Some Thoughts On Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

Readers of this blog often ask “Why don’t you ever review movies you like?” Or the variant” Do you always watch a movie so that you can hate it?”.

Well, I actually do enjoy quite a few movies and review them on this blog.

Of course when I do, I end up hearing “What? You liked this crap and not <insert his/her favorite movie> here (Usually “Rockstar” or “Rang De Basanti” or “Delhi 6”)? And that too has its variant “I had come here expecting you to skewer <insert movie-name>. Such a mild review. Not upto your mark.” As if I am obliged to be trenchant about anything I see, even though I may have…errr…enjoyed it.

Quite a conundrum.

So today, let me talk about something I liked. Actually quite a lot. “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu”.

“Ek ladka ladki kabhi dost nahin ban sakte; yeh to ek bahana hai kapkapati raton mein dhadakte hue dilon ki bhadakti hui aag ko chhupaane ka”, the great Monish Behl had once said (or was it Dhoble?) in “Maine Pyar Kiya”, displaying not only a capacity for parachesis, but also of immense perceptiveness, at least as far as Hindi movies go. No matter if you wore a cap that said “Friend”. No matter that you show great chemistry (Band Bajaa Baraat) as friends. Dillagi always had to give hawaa, and dosti had to covert to mutually-felt pyaar. The script-writers always made sure of it.

Rarely however do our films show friendship developing into an asymmetric kind of love on film, even though it happens quite often in real life.

In “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” only one side (Imran Khan character) falls in love, the other side (the Kareena Kapoor character) does not, the one who does blames the other for leading him on, they resolve their issues, the love still remains unrequited even though they maintain their close relationship. And before you say “Wait, how is this different from 500 Days of Summer”, let me point out one crucial difference. In that movie, the friendship is shown to dissolve when one of them discovers true love. In “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu”, the friendship remains intact, which, in my opinion, is a infinitely more mature and satisfying resolution.

Resolution. That’s the other way “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” differs from “500 Days of Summer” . In the latter, the hero is given a quasi-happy-ending in the form of a girl called “Autumn” he meets in the end, a device somewhat reminiscent of Shahrukh Khan meeting Juhi Chawla at the conclusion of “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na”.

Audiences love clean-cut resolutions. The hero and heroine need to find love in this life (Too many examples of this) or in death (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak) or affirm their nobility through a supreme sacrifice (“Bridges of Madison County”) . A more ambivalent ending like “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu”‘s where the audience does not get the comfort of a resolution of the protagonists’s romantic fate is rare and hence more poignant and memorable.

But most of all, I liked “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” for the way they develop Imran Khan’s character. In a sequence which I felt was the highlight of the film, the hero rues how mediocre he is in everything, despite his best attempts. What is surprising is that unlike what usually happens, Imran Khan stays average right till the end. He does not “rise” in love like Shahid Kapoor in “Jab We Met”, becoming super-successful in business by selling a calling-card in the name of his lady-love. He does not discover the champion in himself like in “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi”. Nor does he become a super-photographer like engineering-misfit Madhavan in “Three Idiots”.

I have always found disappointing how popular entertainment saps out normalcy from its characters leaving behind dull shells of perfection. Even in “Taare Zameen Par” which was ostensibly about how every child is special in his/her own way, the dyslexic child has to win the competition in the end. If he had just come say 6th, it somehow would not have conveyed the fact that he is a “winner”.

Given these sorry precedents, I was heartened to see that the makers of “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” do not force a “success”, be it in terms of the hero getting the girl or him learning photography (his dream was to be a photographer) or becoming a super architect (the movie ends him with him working in an average firm).By not trying to validate the hero’s heroism through a rather restrictive definition of achievement, they thus firmly establish the character’s humanity, making “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” quite a bit different from the run-of-the-mill eye-candy that such genre flicks inevitably become.


53 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

  1. Now I am inclined to see this movie. Thanks for the review.

    Am I the first to comment? 🙂

  2. I am so glad you think that way. A lot of people I know did not like the ending. But I feel it is more life-like, more sensible. Discovering each other, compatibility in some and differences in others is a life-long process. Even when you get married and are living your ‘happily-ever’after’.

  3. Added in ‘to watch’ list.
    Thanks Dada

  4. My friends and I liked this one too! Although I do wish Kareena wasn’t so OTT in some of the scenes! And that the movie wasn’t too prettified at times!

