Tag Archives: Ekk Deewana Tha

Movie Review: Raanjhanaa (2013)

Raanjhanaafilmposter2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

What a difference perspective makes. Had Raanjhanaa been told from the point of view of Sonam Kapoor’s character, Zoya, it would’ve been a horror movie along the lines of Fatal Attraction.

Instead, the main character in Raanjhanaa is a scrappy guy named Kundan (Dhanush). He’s supposed to be a tragic romantic hero, but he’s actually a stalker so possessive of Zoya that he destroys her life.

Their one-sided romance starts harmlessly enough. Muslim Zoya and Hindu Kundan grow up in the same neighborhood. He flirts with her, and she doesn’t discourage him. Things progress as far as a hug before her parents learn of it and send her away. Kundan vows to wait for her forever, even though he’s only in tenth grade, and she’s in ninth.

Eight years later, Zoya returns and doesn’t recognize Kundan. When he reminds her that he’s the reason she was sent away, her memory sparks, but romance does not. She laughs off his marriage proposals and makes it clear that he resides in The Friend Zone.

Besides, Zoya is in love with someone else: Akram (Abhay Deol), a politically active classmate from college. Akram is everything that Kundan is not: rich, principled, educated, and motivated. Zoya says that she loves Akram because he treats her as an equal, not as an object of worship or a trophy to be guarded.

Kundan doesn’t take the hint and instead acts like a manipulative drama queen. He slits his wrists, then stages a sham marriage to his childhood friend, Bindiya (Swara Bhaskar) to try to make Zoya jealous. This is particularly cruel because Kundan knows that Bindiya is in love with him. Ultimately, Kundan robs Zoya of her home, family, love, and future, all because she doesn’t love him in return.

What makes Raanjhanaa more interesting than another recent stalker-as-hero movie, Ekk Deewana Tha, is that the movie acknowledges that Kundan is in the wrong. He recognizes his mistakes, and justice is served in the end.

Yet the fact that the story is told from Kundan’s perspective is problematic. Most of the movie’s second half is about Kundan trying to redeem himself in Zoya’s eyes, though his actions are heinous enough that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. The fact that he believes his actions are motivated by love is itself a kind of self-administered absolution, a shield for behavior that would otherwise be deemed evil. Perhaps the story might have been more satisfying had Kundan realized during his atonement that what he feels for Zoya is obsession, not love.

The story is all the more tragic because Kundan is a different, more endearing person when he’s with his friends, Bindiya and Murari (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub). He’s more relaxed and playful, and the three share a great rapport. One of the movie’s best scenes is when Bindiya reluctantly agrees to help Kundan and Murari sink one of Zoya’s potential suitors, a doctor, by turning a medical check-up into an x-rated encounter.

The acting is uniformly good. Sonam Kapoor gives Zoya depth and allows her to grow throughout the film. Dhanush also gives a strong performance. It was nice to see a couple of romantic leading men portrayed by actors who don’t look like professional bodybuilders, for a change.

Raanjhanaa is entertaining, even if it is troubling. Zoya spells out exactly what modern women want in a love interest. Time for filmmakers to write their leading men accordingly.


Worst Bollywood Movies of 2012

With only a few days remaining in 2012, it’s time to summarize the year in film. First up, my ten worst Hindi films of the year. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

There’s always room for unfunny comedies on my “Worst” lists, and 2012 produced some spectacularly bad ones in Housefull 2, Bumboo, and Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal.

Dramas like Department (which unintentionally veered into comedy territory) and Married 2 America also made the cut.

Some of the most disappointing films of 2012 were aimed at families with young children. Joker and Delhi Safari failed to appeal to both kids and adults alike.

A common thread among three of the worst films of the year is the cinematic treatment of violence against women, specifically sexual violence. The lead character in the revenge drama Hate Story is blamed for her own rape, pregnancy, and forced sterilization because she made the mistake of falling in love with an evil man who wanted to ruin her life.

