Ek Villian (2014)

Posted on June 29, 2014


This film might be one of the worst Hindi films I have seen. It is stupid, illogical and features some of the worst acting ever. Every actor is horrendous. The characters are stupid. The writing is unbelievably bad. Scenes are set up without any thought to their import or how they will fit. It is a good girl reforms bad guy rom-com crossed with a revenge drama and none of it makes any sense.

How illogical is this film? I will have to tell you the story to explain just how nonsensical it is. So here goes:

The films open with Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor, annoying as hell) sticking a Polaroid of Guru (Siddharth Malhotra, one expression throughout) in her journal. The entry below the picture says “To save a life”. She then picks up an idol of Lord Ganesh and drives home with it. On the way, she bores the poor God and us with a lame joke (that’s one of the supposedly cute thing her character does throughout the film — she has a joke for every situation). She has a near-accident and gives an earful to the guy who she believes is responsible for the pothole. Even though we don’t see this guy, we know right away that it is Ritesh Deshmukh (hams it up). She reaches home and gets a call from Guru, who tells her about getting a job. Their chat is interrupted when Aisha finds the pothole guy in her house. He is wearing a leather overcoat with a funny cowl style collar/front/whatever and is brandishing a screwdriver.


Instead of screaming or being scared shitless like a normal human being, she wants to know how dare he enter her house without her permission! Either she is one bad-ass, take-shit-from-nobody kinda girl or her danger recognition brain function is severely underdeveloped. I believe it is the second and there is plenty of proof later in the movie. The pothole guy proceeds to knock the living daylights out of her and throws her out of the window, but not before snatching her necklace. All of this is heard by Guru who is still on the line.

This is followed by a very filmy funeral. Which means it is raining and the on-lookers are wearing pristine white clothes and holding black umbrellas. There is an identical shot in Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum. It’s the template for all Bollywood funeral scenes.


Back to the film: One of the on-lookers is a CBI officer who is interested in the case not because of the victim but because of her husband. Guru used to be a ruthless henchman for a Goan crime boss called Caesar (Remo Fernandez, painful). Guru was so feared that he was considered to be the very Devil. We helpfully cut to a flashback to show exactly how much of a Devil he used to be. We see him burn a man alive after beating him to a bloody pulp–all this in front of the poor victim’s helpless mother and young brother.

Take a moment to pause and consider the above. HE BURNS ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. ALIVE! But the film treats it as an unfortunate personality flaw and wants us to forget this horrific act and move on to the comedy and romance bits.

And so…

Guru is caught and taken to the police station where he is hung upside down and beaten by the CBI officer. Thus while Guru is hanging upside down and is conveniently stripped to the waist, he sees Aisha, who happens to be at the police station telling one of her stupid jokes. When Aisha overhears Guru say to the officer that he doesn’t fear death and toys with it every day, she whips out her journal and writes in it: “To save a life.” She decides that this remorseless, brutal murderer is her latest project. Because both she and the film believe–as I have already noted–that it is just a personality flaw and can be easily “corrected.” In another movie, this might have been a truly noble enterprise–reforming and rehabilitating those who operate outside of any morality–with all its attendant issues. But from the tone of this movie, especially in this portion, you would think that killing another person is the same as swatting a fly. The fact that Guru is a cold-blooded murderer is treated with a casualness beyond belief and it is frankly disturbing.

But let’s continue with our merry story…

So the next day, Aisha approaches Guru while riding her Harley-Davidson (maybe she is a bad-ass after all), cheerfully calling out “Aye villain”. She tells him a lame joke and tells him that she wants to hire him for a job. Guru asks her to get lost. But she is persistent. She follows him around and presses her case and he finally relents. The job is to rescue an old man from a mental asylum so that he can get married to the love of his life. Naturally, we get a wedding song during which Guru falls in love with Aisha. At the wedding, she conveniently drops her journal, which Guru (of course) picks up and reads. Turns out, the journal is a wish list. She wants to do cutesy bullshit like chase a butterfly, unite two lovers, watch a peacock dance, catch falling snow, read 50 classic novels. Okay, not the last. He is furious when he finds that Aisha has turned him into a pet project and tells her to get out of his life. Aisha hits him with the BITTER TRUTH: she dying and these are her last wishes. Chastened, Guru decides to help her fulfil her wishes. And so we get scenes of the dreaded killer swimming with dolphins and chasing butterflies.


Back to present day: The CBI officer lies to Guru that Caesar had ordered the hit on Aisha because Guru stopped working for him. Why does the officer lie to Guru? Who knows? I guess he wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Sure enough, Guru single-handedly takes down all of Caesar’s gang in a single long take. It’s pretty neat idea but the stunt work is blah. After he makes his rather long walk to Caesar’s lair, he decides that Caesar did not kill Aisha after all and leaves.

