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HindustanTimes Sat,26 Jul 2014

Mayank Shekhar's review: EMAET

Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 10, 2012
First Published: 18:27 IST(10/2/2012) | Last Updated: 23:44 IST(10/2/2012)

Ek Mein Aur Ek Tu
Director: Shakun Batra
Actors: Imran Khan, Kareena Kapoor
Rating: ***

The narrator, who’s also the hero, suggests there are three kinds of kids in the world: “chamche”, who suck up to their parents; the rebellious sorts, who take them head-on; and the smart ones, who do what they like, and their parents never know.

This stiff-neck, stone-faced, tight-assed lead character belongs to the mysterious fourth category: henpecked by mom (Ratna Pathak Shah), bull-dozed by pop (Boman Irani), this fellow grew up under-sexed, under-confident, under his parent's thumb. That his parents are so unnecessarily phony and psychotic, I guess, takes away from some of the realism. But it’s all in the interest of comedy.

Most good boys lose it in Vegas. The one here (Imran Khan, his most convincing role yet) lives in Vegas. Which is a shame. That’s like a party animal grazing around in Saudi Arabia.

The dull 25-year-old could still be cured with enough tequila shots and beers down his throat. It usually works. This is what he does one night with someone (Kareena Kapoor) he’s just met, who couldn’t be more his polar opposite: overwhelming, over-excited, completely over-the-top. In a drunken haze, they end up marrying each other on the same first night, something you can only get away with in Vegas.

EMAETThis film then is as much a knock-off of the Ashton Kutcher starrer What Happens In Vegas as perhaps Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara was supposedly a copy of Fandando. Not. A wedding in Vegas is a Hollywood sub-genre of its own, just as adventure sports or coming-of-age road trips are.

The accidental wedding is a vignette in the film, merely a matter of how they met, not the whole point of the picture. That is, if anyone should be looking out for a larger point here.

The girl’s carefree, gregarious, though for someone this outgoing, she seems oddly friendless. Her Catholic family back in Mumbai, inspiringly cast, is much like her: full of life. The boy’s stuck-up, of course. Both are presently unemployed. Between the two, the film remains a bit too self-contained, yes. Yet it produces enough cheer and energy to carry it through. The chemistry – an intriguing science applied to films like these – works.

Chemistry in a romantic movie, I guess, refers to whether the lead couple really look like they could be in a relationship: potentially lost in young love. Kareena, 32 (27 in the film), for most of her recent career, has been paired opposite older Khans (Salman, Aamir, Shah Rukh), who are closer to 50 now. Gymming, airbrushing ensure that doesn't show. But it would, right? Age isn't just a cosmetic number.

This is probably her first film in long with a co-star roughly in her own age-bracket. ‘Bebopals’, as I recently learnt on Twitter Kareena fans call themselves, should respond as enthusiastically to this ‘Jab Vegas Met’ as they probably did to Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met.

This picture though, smartly written and filmed (Shakun Batra, fine debut), is mellow yet dramatic, softer, subtler, more ‘plush interiors’ American rom-com. More than occasionally, it lights up your mood, brings a smile to your face. What else should you demand from a genre that usually sets the bar so low: Girl meets boy; one falls in love before the other; they live happily ever after.

Is the girl merely being friendly, or leading the boy on, is a conflict more common to less segregated, urban, real lives, like yours or mine. This one captures that vagueness quite well. That’s neat subversion all right: completely worth your while!

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