Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Kamal R Khan, Remo Fernandes, Shaad Randhawa
Direction: Mohit Suri
Mohit Suri has an exciting germ of an idea but instead of building on the suspense, the director bundles in every filmy element into ‘Ek Villain’. There is so much going on in this film that it leaves the viewer exhausted and exasperated.
Here’s a plot that needs to be moulded into an intriguing psychological thriller; a story that is crying out for a “different” approach but alas, it falls prey to the typical tried and tested formula.
For once the villain at hand has a very clear victimology, his psychosis has a definitive trigger and every kill is a false reaffirmation. It would have been interesting to see how this character developed from his first attack and how he is eventually found out. However, by the first half, Suri has already dished out both the conflict and a quick resolution, while the second half is a regular Bollywood revenge saga.
The biggest problem with ‘Ek Villain’ is that there is too little of too many things. While most films spend too much time on the foreplay, here we hurry towards an early climax. The film has interesting nuggets but the director doesn’t let you dwell on any emotion for long enough – the romance, the loss, the suspense, the chase, the redemption – it’s all over before you can soak it in. The overall effect is therefore, disjointed.
The characters could have been etched out and crafted as complex individuals. But the effect gets muted because we are not allowed to stay with them for long enough to feel their passion or their pain.
Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor) overdoes the chirpy, helpful girl-next-door part, often sounding squeaky and annoyingly preachy. She’s nothing like the Geet of ‘Jab We Met’ who seemed so natural as the bubbly Punjabi kudi.
This is Sidharth Malhotra’s first “angry young man” part and he essays an understated performance but he just can’t rise above the inept writing. A character with a troubled past, blinded by rage and grief needs a much more nuanced approach. His pain remains superficial at best.
Riteish Deshmukh’s character is definitely handled the best – we get an insight into his mind – we understand why a loving husband and father can also be brutal and ruthless. How our antihero is driven by the urge to become a hero in front of his wife, the pleasure he feels when she appreciates the trophies he collects exclusively for her, how he his torn between love and loathing towards her. What we don’t understand is why doesn’t he ever lose it with his friend (Kamal R Khan) who is as insulting towards him?
And just when we are grappling with these questions, we have an unnecessary item song thrust in that is completely incongruous to the narrative.
The love story in ‘Ek Villain’ is tragic but it is a supreme tragedy that a film that could have been an intriguing thriller remains just another squandered opportunity.
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