Movie Review: Ekk Deewana Tha (2012)

Zero Stars (out of 4)

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“Sachin, you’re such a selfish jerk.” This is told to the main character by his best friend, and it is the core problem in a movie full of problems. The hero of the romance Ekk Deewana Tha (“There Was a Crazy Guy“) is such an odious bastard that it’s frustrating to see him rewarded with his obligatory happy ending.

The film sets itself up as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet romance between a pair of star-crossed lovers: a Hindu guy and a Christian girl. Religious differences ultimately play little part in the film except as an excuse for her father to object to the marriage (the guy’s parents don’t care). There are plenty of other, better reasons for her parents to object, namely that the guy is a possessive whack-job.

Sachin — the above mentioned “selfish jerk” — is a 22-year-old Hindu, played by a perpetually flustered Prateik. The Christian girl is Jessie (Amy Jackson), a 23-year-old financial analyst who talks during movies. Sachin sees Jessie, falls immediately in love (lust, actually), and sets about wooing her. He isn’t put off by the potential objections of her parents on religious grounds, although he is really bothered by the fact that she’s a year older than him. Huh?

He’s also not put off by the fact that she’s not interested in him. Sachin waits outside their shared apartment complex for Jessie, follows her to work, even travels across the country to see her, despite her protests to leave her alone. On their train journey back to Mumbai from Kerela, he ignores his pledge to just be friends and forcefully kisses her as she tries to push him away.

Sachin offers this defense when Jessie gets upset over his unwanted physical contact: “We were friends, but then I saw you, and I forgot about it.”

Sachin’s feelings of lust for Jessie convince him that they are a sign of his destiny. Because he feels urges, it is divine will that they be satisfied. If Jessie objects, it’s just because he hasn’t sufficiently convinced her that his understanding of the cosmic order is the correct one.

That’s not the logic of a romantic hero. That’s the logic of a rapist.

Furthering the insult to women everywhere, Jessie eventually confesses that her protestations were really her way of masking the true love she instantly felt for Sachin. Take heart, spurned lovers! When a woman says, “No!”, she really means, “Yes! I love you!”

The pain of being subjected to the archaic attitudes toward women in Ekk Deewana Tha is compounded by the fact that the film is mind-numbingly boring for all of its 137 minutes. When not being sexist and offensive, the movie spends its time being long-winded and banal, as Sachin and Jessie talk about how much she likes math and how many movies she’s seen. Listening to them was more like being forced to overhear boring restaurant conversation from a nearby table than witnessing dialogue written by a professional screenwriter.

A strong background knowledge of Bollywood is required to understand the endless, pointless movie references in Ekk Deewana Tha. Likewise, references to language differences between Hindi and Malayalam are lost on English speakers reliant upon subtitles. McDonald’s and Gloria Jeans product placements aside, this is not a film made for an audience outside of India, and Indian audiences deserve better than this.

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9 thoughts on “Movie Review: Ekk Deewana Tha (2012)

  1. Keyur Seta

    I saw some part of this movie and I was really put off by Sachin’s desperate measures. It was clearly not love! I am glad someone has highlighted this fact! Kudos πŸ™‚

    By the way, Sachin was a Maharashtrian (Marathi) Hindu guy and Jessie was a Malayalam (a South Indian language) Christian girl. Therefore, the language differences (as mentioned in the last paragraph) are between Hindi and Malayalam. Just pointing it out πŸ™‚

    Cheers πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Kathy Post author

      Thanks for noticing my mistake on the languages, Keyur! πŸ™‚ I made the corrections in the review. This further proves my point that this is a film ill-suited for a non-Indian audience (or any audience, really).

      Ekk Deewana Tha is so boring that I almost stopped watching after about thirty minutes, but then Sachin’s demeanor changed. Instead of just staring moon-eyed at Jessie, Sachin gets mad, saying things like (I’m paraphrasing), “I didn’t choose to fall in love, it just happened. You need to be with me!” The aggressive way he talks to Jessie about his “love” for her — as though she’s already his possession — sounds like dialog for a movie villain, not a hero. He’s a stalker, and that’s never an attractive or noble quality.

      Reply
      1. Keyur Seta

        Hahaha! “The aggressive way he talks to Jessie about his β€œlove” for her β€” as though she’s already his possession β€” sounds like dialog for a movie villain, not a hero.” Well said, Kathy πŸ™‚ I saw these scenes and felt the same.

        Sachin’s desperate measures and logic are so similar to the guy who had fallen for one of my closest friends. I am so glad she didn’t get carried away πŸ˜€

        And you most welcome πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. Kathy Post author

          Thanks, Keyur! πŸ™‚ Ekk Deewana Tha showcases an extreme example of a common shortcut screenwriters use when writing for female characters. The female lead herself has to be beautiful, smart, and sassy but demure in order for the male lead to fall in love with her, but all that’s required for the woman to fall in love is for the man to love her. Nothing else about him matters. He can be a horrible person, but as long as he loves the woman, he is worthy of being loved. It’s one of my most hated shortcuts.

          Reply
  2. Jeff Gibson

    Hi Kathy,

    Having recently watched the 2010 Tamil version called Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa(Will you cross the skies for me?) and having not seen this Hindi remake, I can only think that the direction and actor performances must be the reasons you found it so distasteful.

    I watched the Tamil version for a 2nd time last night just to confirm my take on the screenplay and can’t see too much wrong with the scenes you seem to dislike most.
    The character development in the Tamil film certainly allows for the train scene to play out the way it does. Also the reveal after the wedding was cancelled that she loves him comes across to me as the last piece of character development in a really tight script and good performances by ‘Young Super Star’ Silambarasan(love the South hero titles) and Trisha Krishnan thus far.

    It also has to be said, your take on the religious differences not having much of an influence on the character paths is in stark contrast to what I felt while watching the Tamil version.
    I felt the tempered outbursts were aimed more at Jessies blind faith in here familys wishes and only reinforced the enormity of what they were up against from the start.

    I’d also hasten to say that the different ending in the simultaneously filmed Telugu and Tamil versions may well contain the most tragic part of this film for a western viewer.
    Without giving too much away, I centainly lost all sympathy for Jessie right at the very end, but not for the obvious reason.

    Reply
    1. Kathy Post author

      Hi Jeff,

      Greater emphasis on the importance of faith in Jessie’s family would’ve enriched the story. In the Hindi version, the emphasis is more on the upheaval caused by her sister’s decision to elope, and her unwillingness to put her family through that again. In that regard, her hesitancy makes sense. I only learned about the alternate, not-so-happy ending to the Hindi version after I’d returned the DVD to the library. I’m not sure if it’s even on the DVD, but I’d be interested to see it.

      My problem wasn’t with the acting or directing in Ekk Deewana Tha but with Sachin’s character. His pursuit of Jessie is terrifying. A woman is pursued by a man who lives in the same apartment building. Despite her requests for him to stop, he follows her everywhere: to work, out with her friends, even to another state. There is nowhere she can go to escape him. When he’s confronted about his actions, he physically assaults his accusers, even though one of the accusers is the woman’s brother, a potential in-law (assuming marriage is his goal). When he finally gets the woman alone in a confined space, he kisses her again her will. Such a man is a violent stalker and a sexual predator, not a romantic hero.

      Jessie’s “I loved you all along” turn at the midway point doesn’t excuse Sachin’s actions to that point. She said, “No,” and he forced himself on her anyway. According to the logic of this movie, any rapist could excuse his actions by saying, “I was sure she was going to come around eventually.”

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Worst Bollywood Movies of 2012 « Access Bollywood

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