Star cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Riteish Deshmukh, Shraddha Kapoor, Kamaal Rashid Khan, Aamna Sharif, Shaad Randhawa, Remo Fernandes
Director: Mohit Suri
What’s Good: Sidharth’s brooding painful anger, Riteish’s baffling brilliance and mostly Mohit Suri’s direction that tackles the story with care, ensuring its every bit fantastic.
What’s Bad: Barely anything. Probably the film’s ending is expected but after the high of the climax, the last scene settles for being even more mesmeric.
Loo break: None. You’ll miss something vital I assure you.
Watch or Not?: Ek Villain folds out quite contrary to its simplistic name. Told with an even pitch, the film isn’t anything like the run-in-the-mill stories we are subjected to watch every week. This is sheer compelling commercial cinema that has a lucid story and its heart in the right place, without indulging in anything stoop! Mohit Suri doesn’t depend on ‘signpost’ characters; surprising and gratifying you in equal measures. I don’t even care if this film is a rip off of some obscure Korean flick, this is a smashingly effective one! The film’s riveting rhythm, breathtaking performances especially from Sidharth and Riteish and the fantastic writing makes for a magnificent, racy and emotional watch.
Guru (Sidharth) is a gangster who works for the mafia man Caesar (Remo Fernandez). His dark past haunts him incessantly. But as fate would have it, his life crosses path with Aisha (Shraddha) the bubbly, vivacious girl who changes his life, adding sunshine to his morose being .
The cold blooded murderer undergoes a stark transformation as love changes him completely. Just when the two were beginning to settle down into a happy, blissful married life, Aisha falls prey to a catastrophic event. Guru is lost without the love of his life and is determined to hunt down the culprit.
Guru does find the miscreant Rakesh (Riteish) but cannot understand the reason behind his psychopathic nature. Does Guru understand Rakesh’s motives behind killing Aisha? Does Guru manage to get even with Rakesh? And mostly does Guru return to his dark, sinister world or carry forward in Aisha’s path of pristine living?
Ek Villain Review: Script Analysis
I don’t know how to be careful here without letting out spoilers but I will do my best at it. The film begins with the massive catastrophe which forms the pivot of the story. Interestingly Mohit adapts a smart reverse narration strategy this time, which works in favor of his film. Beginning with how a local Goa based Gangster Guru falls for the vivacious and visibly bubbly Shraddha, the film completely changes its tone in spurts. Ranging from melancholy to anguish, pain and anger, the film’s characters exhibit myriad hues. When there is even an ounce of sympathy for a psychopathic killer, it is not hard to pin point that the filmmaker has done his job bang on.
Unlike the persistently grey films of Suri we have watched earlier, there is too much optimism, hope and love in this one. The romance between Guru and Aisha is probably not a novel one, involving the regular bad-guy-turns-good-for-the-girl staple but Tushar Hirannandani’s writing infuses a certain degree of freshness to their chemistry. She is a dying, rampantly joke cracking, chatterbox with an unmissable shrill voice. He is a brooding, murderous gangster. But something clicks. The backstory of Guru’s troubled past comes handy here as Aisha walks into his life like ‘sunshine’. At a cue Aisha tells Guru, that he never stopped being the 8 year old who witnessed his parents’ death. A special mention here goes to dialogue writer Milap Zaveri, who has penned down unusually tender lines that furthered the pull between its leads. He is bloody brilliant when not offensive.
Diverting from the usual revenge dramas, the film’s narrative keeps the past and the present running parallel. The script is structured in such a way that at no point do these converge unnecessarily. While Aisha’s presence changed Guru into a different man altogether, the attack on her brings out the bloodthirsty cannibal in him. He is hungrily looking for the assailant who you know has no chance of getting away easy. The culprit, Rakesh is a character who will evoke pity. Facing flak at work from bosses to being the constant victim of an over-expecting wife’s nagging, the story captures Rakesh’s side to graphic detail.
