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Ek Villain Review: Love Story Is The Biggest Villain Here



Old habits die hard. Director Mohit Suri is infamous for ripping off foreign films scene-to-scene without crediting them. He did it with his debut Zeher (Hollywood film “Out Of Time”), Awarapan (South Korean film “A Bittersweet Life”), Murder 2 (South Korean film “The Chaser”) and Aashiqui 2 (Hollywood film “A Star Is Born”). This time, he’s back with Ek Villain, ripped off from South Korean film “I Saw The Devil”.

South Koreans specialize in these kind of films: making dark, edge-of-the-seat thrillers. Bollywood, on the other hand, modifies these films into pale, center-of-the-seat melodramatic love stories. This is exactly what happens here. Mohit Suri rips off the impacting thriller elements scene-by-scene, dialogue-by-dialogue. Then he adds unnecessary love stories to dilute that impact, and deludes himself into thinking that nobody would be able to recognize the original film.

This “brand new” film is about a “villain” who is hunting for another “villain”, who killed the first villain’s wife, who was trying to make the first villain a hero against his wish. All the while, the second villain wants nothing more than to be a hero in the eyes of his wife, and achieve that, he does the above-mentioned villainous deeds. The key word here is “villain”, a word that is spoken about 2 dozen times throughout the film to impress upon you how different this film is by having no heroes.

The first villain is Sidharth Malhotra, a former goon who is transformed by love. In the original film, this character was a secret agent, which made his descent into maddening thirst for vengeance all the more compelling. Changing him into a goon on the mend could’ve worked too, if it were done to give the character different dimensions rather than to tell a love story in flashbacks. A better actor might’ve still done justice to this role, brought depth to it, but Sidharth Malhotra looks as out of depth as ever. He looks the part of a goon, with the stubble and the tattoos, but he just cannot act, even if there were a gun to his head. He isn’t able to emote the myriad of emotions that his character is going through: sorrow, anger, loss, bloodlust, guilt. Even in the action scenes, he just looks tired, lethargic, downright lazy.

Shraddha Kapoor plays his lover, who is dying of some disease whose name is never mentioned throughout the film. Maybe the director didn’t want to burden us with that knowledge. Or maybe he didn’t want to be biased and choose one disease over the other. This character is uncharted territory for the director, since the original film never expanded on the love story of the 2 leads. And this is easily the worst part of the film. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Shraddha Kapoor. She’s beautiful, cute and charming all at the same time, but she is irritating as fuck in this film. Her character is incessantly whining about something or the other, mouthing Mother Teresa-type dialogues about love and forgiveness, or simply cracking annoying jokes.

Star of the show is, without a shadow of a doubt, Riteish Deshmukh. He is saddled with the toughest role and weird colored eye lenses, but he pulls it off despite all odds. While the villain’s motive was never explained in “I Saw The Devil”,  the director gives the villain a lot more meat here. While it takes away the mystery and devilish streak from the character and humanizes him, it does give us a peek into his psyche, which makes for interesting viewing. I always felt that Riteish Deshmukh had the range of a better actor than he is thought to be by others, and he proves me right by giving a stellar performance. He  goes from menacing to innocent in the blink of an eye.

Despite all of the director’s misgivings, the movie still remains periodically compelling in scenes that are faithful to the original film. The good music adds value to the film, while Riteish Deshmukh holds the film together with his histrionics. Apart from the climax, any other changes made are for the worse. I would recommend for you to watch the original South Korean film. But if not, rest assured, Ek Villain is not the worst piece of cinema you’ll watch all year.

Rating: 5.5/10

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Hasee Toh Phasee Review : Sidharth Malhotra Needs Revital Pills & More


Okay. First things first, I want to get this out of the way: this movie has the worst fucking title in the history of titles. It has absolutely no relevance to what happens in the film. The words “Hasee Toh Phasee” are just said out alo…


..ud twice by a secondary character with a lisp, who I suspect was added to the film solely for the purpose of establishing a link between the film and the title.

The film begins with Sidhharth Malhotra about to marry his girlfriend of 7 years when her sister (Parineeti Chopra), a runaway from home, returns to the scene. Adding to the problems is that she is on some kind of pills that lead her to act strangely.

In his debut film, director Vinil Matthews deserves a lot of credit. He gives the movie an unconventional setting, with the film not being a typical girl-meets-boy story. It’s more like girl-meets-boy-love-prospective-marriage-boy-meets-sister-love-marriage. He also mana…


…ges to keep all the cards to his chest for the majority of the duration.

He is in no hurry to throw the 2 leads into romance anytime soon. In fact, the romantic feelings surface well into the second half of the film. He and screenplay writer Harshavardhan Kulkarni let events take their own course, concentrating on Parineeti looking to mend things with her father first. They rely heavily on Parineeti Version 2.0 (when she’s on the pills) to create most of the laughs. And wow, does she manage to do that. As the drugged-up, neurotic…


version of the character, Parineeti is a riot. From the body language to the expressions, she’s just exemplary in those portions. When she’s off the pills, she’s a complete contrast, solemn and sweet, which makes the whole scenario even more funny. Parineeti Chopra has managed to give 4 fantastic performances in as many films, which is 2 more than her sister Priyanka has managed to give in her entire career.

