Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu and Love
Image Credit: Every Film India

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu and Love

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There’s something a little odd about watching a film set in the Christmas and New Year period in February (okay, so the festive period was only a month ago, but still, a month feels like a long time).  But more odd – and perhaps welcoming – is seeing the character Rahul Kapoor grow up on screen.  

Dharma Productions has given us this character – the romantic cool hero – in films since Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), when he was famously played by Shahrukh Khan. In Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Imran Khan dons the role of a 25-year-old Rahul Kapoor, who is a little bit geeky, reserved and socially awkward, but pleasant nonetheless. More delightful, zany and full of life, is Kareena Kapoor as Riana Braganza, who literally lights up the screen (a little like Kareena as Geet Dhillon in Jab We Met).

Rahul has been brought up by two rich and demanding conservative parents, played satirically by Boman Irani and Ratna Pathak, who have set up a life and career path for him in pseudo-strict ways.  It comes as no surprise then that this is a major obstacle that Rahul has to overcome: he fittingly rebels against this upper middle class life map at a family dinner table where a future business and daughter-in-law deal is being set up.

And why does the socially awkward Rahul rebel, and so passionately too? Because of Riana Braganza of course – who almost forces herself into his life. They become friends, and Rahul falls in love with her (a situation presented lovingly through a pastiche of the song “Koi Mil Gaya” from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai at the crucial interval moment).  Alas, although Riana shows warmth, energy and an abundance of caring friendship towards Rahul, she isn’t in love with him.  Are they just friends then, or will they fall in love, making for a happy and conventional Bollywood climax? 

Dharma productions has over the past several years supported first time directors with scripts increasingly penned by writers who appear just as at home in urban India as they do in cosmopolitan cities of the West. As such, there are quite a few touching and contemporary moments in this film, filmed and given sound as part of a contemporary Bollywood that is increasingly vying for new audiences outside India and its regular diaspora territories.  Riana is a hair stylist and cuts Rahul’s average hairdo to make him look trendy. But, more importantly, the haircut helps Rahul to start to look and feel better about himself. Both characters endure a period of unemployment, but a credit card inspired ideology ensures that the lush and expensive creature comforts of a latter day Bollywood film, set primarily in Las Vegas, are abundantly still on show through the mise-en-scène.

Annoyingly, this is the second Dharma release this year I’ve seen where the subtitles have been omitted from the songs (Agneepath being the first). No! What are you doing?  The song lyrics are just as important a part as the dialogue in the film, and should be available for non-Hindi speakers. Come on Dharma Movies – sort this out, especially if you really are vying for new audiences for Bollywood cinema.

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is a charming and grown up film, worth seeing for Rahul’s development on screen (yes, we still get a soliloquy from him at the end – not really needed – just as we did when Shahrukh Khan also played this part in earlier films); and also for Kareena managing to look as radiant as ever, playing a character who has two false front teeth and a steel ball in one of her ankles.  This is a friendship that permits love.

Rajinder Dudrah is Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of Manchester, U.K., and author of 'Bollywood: Sociology Goes to the Movies.’

Comments
4
Laura Boyes
February 17, 2012 at 21:59

Dear Rajinder: Somehow, I think Karan Johar will listen to you long before he listens to me! But, I am happy to add my voice. Thanks! Laura

Rajinder Dudrah
February 16, 2012 at 14:54

Hello Laura – I have sent my film review via twitter to Karan Johar, Dharma Movies, and to UTV films at their twitter accounts asking them to kindly take note the issue of subititles missing from the songs. Hopefully, they will read and take notice. You can also email or tweet them too. Let’s start a cause… Regards, Rajinder

Laura Boyes
February 15, 2012 at 21:00

I am also appalled that the songs were not subtitled in these two Dharma releases. It’s the same in the US. Often, the films that have Hollywood distributors are the culprits, Fox, or Viacom. My filmi Hindi is good enough for the romantic songs, but the comic songs suffer. I needed “Auntyji” to have subs! Don’t you know someone who knows someone to plead this case?

Zain
February 15, 2012 at 11:24

i’d really like to see indians make a movie of their own original concept and not for the first try to be inspired(copy) hollywood concepts. part of the movie is co-related with the hollywood movie ‘the proposal’ and also bit by bit with other movie concepts. Although i don’t have any doubt about the potential of indian cinema but they should really start making something of their own. Or have the indian cinema run out of concepts.

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