  5. agreed that 500 days of summer took the happy ending mode and hinted a probable relationship by introducing ‘Autumn’ but “Ek mein ” ended much before that..we still dont know what would have happened if a ‘Mr. Love’ appeared in Kareena’s life..but i guess it is ok to interpret that they continue their close friendship along with the assymetric love equation..

  6. small grammatical mistake : “the one who does blames”

  7. “Ek ladka ladki kabhi dost nahin ban sakte; yeh to ek bahana hai kapkapati raton mein dhadakte hue dilon ki bhadakti hui aag ko chhupaane ka”

    Wrong !

    In my college, there was a fatso boy who was “just friends” with a fatso girl. But they later got arranged married after unsuccessfully trying getting better partner.

  8. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu was a fantastic film…The ending was brilliant and perhaps one of the very few films where it says it is perfectly ok to be average..and it is fine to accept failure…

  9. Souri,

    Maybe it’s late so I am not getting it, but what’s the mistake in “the one who does blames”?

  10. I watched about an hour of this one and liked it. I have also heard good things about London Paris New York. Why don’t you take a stab at that next?

  11. A good ending does not a good film make.

  12. Wonder how I got the impression that it was lame movie. Will download it tonight! 😀

  13. review the old tv serials like rajshri production’s Chanakya. I just completed watching it on youtube. Now looking for more stuff like that !

  14. Interesting…I saw this movie with my 5 yr old niece and was distracted thru most part of it..but overall it did seem like a gud movie..kareena as usual overacted in some parts but thats a given with her 🙂 imran was gud n realistic in it!

  15. I caught this movie quite by chance and really liked it. and yes, for all the reasons you gave plus some more. For example, Kareena and Imran are quite like the young guys I see around me. I was shocked to see Kareena asking Imran if has done !

    Hindi cinema is getting realistic!!

  16. Here is the missed part:

    I was shocked to see Kareena asking Imran if has done (hand gestures to indicate squeeze)!

  17. I loved this movie too.. i think it is how things actually are, without a lot of fantasy..
    Liked the review too.. 🙂

  18. Didnt lik ethe movie much when i watched it , have started liking it after reading this review …. will watch again

  19. I am pretty surprised (read amused) that you have no words to spare for KKR’s IPL win but an entire article reviewing a movie which received lukewarm adulation in India. When times were not-so-good, you were at your vitriolic best! But then when there is a turnaround, utter silence! You had some masala ingredients, considering the way the CM of Kolkata and the team celebrated. Then again, it’s your blog and your wish!

    1. I love you so much….

  20. Argumentative Indian June 14, 2012 — 1:22 pm

    GB, I’ve seen EMET partially, in scraps, and in fact did not know the end, till I read your above review.

    I’ve always found it hard to accept the ordinary, far off the perennial loser (Devdas?), as a hero. My kind of hero, is the hero’s character in the ‘Pursuit of Happyness’. I am well aware that not all those who try succeed and am very comfortable with both the heroic death & the heroic life without the requisite success. However, I have no clue whatsoever, that how someone who is mediocre in everything thing in life, and knows it, is at peace with herself / himself in this condition and does nothing about it!

    This is one of my major issues with Aparajita. I find the concept of moving on from pastoral life to the urban milieu, on one’s own capability (which incidentally I again figured out after reading your outstanding review of the trilogy, having personally completely forgotten the movies themselves after seeing them perhaps once or twice early in my childhood) noteworthy. However, Apu’s journey appears to be more of serendipity than ambition and ending up in the city is the end by itself. There are no dreams of ‘Kar-o-bar’ or even any academic / political ambition. This is just a person, who is. Someone who is stressed out by his mother’s overbearing (?) love & presence & so despite his love for her, runs away to the city, till she dies and then tells people in the village that he is not coming back to become a Pujari. Maybe for the time in which the movie (& the original novel) is set, this is revolutionary, I personally just felt that the character lacked Mojo.

    Ten years ago, I found the term ‘Aparajita’ very romantic, the ‘undefeated’ and named a very dear one, the same. At the time, little did I know, that to be undefeated, all one needs to do is to take up a nameless, faceless job in a printing press in Kolkata.

    It is not the absolute success or failure of a person, that really bothers me, being well aware that results are influenced by a multitude of forces, including a person’s inherent abilities. However, I find the lack of drive, inexplicable.

