Film Review: 'Ek Villain'
Opened: 27 June 2014
Cast: Riteish Deshmukh, Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Aamna Sharif, Shaad Randhawa, Kamaal R Khan, Remo Fernandes, Prachi Desai
Director: Mohit Suri
Producer: Balaji Motion Pictures
With a principal character bumped off in the film’s first few minutes, you have to hand it to them. Conventional Ek Villain most certainly is not. But alas, that doesn't imply it's a great film by any means.
With an interesting premise, chartbusting melodies, top notch promotion, a cast whose stars are on the rise and a director who had a sleeper hit in the form of last year’s Aashiqui 2, the expectations from this dark romantic thriller were rather high, but ultimately it turns out to be nothing more than an overstuffed, mediocre paratha – all the right ingredients, and yet it still doesn’t quite hit the spot.
Director Mohit Suri seems to revel in exploring troubled characters with shades of grey and he’s done more of the same here too. In Ek Villain, Sidharth Malhotra gets to (or tries to) shed his cute puppy dog image by exploring his dark side as Guru, a reformed gangster with a troubled past and explores his doomed love story with an annoyingly boisterous Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor). Intertwined into their bitter sweet tale is a parallel revenge saga between Guru and an average, albeit disturbed and twisted middle class man, Rakesh (Riteish Deshmukh, cast out of turn and probably the film’s biggest USP).
I really wanted to like Ek Villain. It’s been on my wishlist for a while, but the end result turns out to be quite a spectacular disappointment.
There are so many redundant sub-plots woven into the narrative (Remo Fernandes’ and Kamaal R Khan’s tracks being prime examples), that after a while I began to lose track of who’s out to get whom and why, and what’s worse is I didn't really give a toss either way.
The protagonist’s love story remains unconvincing right till the end and Rakesh’s deadly motives remain unclear and are never quite explained fully. As an aside, I think his character should have been kept completely away from the film’s promotions and under wraps to retain its element of surprise, because once you get wind of the film’s plot (and that’s rather early on in the film), it all goes pretty much downhill from there on. It doesn’t help that Suri allowed some serious WTF scenes to pass through to the final cut of the film either. Sample the scene where Guru brings back Rakesh from the dead with just a violent jab of a dubious looking syringe. Err okay.
Of the cast, Sidharth Malhotra tries valiantly to carry the weight of his complex character, and very nearly succeeds. He does well in a few of the emotional scenes, but he’s just too much of a pretty boy to convince us that he’s the badass he’s supposed to be playing. Shraddha Kapoor is perhaps the film’s biggest disappointment, especially since more was expected from her post her heart rendering turn as Arohi in Aashiqui 2. She’s consistently hyper behaving like she’s on Prozac in the film's earlier portions, but does come into her own in its emotional sequences which are undoubtedly her forte, but by then it’s much too late. Riteish Deshmukh turns out to be the film’s biggest surprise as a cold hearted psychopath delivering its brighter and more interesting moments, but even he can’t pull off some of the ridiculous lines given to him in the penultimate scenes. As I said, the film is stuffed with unnecessary characters none of whom leave any impact. Both Remo and Kamaal R Khan are downright AWFUL, while Aamna Sharif and Shaad Randhawa just about struggle to make the cut. Prachi Desai tries hard to do the ‘good girl gone bad’ routine with her item number that’s supposed to sizzle, but does anything but. It has too much of ‘Ram Chahe Leela’ (Ram-leela) hangover for my liking. Right down to the choreography and styling to the tattoos around her navel to entice us, it's all there but it makes nearly zero impact especially since Priyanka Chopra brought the house down in the former number not too long ago.
It isn’t all bad news though. Ankit Tiwari’s lilting melodies and their striking picturisation provide huge respite in the otherwise sombre proceedings and there are a few scenes like Aisha’s tearful farewell at the train station that leave a lasting impact. And all said and done, credit where it’s due, even if the film is a rip off of a Korean film, at least Ekta Kapoor and co. tried to be different and think outside the box.
I’m going with two and a half stars for Ek Villain. Sure it’s different, but ultimately it’s an over-plotted, inconsistent mess that buckles under the weight of its own expectations and hype.