Ekk Deewana Tha is a tedious romcom

MUMBAI: Ekk Deewana Tha is supposed to be, as is the need of the times, a feel good film about an obsessive young romance. Spanning two hours twenty minutes, its lead pair Prateik and Amy Jackson account for and are burdened with most of the footage. Fresh star cast love stories usually go down well with the audience, but they need to be backed by a taut script, strong villain and, mainly great musical score. Ekk Deewana Tha alas, has none of these to offer.

Producer: Gautham Vasudev Menon, Reshma Ghatala, Venkat Somasundaram, Elred Kumar, Jayaraman.
Director: Gautam Vasudev Menon.
Cast: Prateik, Amy Jackson, Manu Rishi, Sachin Khedekar, Babu Antony, Ramesh Sippy (Guest App.).

Prateik is a jobless engineer but his heart is in filmmaking. While their flat is under redevelopment his family stays as tenants at a Juhu bungalow. Amy Jackson is the daughter of the bungalow owner Babu Antony - an orthodox Malayalee Christian occupying the upper floor in the same bungalow. When Prateik sees Amy Jackson for the first time, he is besotted. For Amy too it is love at first sight but she won‘t say so and rest of the film consists of her saying ‘I love you, I love you not‘ to the hero. The girl‘s father is anti-cinema due to which his daughter has seen all of five films in her 23 years of life. So much so that even though Antony lives in the same lane as Amitabh Bachchan he has never heard of him because he does not watch films!

Do you have to watch Hindi films to know who Amitabh Bachchan is? But this is the writer and director‘s idea of comedy. For the viewer this is the hint of what to expect as the film progresses. Actually the film unwinds but never really progresses.

While Amy Jackon works in an IT firm, unemployed Prateik mostly whiles away his time visiting film studios and hanging around his cinematographer friend in the hope of getting a break. He may be unemployed and living on his father‘s handouts but that does not stop him from taking flights or fuelling his bike to stalk his love. What works against Prateik is that Amy‘s father is anti-love marriage. It doesn‘t help that Prateik is a Hindu, unemployed, a year younger to the girl and is seeking a career in films.

Hence, when the father realises that his daughter has taken a fancy to this boy, he quickly packs bags to travel to Alleppy in Kerala, his native town and gets the girl married to an NRI. At this juncture, the film spends its one and only high point when the girl refuses to marry when the priest performing the ritual asks her as is the custom. For rest of the movie the girl continues with her yes and no to love even as they both sing dance around and even get drenched. The director seems to have lost sense of locations as scenes jump from one to another place. By this time the viewer has stopped caring any more.

Suddenly Amy Jackson vanishes, reported to be married and gone abroad. But there she is visiting the ultimate symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, where the hero also happens to go to scout locations for his maiden film based on his very own love story. And no, she is not married. Love has won and they decide to marry instantly, her father and his views, who she respected throughout the previous 130 minutes of this arduous film, be damned.

As the film opens, the boy‘s family is introduced as Maharashtrian Konkanstha Brahmin, but there hangs a huge portrait of Lord Shrinathiji on the wall, the deity of the Vaishnav sect. You know then that the director is not going to give much attention to details and just try to remake the film as it was in its Southern versions. The script is so loose it could easily have been compacted into a 25-minute TV episode. As the lead pair dominates most of the film the challenge proves too much for them. Pratiek‘s acting prowess, if any, is not evident anywhere. Amy Jackson looks pretty initially but that novelty soon wears off as her ability to express or emote is limited. Rest have little to contribute.

Ekk Deewana Tha is a tedious romcom poor in content and execution.
Sincere effort amid budget constraints

Producer: DNA Movies, Redcandy Films.
Director: Dilip Shankar.
Cast: Archana Joglekar, Raghubir Yadav, Chetan Pandit, Ashok Samarth, Akhilendra Mishra, Ganesh Yadav, Shweta Tiwari, Jackie Shroff.

The title suggests that Married 2 America should be some NRI story woven around America. The only relation the film and America have is that the couple is from America while the rest of it takes place in Darbhanga in Bihar. So the title may be grossly misleading.

Archana Joglekar is settled with her architect husband in the US. Married for five years she seeks love and affection from her husband, Chetan Pandit, who is always immersed in his computer and a spread of blueprints, even late at night when she wishes him to be next to her. She realises that she is being taken for granted and neglected. Just when she is finished roaming around the picturesque lanes of her city with a rather depressing song playing in the background, she gets a call from her husband asking her to pack his bags as he has to travel to India by first flight. That is the last she hears from him save for a fax message informing her that he is in trouble and won‘t be in touch. Instead of sitting and worrying, Archana Joglekar decides to travel to Darbhanga in Bihar and check into the very hotel her husband had sent her the fax message from.

She embarks on her own personal investigation to trace him. Chetan Pandit has come to Bihar because a massive dam his firm designed and built has broken down flooding many villages and killing hundreds. He is ready with his report for the failure of the gates when he is kidnapped by Jackie Shroff, a supposedly reformed dacoit. It would seem the failure of the dam has been deliberately engineered by the local Chief Minister and his cronies to claim the Rs 20 billion largesse from the federal government.

As Archana Joglekar sets out to investigate along with Raghubir Yadav, a local taxi driver, an attempt is made on her life which she survives but ends up in police chowky manned by a brutal and corrupt policeman. Help comes in the form of Ashok Samarth, a local warlord who shelters her from threats. But the kind host soon turns into a foe when he learns that she is the wife of the man who designed the dam which killed his wife and children, among others. The CM wants both the husband and wife killed; Jackie Shroff wants to trade them for some millions while Samarth also wants his revenge.

The end, as expected, exposes the scam. The husband married to his American way of life, where work comes to him before family, learns to value his wife.

The film is shot on real locations in Bihar but budget constraints show on the making as well as inability to get known faces to star in the film. Though the direction is sincere, this handicap tells. Some scenes are unnecessarily prolonged and can be snipped for better effect. Music is not of the popular kind, used mostly to express state of mind of the lead actor Archana Joglekar who looks past her prime. Her age shows. Among others, Ashok Samarth and Raghubir Yadav are effective while Jackie Shroff, Akhilendra Mishra and Chetan Pandit are okay.

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