    The following is a rather sweeping statement, but I do feel that for the land that produced Bagha Jatin & (Sir) Ashutosh Mukherjee, we do seem to have become a group of people that are all too eager not only to accept the shadharon, the ordinary, but unfathomably take pride in being so, ‘Amra Shadharon Lok’.

  21. Argumentative Indian,

    It is the circumstances of life that Apu fights against and emerges un-vanquished. I am surprised you did not see the drive in Apu. He is desperately poor, comes to Kolkata to study and finances his study by working in that dark, dank printing press. If this isn’t drive wonder what is? Why does everyone’s ambition have to be defined in terms of acquisition of material comforts? Why cannot we accept those whose ambition is to walk along the path of life and marvel at its wonders, brushing aside the death, destruction and tragedy that comes in its wake? Why do you think anyone (let’s say Apu) is obliged to be straitjacketed by your definition of “extra-ordinary”?

  22. I share the same views on the film… It was truly “cool”.
    By the way, there is no grammatical mistake in “the one who does blames”… 🙂 Probably the reader thought that u meant “the one who blames” and tried emphasize by saying “the one who does blame”…

  23. Hey I liked the movie for the exact same reasons 🙂
    I was like this is a movie which shows what actually happens without being too pompous about itself. Even though my friends found it boring , I thought it left a lingering effervescence exactly the reason why I presume you are writing this review 🙂

  24. Arnab, nice post, but “hatke” ending aside, the movie was strictly average in my opinion and quite boringly cliched. Bubbly heroine, dorky hero, attraction of opposites, live life to the fullest lessons etc etc. Ho hum, same old, same old!!
    And in a movie attempting to be realistic and rooted in practicality, the main characters were sadly anything but! Bubbly girl is humongously so, dorky guy is painfully so and WHY OH WHY did they have to show the parents also so horribly caricaturish?? One set is chew-your-food-50-times prudish, the other set is so-what-if-my-daughter-sleeps-around-as-long-as she-is-honest-with-us kind of cool!! This, I felt was the most jarring point in the movie.
    As Sadaf said above, good ending alone does not make a good movie! The hatke ending was quite good, in fact, the most honest and spontaneous reaction was from my best friend when we watched it together – “Solid KLPD boss, yaad hai, tere saath hameshaa aisa hi hota tha” Too close to reality that was!!!! 🙂
    But Arnab Dude, yeh kya? Prometheus first, now EMAET, and still no sign of the Rowdy blockbuster??? Pls Dont Angry Me!!!!

  25. I liked this movie and the ending.
    Wasn’t expecting it to be any difference, considering KJO is the producer but I always like getting surprised!

  26. You’ve influenced a download. Or, isn’t it supposed on TV sometime soon?

  27. Argumentative Indian June 15, 2012 — 5:25 am

    Great Bong,
    Thank you for the reply, I was caught up and could not respond earlier.

    My intention is not to straitjacket, far off, judge anyone, but rather to try to gain some understanding of Apu’s character, whom you seem to deeply connect with. I apologize for digressing from EMET.

    Apu’s struggle’s during his college days are inspiring. His life thereafter, does not appear as such.

    I am materialistic & push myself, yet I appreciate non material achievement.

    The life of the Mahatma, a professional poor man, holds lessons at many stages. Ditto with Abraham Lincoln, Rabindranath Tagore & Akio Morita to name a few known people & millions of others, unknown, but perhaps equally extraordinary. I recently read a collage of lives of 30 unknown people in India, who overcame seemingly impossible odds to firstly lead normal lives & then significantly help others in similar circumstances. Like a person who became paralyzed after a horse riding accident, another who had a baby with down’s syndrome & yet another educated young lady with a great future ahead of her who met some children of prostitutes & decided to make a personal, significant difference, all of whom overcame either personal or societal challenges & are winning everyday of their lives. These people are economically middle class people, but truly extraordinary.

    I am also inspired by Shahrukh Khan, a person, who IMHO (I am not an expert on films) is a very average actor, with average looks, no family per se, far off family background, a rank outsider, who came to Mumbai and stood up to the massive power of the Amitabh Bacchan Brand & the Kapoor Conglomerate and established his own equally large brand. If SRK can make it big, anybody can.

    Thus, I am able to appreciate different types of heroes.

