Ek Main aur Ekk Tu, 2012

Directed by: Shakun Batra

I had a very strange reaction to this film. When it ended I was more than elated, my heart was light, I was happy, content, thrilled. “Aww”, I thought, “love is so neat!”

Then I proceeded to cry my eyes out.

It was rather unfortunate that I chose that moment to lose my composure when the theatre lights were coming back up and everyone could see the sad, lonely gori girl. Emotions have a terrible sense of timing. It was a weird, PMS-y cry; happy, sad, full of loneliness, hope, despair and laughing. I needed a hug and a fat kiss on the lips… etc. If you’re a woman, you get that. Sigh.

Ek Main aur Ekk Tu is one of those films that hits all the right notes and is perfect in a way that I have only found Jab We Met to be perfect. Oh yeah, I’m putting them in the same category. Watch me now!

Rahul Kapoor (Imran Khan) is a 25 year old architect living his parents’ dream for him in Las Vegas.  After getting fired and feeling that he’ll never live up to their expectations he hides the truth while his parents visit during Christmas. After a rather debauch night out Rahul ties the knot in an Elvis-officiated wedding chapel on the Vegas Strip with Riana Braganza (Kareena Kapoor). Riana is a feisty, saucy, dramatic hairstylist. The movie follows the two weeks between their quickie marriage and annulment. The result, of course, is a heartbreakingly sweet story of friendship.

As is commonplace the story is told from the male’s perspective. It’s such an interesting flip from Hollywood RomComs which are typically told from the female prospective. One day, when I am feeling well rested and heavily caffeinated I’ll investigate this a little further. I find it so fascinating.

Digression aside, Imran Khan was spot on playing Rahul. He captured the awkwardness, social inhibitions and beleaguered neuroses of a man-child on the cusp of deciding whether to make his own life or live the one his parents have created for him. I had to laugh when I saw so many of my ex-boyfriends in his character. That may or may not say something about me that I am not willing to discuss here and now. Before his eventual emancipation under the watchful guidance of Riana you can see hints of “Free Rahul” under the surface. Sure, the guy irons his underwear and socks but you know there is a carefree, life loving man underneath his fear of living. I have to give Imran Khan applause for this role. The character is in no way new or fresh but the way he brings Rahul to life with the most subtle of ticks is endearing and worthy of praise.

In Ek Main aur Ekk Tu Bebo plays the role she was born to play. She’s high-spirited, whiney, selfish, demanding and sassy. It’s pure Kareena Kapoor. With her supportive family and non-nonsense personality she is an excellent foil to Rahul and arguably the best person suited to break down his very, very high walls.               When Rahul worries that he’s a failure she assures him that he is only 25 and his life is still very much in front of him. The two are a very good yin-and-yang that translates well on screen.

Probably the most astounding thing about this film is how one can relate to both of the main characters, not just separately, but almost simultaneously. Both Rahul and Riana are fleshed out, 3-D people who resonate well with certain 20-somethings in the audience who might struggle with a failure complex and have a habit of falling for best friends (ahem…) but there is a diversity of themes that are applicable to many people in all types of situations. If you think in one scene that you are Rahul, in the next you’re Riana. Sometimes, you’re both of them at the same time. It’s a very nice trick and helps you from getting too much involved in one character’s psyche. The two are very relatable and, through their skills in acting and the seamless nature of the screenplay, brought to life.

If nothing else, the essence of the relationship between the two characters impressed me the most. There was no overhanging threat of a marriage or some other sort of deadline to propel them into something they weren’t ready to handle. It was natural and easy. Realistic. Emphasis was placed on experiences and communication rather than declarations of love; the relationship was able to evolve naturally.

There was little to no other characters in the film, so there were no loose strings interrupting the story from progressing. The parents of both Riana and Rahul were there but they were hardly the focus. Even someone as impressive as Boman Imrani didn’t have the clout to draw away from the importance of Rahul and Riana’s storyline. The parents are important, yes, but they are not the focus.

This film has very clean production values and good pacing and vision, always a happy surprise from a first time director. One moment of Karan Johar-ing almost ruined it for me but when considered in proportion to the whole I couldn’t let it upset me too much.  I think, really, that Karan Johar hasn’t heard any other music but songs from his films and that is what keeps getting in the way of his mental development. If someone close to him could please steal his iPod and put new much on it, this gal would be much obliged.

Speaking of music, the tunes from this film are kind of … blah… On screen they work in context but during listens before and after seeing the film I found there is nothing really special about them. In no way was the music the focus of the movie and the soundtrack reflects that. They’re not terrible; they’re just not amazing either.

All in all Ek Main aur Ekk Tu is a sweet, charming film. Perfect for Valentine’s Day Week. Take your girlfriends, take yourself, take your romantic plaything and have a good time.

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