In the inept horror movie Ghost, the torture and dismemberment of a woman named Mary Magdallen — a Biblical figure often portrayed as a prostitute — is depicted in vivid, lingering detail.

One film goes beyond just depicting women as victims deserving of mistreatment by men. It actually promotes a stalker and sex criminal to the status of hero. My Worst Bollywood Movie of 2012 is Ekk Deewana Tha.

Ekk Deewana Tha is so reprehensible because it thinks it’s a heartwarming romance about star-crossed lovers. In reality, the film’s hero, Sachin (Prateik) should be jailed for what he does to the object of his desire, Jessie (Amy Jackson). Jessie repeatedly tells Sachin not to pursue her romantically, which he does by tailing her to work and following her around their apartment complex. As in real life, Jessie’s reasons for telling him to back off are immaterial. “No” means no, or at least it should.

At one point when they are alone in a train compartment, Sachin kisses Jessie despite her objections. Why? Because she was just so pretty that he couldn’t help himself.

Ekk Deewana Tha has been the leading contender for my worst film of the year for a long time, but it’s even more appalling in light of the fact that an Indian gang-rape survivor is currently battling for her life in a Singapore hospital. (Update: the 23-year-old gang -rape victim has died.) The notion that men can take whatever they want from women without consequence — worse still, that a man’s ceaseless pursuit of an unwilling woman is somehow virtuous — needs to die. A meaningful first step is for Bollywood to stop making vile movies like Ekk Deewana Tha that turn rapists into heroes.

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2012

  1. Ekk Deewana Tha — Buy at Amazon
  2. Ghost — Buy at Amazon
  3. Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal — Buy at Amazon
  4. Delhi Safari — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  5. Joker — Buy at Amazon
  6. Hate Story — Buy at Amazon
  7. Married 2 America
  8. Department — Buy/rent at Amazon
  9. Bumboo — Buy at Amazon
  10. Housefull 2 — Buy/rent at Amazon

Previous Worst Movies Lists

Movie Review: Ekk Deewana Tha (2012)

Zero Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

“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.


Opening February 24: Jodi Breakers and Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya

Valentine’s Day has turned into a month-long event as Bollywood releases two more romantic comedies the weekend beginning Friday, February 24, 2012. Jodi Breakers stars R. Madhavan and Bipasha Basu as a pair of professional breakup artists.

Jodi Breakers opens on Friday at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 10 min.

Also opening on Friday at all of the above theaters is Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (TNLHG), which has a runtime of 2 hrs. 10 min. TNLHG stars Genelia D’Souza and Ritesh Deshmukh respectively as a rich girl who forces one of her father’s underlings to kidnap her in order to escape her arranged marriage. Click here for a national theater list.

Having earned $1,026,303 in its first two weeks in U.S. theaters, the romantic comedy Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu gets a third week at the South Barrington 30. The romantic drama Ekk Deewana Tha leaves Chicago area theaters after just one week.

Other Indian films playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Padmashree Bharath Dr. Saroj Kumar (Malayalam) and the Telugu movies Ishq, Love Failure, My Heart Is Beating, and Poola Rangadu.

Opening February 17: Ekk Deewana Tha

The poster for this week’s big Bollywood release, Ekk Deewana Tha, shrewdly bills the movie as “An A.R. Rahman & Javed Akhtar Musical,” highlighting its Oscar-winning composer and acclaimed lyricist rather than the movie’s relatively unknown stars.

Ekk Deewana Tha opens in the Chicago are on Friday, February 17, 2012 at three theaters: Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. EDT‘s official website has a national theater list. The movie is rated PG and has a runtime of 2 hrs. 20 min.

After posting respectable U.S. theater earnings of $637,100 in its first week, the romantic comedy Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu gets a second week at all of the above theaters. The revenge thriller Agneepath carries over for a fourth week at the South Barrington 30, having earned $1,912,870 from three weeks in the United States.

Other Indian movies showing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include the Telugu films Nippu and Poola Rangadu, as well as the Tamil movie Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi and its Telugu version, Love Failure.