    I just re-read your review of Pather Panchali and the damn thing, even in 2012 brings a lump to one’s throat. I can actually see my own blood, that is now gone, in that character of Thakurun, ““Hori Din To Gelo, Sandhya Holo, Par Koro Amaare”, and actually in very similar economic & physical circumstances. As I mentioned earlier I don’t remember the film, but do tend to agree, with your observation, “the heart of “Pather Panchali”(and the entire “Apu Trilogy)——– that being that poverty, death and deprivation are mere sidelights to the inexorable march of life.”

    However, in this inexorable march of life, I don’t see Apu, his dad or anyone elese stand up and say, yes there is death, deprivation et al, but I will overcome. If I die without making a dent, that will not be due to not trying hard enough. Rather, these are people, who just are. If they live, its OK, if they don’t its still OK, I don’t see the volition in them.

    In Apu’s character, and in those of many people around me, neighbours, colleagues & relatives, I see a contentment to just be.

    I read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and found that her characters also face very interesting issues, however there is a streak of volition running through these people. It is not that they will passively refuse to give up against the challenges of life, but would actively work to change the circumstances around them.

    Life’s wonders are truly extraordinary, but the act of marveling at them, is by itself, hardly so. It is the role of an audience, not really of a hero.

  28. Prasun Banerjee June 15, 2012 — 9:49 am

    Aah … finally after quite some time , we seem to agree on a movie … reminds me of why i started following your blog after finding the moderator of the bollywood bakwaas community in orkut …

    lovely ending … imran remains ordinary … and for me the icing on the cake was the music … amit trivedi is bloody brilliant !!!

    and by the way … i liked prometheus.

  29. One who does blames -> One who does blame…
    does does the trick of simple present…

  30. OMG thanks for brigning this up. I remember how many times I quoted Imran’s ” perfectly average” line to describe me after I saw the movie.
    awesome 🙂

  31. Okay, it’s on Set Max at 2 PM IST today. Will get back to you on this after that.

  32. Despite the hatke ending I actually found it quite unrealistic. The guy has literally told the gal that he wants a physical relation but she, who doesn’t want one, isn’t creeped out and continues to be “friends” with him? I’m guessing she’d be far too uncomfortable around him to carry on any kind of relationship – or maybe I’m being too old fashioned?

  33. This is perhaps the first time I agree with Greatbong on matters of movies. Usually I find your opinions quite opposing to mine, not that there’s anything wrong in that. Here, it’s like you’ve expressed my own thoughts about this film and why I found the film so charming. Also notice how Imran’s little outburst at the dinner with his parents – which in a different movie would have radically changed the lives of everyone at the table, or shamed his parents into letting him be – elicits little more than a “what’s wrong with chopsticks?” from the confused Ratna Pathak. The BIG CHANGE in Imran’s heart and mind goes almost unnoticed.
    Above all, this film is not about changing the world or the people around you, but about finding happiness in the truest sense of the word. Imran finds his peace in his own mind, in the way he views his life. So nothing else really changes, but we leave the character as a much happier, wiser, grown-up man.

    @SG: You’re not old fashioned; in most cases, a girl would indeed be uncomfortable around a guy who made a move on her and whose feelings she didn’t reciprocate. The fact that Kareena puts the awkwardness of that incident behind her and continues her friendship with Imran is consistent with what the film has been saying all along – that this girl is not like most girls. Despite her apparent fickleness and general purposelessness in life, she is a very mature and secure person who can trust someone in these circumstances and accept a less than perfect friendship in her life.

  34. I was kind of put off by the indian dad asking the indian daughter if she has slept with the guy.
    I will probably come back and watch it when my part of the world is that advanced.

  35. //What is surprising is that unlike what usually happens, Imran Khan stays average right till the end. He does not “rise” in love like Shahid Kapoor in “Jab We Met”, becoming super-successful in business by selling a calling-card in the name of his lady-love. He does not discover the champion in himself like in “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi”. Nor does he become a super-photographer like engineering-misfit Madhavan in “Three Idiots”.//

    // Even in “Taare Zameen Par” which was ostensibly about how every child is special in his/her own way, the dyslexic child has to win the competition in the end. If he had just come say 6th, it somehow would not have conveyed the fact that he is a “winner”//

    Nor does he wake up like Sid!? 😀

    I echoed your sentiments with respect to TZP, I felt the same and also felt even more irked when I found Aamir was painting a picture of the kid. (if not may be he would have painted a brid trying to flee from the cage or something equally clichéd?)

