When it comes to romantic films, some things never change for us – Yet again the lead pairs sing when they get drunk at foreign location, yet again they end up sharing a bed and don’t make out, yet again they deny their love, yet again Kareena Kapoor plays Geet, yet again Imran Khan plays a heroine, yet again we find solace in smart editing, aesthetic cinematography, good performances, and confident direction. The film, Ek Mein Aur Ek Tu is no exception, but does give you value for your time and money.
Shakun Batra, a first-time director, who has been Assistant Director in films like Don and Rock On, and even played a cameo in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na, in his interview for a leading magazine quoted that he was very clear about the kind of film and aesthetic treatment for it, making it a slightly non-plot film, where characters do more of the talking ala Woody Allen films.
Well, if there’s where the director was heading forth, he’s bang on. The statement should have been a disclaimer in the beginning of the film, rather than a ‘three types of kids’ narration of a non-plot story that chronicles two weeks in the life of Rahul Kapoor (yet again, we have a lead with the name of Rahul) jab he met Riana Braganza (yet again, Kareena Kapoor plays over the top hero).
If Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Clockwork Orange’ was about reforming a wild teen through psychological conditioning, Shakun Batra’s ‘Ek Mein Aur Ek Tu’ is just the other way round. The treatment of the film is undoubtedly HS (High Standard, if you remember Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai), but the characters seem caricatures. For instance, Imran Khan wears an expression that reads: I am a good boy and will underplay my role unless when asked to dance or get drunk. Kareena Kapoor’s face screams: I am a cool girl and overplaying my role is my birthright. Ratna Pathak Shah’s face reads: The brief is loud and clear folks – I am playing Mrs. Sarabhai. Boman Irani’s face reads: I am a businessman playing the role of Pran in Sharabi or every other rich dad in a Hindi film.
If Kapoors are staid, the Braganzas are chilled out, especially the actor who plays Riana’s dad. The warmth and ambience of the Braganza home evokes memories of ‘uthe sabke kadam’ from Baaton Baaton Mein. The music of Ek Mein Aur Ek Tu is foot-tapping, peppy, heart-warming, and lilting – all at the same time, which has consistently been so, every time Amit Trivedi’s guitar strings have locked horns with Amitabh Bhattacharya’s keyboard. The duo seems to be having fun weaving screenplay of the film in guise of music and lyrics. The music does result into ‘uthe sab ke kadam’ moments, be it the foot-tapping ‘Auntyji’, pepply ‘Talli hai zameen’, heart-warming ‘Gubbaare’, and lilting ‘Aahatein’.
The highpoint of the film is undoubtedly the outburst scene of Rahul Kapoor in the climax during the deal-dinner with his parents and family friend, which includes a woman pouncing upon him stealthily. Unlike other films, the scene doesn’t ensue to a change of heart for his parents. This is subtly hinted when the character of Ratna Pathak Shah wonders, “What’s wrong with chopsticks?” The film has a core message and it delivers without much ado. The film, like its lead character, doesn’t try going overboard, get melodramatic, exaggerate, or bore you. It just remains the way Raina rates Rahul: Perfect Average.