Prateik is that rare thing – an actor blessed with effortless charm. He doesn’t have to work too hard to make us like him. And even his obvious awkwardness in scenes that require more complex emotions becomes endearing. He brings a real sweetness to his character of Sachin, a young, middle-class, engineering student bitten by the movie bug, who dreams of someday directing his own film. Sadly however, Prateik’s charm isn’t enough to salvage this soggy love story that stretches beyond any reasonable limits of endurance.
Sachin falls in love with Jessie, a Malayali Christian girl, inexplicably played by a British model named Amy Jackson. Amy, who has done one film in Tamil, is slathered with make-up to brown her white skin. She is sufficiently attractive but why a British model should be cast as an Indian remains an enduring mystery. Her skin tone is inconsistent, her acting is indifferent and her dialogue, obviously dubbed. And that is only one of this film’s many problems. Ekk Deewana Tha is ostensibly about first love, which is thwarted here by religion, profession (her father believes that movies are sinful), language and culture. Director Gautham Menon, who has already made this film in Tamil and Telugu, sets up the differences well. There is a nice scene in which Sachin’s sister, upon hearing that Jessie has barely seen any films because her father is anti-cinema, frankly tells her brother ‘katley’. But then the love story, nurtured incredibly, by Sachin’s mentor-cinematographer who doubles up as love guru and financier of girl-chasing trips, meanders at a sluggish pace. We go back and forth between Kerala and Mumbai, love and break-up, until absolute exhaustion sets in. The indifferent music by A. R. Rahman doesn’t help. And just when you think it’s all over, the film moves into Rockstar territory -the trauma of love turns Sachin into an artist.
Menon struggles to achieve grand emotion but the story is thin and the telling, insipid. Ekk Deewana Tha requires enormous patience and a healthy appetite for love stories. If you possess either, check it out.
Two StarsTags: Amy Jackson Anupama Chopra Ekk Deewana Tha Gautham Menon Prateik Reviews