… Rajeev Masand, ( www.rajeevmasand.com), notoriously feared and revered critic, who looks a bit like a pirate and writes with a pen in one hand and a swagger in the other, for once, gives an uplifting review. He reserves the right usually to polished foreign movie productions, American, mostly. That is, for as far as I can think back, in my six years of Bollywood infatuation. So, as the movie opens (unfortunately) to a lukewarm response, his review looks pretty encouraging.
Actually, his reviews are usually pretty much right on and it’s the first one I would turn to.
Here is my review:
So we watched EMAET this weekend with a group of Bollywood fans and we all loved it. Most gave it an 8/10. It’s light, breazy, and refreshing. With a bite. A nuanced look at the fringes of Indian society. We are not looking at India the way we know it, and so the story is placed strategically in Vegas, mostly. Even when it continues in India you feel you are looking at a different culture. The movie doesn’t have a distinct Indian identity, I guess that’s why it’s not so warmly embraced at the box office in India.
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is actually a wonderful character study with a hint of Oscar Wilde, if you consider what he poked fun of, and if he would have time-traveled to modern-day India. Relationships can take all forms. What is love anyway? and parents come only in two garden varieties: those with rules and those without.
Riana Briganza and Rahul both need therapy and that’s where they meet: at a shrink’s office in Vegas (btw, office that looks like more of an assembly-line of shrinks..) And when we get a (brilliantly picturized) look at Rahul’s past, we immediately understand why he needs therapy. Raised in a top-dysfunctional super wealthy Indian family, he is battling OCD and finding his own voice. Imran Khan is a blast to watch!! this is a genius performance on his part.
That the movie got just a lukewarm response in India just proves how conservative she still is at heart and I don’t think that will change so fast. Oh Karan Johar, my heart goes out to you. You are trying so hard to break the crusty shell of boy meets girl, they fall in love, marry, and will have at least two children. And in this movie, they do marry, but it’s a mistake.
That’s not the way India likes it. We want a traditional shaadi at the end and no promiscuity talk in families. We don’t like girls who go for what they want, or boys who don’t know how to handle love. Rahul is not exactly imbued with masculinity and Riana needs a break from love. On his journey to self discovery Rahul still remains the nerdy guy at the end, who women don’t take seriously, only in a dost-dosti way. But he is content, for the first time in his life. His OCD falls off like a ripe plum…on his way to normality (by the way, THAT doesn’t happen in real life…haha). Is he perfectly average? I don’t think so. He comes with heavy baggage… but I guess, after the credits roll, he will be all right.
I also enjoyed Kareena’s performance in this movie. Riana is the life of the party but she comes with introspection too, and her own little baggage. We learn a little bit less about her in the movie, her role more limited. She is still the little steam engine from Jab We Met, but it’s hot HER story. So we get only glimpses of what her life is all about. Because of the unusual lenience of her parents, she was placed in a (pretty gross) Christian minority household in the movie so that people wouldn’t take offense at alcohol consumption and relaxed standards about how to raise a girl… That was a clever little touch, Karan :-)
the movie is wonderfully shot. Rahul’s dysfunctional, ambitious parents were a joy to watch. Boman Irani as strict and ambitous father is as funny as he is scary! well done playing the father figure no one wants to have in life.
The last supper had me in stitches. Forks and chopsticks all have a place at the dinner table but can serve various uses. The movie is packed with clever situational comedy, which makes it so easy to watch.
One question I had at the end: the haute volee in India, is that a realistic picture? I am afraid yes.. it felt like watching a desi light-hearted version of a Fellini movie. and as such I kept thinking of these colorful characters long after the movie ended.
Bravo, Imran Khan. Thank you, Karan Johar, who might not have directed the movie but his signature is everywhere..