting. But it's not enough to save this sloppy film from its imminent fate. The resolution of the couple's conflict is so convenient, you'll want to smack them for not arriving at it one hour ago.
I'm going with a generous two out of five for Ekk Deewana Tha. Even A R Ramhan's score offers only sporadic relief. The only real discovery you make through this film is Prateik Babbar's immense likeability. Now if only the kid could act!
(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)
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