The gory bits of the film falls straight out of the intriguing plot of the movie. But nothing here is unwarranted. In the pre-climax scene, where Riteish is instigating Sidharth to kill him, the psychopath’s plea is so simple. He wants to die a hero in his wife’s eyes. All he wants is to hear ‘I love you’ from her! The aspirations of a man who kills at his whims isn’t anything even close to lofty. The thoroughly deranged psychopath wins in that one scene. The final fight sequence is high timbre drama and by the time the end credits roll down, it will be hard to refrain from being overwhelmed.
Ek Villain Review: Star Performances
Sidharth Malhotra catapults himself ahead of all the young actors around, upping himself above the league of actors he is associated with. It would be an understatement to say he is superlative. He is beyond that. In one of the romantic songs, where a gangster is falling in love with a woman, the actor’s expressions are accurate. He stares at her like I would at a trigonometry sum : with confusion, puzzled and lost. He even gets to do an Amitabh Bachchan from Shehenshah and the angry young man look and feel is fantastic. Exhibiting each emotion from heartbreak to pain to anger with such faultless ease, Malhotra is gloriously sensational.
Riteish Deshmukh doesn’t remain far behind matching up to him. He is tremendously wicked and the plainness in his eyes have a haunting quality. He talks to his victims after he murders them, telling them about his nagging wife and about how much he loves her. There is no sexual attraction between him and his victims but Riteish does bring out on his face superbly the peace after a murder. He looks positively rejuvenated and I don’t think anyone else would have been able to play this role with such perfection. Deshmukh invests himself completely to the skin of his character and he is every bit damn good!
Shraddha Kapoor talks too much in the film and that’s the most pertinent observation. Filling in perfectly into her role, she is way better than Aashiqui 2. She fits into her character very neatly and does a stellar job. Her chemistry with Sidharth is dreamy and memorable. Convulsing in her near death throes, Shraddha stole the scene and heightened the impact manifolds.
Aamna Sharif makes a re-entry on the silver screens after a while and she still has the impromptu quality of delivering well. She is memorable and justifies the reason for Riteish’s pent up frustration.
Kamaal Rashid Khan makes for good comic relief and he even gets to use his iconic #2RsPpl phrase. I am sure that quite has him content for the day and he won’t be puking all over Twitter today!
Ek Villain Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
While the visible heroes might be Riteish or Sidharth, the driving wheel of this film is the captain of the ship, Mohit Suri. I have no qualms in stating that this is his best work till date. After disappointing me with his melodramatic mess in Aashiqui 2, Suri makes up for that and more by delivering one of the most stirring thrillers that I have watched in recent times. At so many places, Mohit shows how well he understands his characters. Riteish’s happiness at his wife professing her love to him at a grim moment when the Mumbai police is hunting for him, translates on celluloid the real motive of a cold blooded murderer. That scene is so wonderfully conceptualized that it isn’t difficult to fathom the psyche of Rakesh’s character. Rather on the contrary, you kind of empathize with him. We all have such traits buried in us deep down; just that we know how to tackle it better.
The film’s first hour is taut and the scene before interval where Riteish and Sidharth have a face off for the first time is again a memorable one. In the second half, the story probably was going the meandering way but the film’s coherent writing holds it in place. I was so thrilled to watch the momentous work here, where every scene says more than it lays out! And though I did see the last scene coming my way quite early in the film but the fact that Suri mounts it so handsomely, that it works.
Ek Villain Review: The Last Word
Ek Villain is an indulgent affair that breaks down the boundaries of regular thriller. Mohit Suri has raised the bar with this film that is captivatingly shot and crisply edited. At 2 hours, 7 minutes, the film benefits from the inspired lucidity in writing and dialogues. But mostly, it is the unpredictable skin Sidharth and Riteish don in this film that pulls the carpet from under your feet. Their phenomenal performances remain the movie’s most enticing bit and the reason why I am going to watch this once again. Going with a 4/5, this is one heady film with the desired punch.
Ek Villain Trailer
Ek Villain releases on 27th June, 2014.
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