Sidharth Malhotra, on the other hand, seems lethargic at best. He’s expressionless…


…hardly moves if he doesn’t have to and delivers most dialogues in a monotone. He got away with it in his debut, since he had Varun Dhawan to be compared with. But opposite Parineeti, who has frantic and infectious energy that spills over out of the screen, he looks as comfortable as if he was caught in public with his underwear around his knees.


Blemishes in the film? The whole Republic of China subplot is amusing at first, but it gets a bit tiresome by the end. Also, there are too many songs in the last quarter of the film, which slows down the pace of the film (although, it’s after a long time that Vishal-Shekhar have impressed me with a film soundtrack, with “Drama Queen” and “Ishq Bulaava” being exceptional songs). Finally, the ending is a tad clichéd, especially since the director had managed to keep away from predictability till that point.

So, I saw this film in an almost empty multiplex screen, and I don’t blame people for not being interested in watching this film. After watching the terrible trailer, I had no intention of watching this film, till motherly affection got the better off me. From the point I sat on that seat before the film began, I didn’t regret a single moment of having watched this film. It’s fun, whacky, full of clever characters (including a guy who breaks into Anu Malik songs on the drop off a hat), and is the most fun you’ll have in a cinema hall for some time to come. A character in the film says that pimples break out on her face if she watches a film in 3D. It’s the same with me, 3D is terrible. But this film isn’t in 3D. So, preserve your skin, go with your family and enjoy this joyride, if only for Parineeti’s smashing performance and a confident debut by director Vinil Matthews.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Top 5 Films of the Year 2013

The year that passed was a year of extremities. On the one hand, there was a benchmark number of really bad films that made me want to gouge my eyes out. On the other hand, more and more  experimental films were made and with great results. Here is the list of the top five films of the year in reverse, according to me. While many people out there wouldn’t agree with it, we’ll just have to agree to disagree:

(5) Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola: matru-ki-bijlee-ka-mandola-2a

One of the first and one of the best films of 2013, this black comedy/political satire was a fine example of what is wrong with our country’s audiences. A superb film that didn’t really get all the appreciation it deserved, it was bolstered by Vishal Bhardwaj’s eye for dark humor and Pankaj Kapoor’s fantastic, fantastic comic timing in a performance that certainly deserves all the awards, but might end up not getting any at all.

(4) The Lunchbox:  M_Id_422534_The_Lunchbox

A film that was certainly the most suitable candidate for India’s entry to the Oscars, it ended up being embroiled in a controversy instead. Akin to Dhobhi Ghat, another fantastic but even further less commercial film, it left a many people in the audience simply stunned as to the pointlessness of it all and it’s abrupt ending. But for the thinking and discerning film goers, it proved to be a wealth of cinematic joy, providing a peek into what love stories of ordinary people look like. It only helped that it had Irrfan Khan in the lead, a guy who could give a clap-worthy  performance as a corpse.

(3) Go Goa Gone: M_Id_380890_Go_Goa_Gone_Saif_Ali_Khan

Who would’ve thought Saif Ali Khan could ever be a part of one of the best films of the year? Introducing a completely new genre of films to Indian audiences, zombie-comedies, and merging it with slacker elements and stoner comedy, it was a laugh-a-minute ride without ever resorting to  slapstick humor. It left room open for a sequel, which might not come to fruition considering it’s lukewarm commercial success. Sad.

(2) Ghanchakkar: 141817e278a6197d98ad053c8dc3e0af_ft_xl

Take Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, multiply the hilarity and awesomeness by 2 and multiply negative audience feedback by 10, and you’ll get Ghanchakkar. Probably the most hilarious and the smartest black comedy to come out of India, it was sufficient proof that Aamir and No One Killed Jessica weren’t a fluke for director Raj Kumar Gupta, who has managed to impress me with every single film he has made. While I was quite disheartened by the poor reception of this film, I find solace in the fact that this is one of those films that would be reevaluated years later and dubbed a cult classic that was “misunderstood” at the time of its release.

(1) Lootera: lootera-wallpaper-15-12x9

It was a close contest between this film and Ghanchakkar, but ultimately Lootera won the race simply due to the effect it had on me. Beautifully filmed, poignant and heart-rending, Vikramaditya Motwane’s follow-up to the now-classic Udaan was every bit as charming as the latter. Partly inspired from the book “The Last Leaf”, it told it’s story with an old-world charm in the first half and portrayed the protagonists’ anguish to perfection in the second half. All those who complained about the slow pace of the film, maybe this film wasn’t for them, and maybe they should stick to crappy “fast-paced” films like Dhoom 3. But all those who really love movies and missed out on this gem of a film, do try to watch the best film of the year one way or another, and with an open mind.

Honorable mentions:

Jolly LLB:

India’s first legal comedy, it mixed patriotic elements very well with the entertainment factor. With excellent performances across the board and Subhash Kapoor firmly in charge as the director, it was one of the most memorable films this year.

Madras cafe:

Although John Abraham may be a terrible actor and gave a performance with the expressions of a tree trunk in this film, he has balls of steel in the capacity of a producer. An extremely bold film, it was a major step in the right direction for espionage thrillers in Bollywood.

Aashiqui 2:

Although initially intentioned to cash in on the popularity of Aashiqui and make easy money, the producers ended up making a very decent film. Great music, good drama and decent performances; that’s at least 2 extra merits than most “blockbusters” out there.

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