  36. Looks like this one is not playing any more in my area …….While you are in the mood, why don’t you review Shanghai before I fandango it 🙂

  37. what do you think about Teja & Upasana marriage ?! Teja could have got better looking younger girl. And why Upasana not trying to slim down ?!

  38. oh i liked the movie for the same reason… it was not a you broke my heart “o bewafa” “tere bina nahi ji sakta” movie… it was a story of a normal guy with a normal girl…. absolutely loved that there was no crazy devdas at the end of the movie who made any sacrifice for his lady love…
    or the fact that kareena handled it like a normal girl should handle these things
    btw ronnie….. HUH???

  39. Over the time, I have realised that taste in movies and music can be very subjective, so as a reviewer, you will always find a bunch of people who will agree with you and some who will criticise you. Unless, one happens to be Raja Sen who has huge “fanbase” on Rediff.

    My biggest disappointing moment came when I went to watch “3 Idiots” after reading your review. I went expecting “Godfather” and came out as if I had watched “RGV ki aag” for the second time.

    I did not know that absence of brain and logic was a prerequisite for “enjoying” “3 Idiots”. One of the most over-hyped piece of trash Bollywood has ever produced – even trashier than HAHK or DDLJ. As an engineer, I have never felt insulted like this before. The movie can never decide what it wants to be – tackle the issue of parental pressure or be a “time pass” movie targeted at 15-25 demographics.

    Worse, “3 Idiots” also keeps on appearing and disappearing on IMDB’s top 250, thanks to the trolls clicking 10 stars button on IMDB. Realising that “3 Idiots” is ranked way above movies like “Sideways” or “Midnight in Paris” or “Minority Report” or “Road to Perdition” just makes me shudder.

  40. @ Argumentative Indian – zzzzzzzzzzzzz …

  41. The reviews of the movies you don’t enjoy are more fun to read than those of the ones you do!

  42. I really, really liked your post. I agree with your thoughts on the movie. I too found it refreshing and “different.” It was good to see an ending that was really not expected. Once Kareena comes to know about Imran’s love, it was expected that she too start feeling helplessly in love with Imran. But that was not shown. I liked that.

  43. @MP…

    “…came out as if I had watched “RGV ki aag” for the second time…”

    “…I did not know that absence of brain and logic was a prerequisite for “enjoying” “3 Idiots”…”

    “…One of the most over-hyped piece of trash Bollywood has ever produced – even trashier than HAHK or DDLJ…”

    Really??? You serious…??? You are such a “high” level film critic that you thought 3 idiots is a “piece of trash”?? Till now I used to think I actually had a brain… but alas!!

    Ok, now… let me tell you I am getting an irresistible urge from inside to get involved in abuse, but somehow controlling myself!!

    PS: Too bad an Engineer of your intellectual level had to be insulted like this. Oh BTW, I am an engineer too, but now I am starting to believe my father must have bribed the college to take me in!

  44. Mr Greatbong. I agree with your sentiment behind “empty shell of perfection” characters in hindi movies. I too find myself being fed up of movies about “Best of the best of the best” OR “underdog winners”. If the protagonist fails, it has to be cathartic.
    I haven’t seen the said movie. I think I’ll watch it now.

  45. I loved that movie minus kareena’s overacting

  46. Loved the movie ! So true..finally something realistic not OTT

    Did watch after this review though 😉

  47. The movie stood out for me for the same reasons you gave. But I still wouldn’t rate it as one of the best, because, despite of the great concept it was dull at times. Now, I am not a technical expert to comment on screenplay, camera angles etc. but I’ve seen better movies. Also abt 3 idiots and TZP, Madhavan’s character was always a good photogtapher, similarly the dyslexic child was always good with painting and it is indicative (not clear though) that the whole competition was setup for him to win as the teacher was confident of his win. He was still only average in studies after so much of practice and help from teachers.

  48. I knew it! For the first time I watched that movie, I can confirm that it was very different to other movies. Imran stay average until the end of movie and he respect Kareena’s decision and becomes her friend. One sided love wont ruin a friendship if both parties respect each other’s feeling. I love this movie so much! Positivity is very important.

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