While Guru mops around, we get to see what our killer is up to. He is Rakesh and he is a tongue-tied, henpecked, besotted husband. He tries to woo his wife, Sulochna, (Aamna Sharif, bad) by giving her the necklace he snatched off Aisha but she berates him in front of their son and questions his manhood “andhrey mein galti se nishana lag gaya tou yeh paida ho gaya!” Aamna Sharif, who played the prim and proper Kashish in one of Ekta Kapoor’s TV serial and can be seen doing laundry with Salman Khan in the Wheel advertisement, looks clearly uncomfortable and embarrassed at having been given such a salty, below-the-belt dialogue. It doesn’t help that her dialogue delivery is god-awful.


When Sulochna throws Rakesh out of the house, he camps at his friend’s place. The friend is played by KRK. KRK says that he and Rakesh are the suffering middle-class men, forever at the receiving end of the world and so it is only fair that they beat their wives to take out all that frustration. He then slaps his wife around to show that he does walk the talk. He suggests that Rakesh visit a brothel to man up. Let’s just take a moment here to think about why the heck KRK is in this movie, or any movie for that matter. I get that Mohit Suri wanted Rakesh’s friend to be repulsive but casting KRK is like trying to make that point with a sledgehammer. KRK single-handedly brings down the production value of the film: from his smarmy smile, his trashy costume and his horrendous acting. I felt like throwing something at the screen every time KRK came on.


Back to the story: Rakesh refuses to go to a brothel. He also doesn’t believe that beating his dear wife will relive his stress. Nah, he prefers to take out his frustration by killing women who are rude to him. We see a young, English-speaking woman shout at Rakesh when he carelessly bumps into her at the railway station. Next we see Rakesh, knock at her door and kill her. Just how did he track her down; especially, when we were clearly shown the woman boarding the train and leave while Rakesh looked on from the platform?

So while Rakesh continues his merry killing spree, poor lost Guru sits at a church and mops some more. At the church, he meets Rakesh’s son, who is asking God to stop his mom and dad from fighting and offering his toys as bribe. Guru notices that one of the toys is a pinwheel given to the boy by his father. And from that he deduces that the boy’s father must be Aisha’s killer because – get this – Aisha too had a pinwheel and therefore, it must be the same pinwheel – never mind that it is the sort of thing anyone can buy at a fair or at a beach. There is nothing unique about this particular pinwheel but somehow it becomes THE clue!

Guru follows the boy and eventually, Rakesh. He intervenes as Rakesh is about to kill a woman and beats him to a bloody pulp. He then dumps him at a hospital and gives him money for treatment and promises a fresh round of beating as soon as he is recovered.

We don’t have to wait too long for round two. While Guru is waiting at the hospital for Rakesh to recover (he is a man of his word and impatient), he finds out that Aisha was pregnant when she died. Idiot Rakesh who has just been beaten within an inch of his life can’t resist teaching a lesson to the nurse who was rude to his wife. But he is interrupted, again, by a furious Guru who, this time, beats him to death. When Guru realizes what he has done, he asks the nurse to bring Rakesh back to life, which she does by giving him an adrenaline shot. Just like that. And you thought that death was a permanent state.

Guru smuggles Rakesh out of the hospital and dumps him in front of his house. We see that the police is already there and they are taking Sulochna into custody because they have figured out that Rakesh is the serial killer. How did the police figure that out? I have no bloody clue. Maybe the nurse told them.

The CBI officer tells Guru that he won’t give him the satisfaction of getting his revenge and admits to lying about Caesar’s involvement. The CBI officer did this because he wants revenge on Guru for burning that poor guy at the beginning of the film. Cut to another flashback: Guru is released due to lack of evidence when the mother of the victim refuses to identify him in court. Why? Because she believes that only God can punish Guru. That’s right folks; she lets her son’s killer walk away. She hopes Guru also suffers the pain of watching a loved one die.

Which brings us back to Aisha, who is dying prettily of an illness that the film stubbornly refuses to name – maybe it is the impaired danger recognition function. The doctor first tells everyone that there is no cure but when Guru roughs him up, he remembers that another doctor in Mumbai may be able to help. Yeah, you heard that right. So if a doc declares you terminal, just punch him once or twice to be certain that he is not forgetting any medical breakthrough that might cure you. However, Aisha instead of behaving in a sensible manner and getting treatment is all “If I die, Guru will be heart-broken so let me break his heart now by leaving.” We get another poorly acted stop the girl at the railway station scene at the end of which Aisha agrees to marry Guru, go to Mumbai and get treatment. And what the hell do you know? The treatment totally works. She is cured and is soon busy making a baby. But the doctor tells her that it is still risky for her to give birth and suggests she discuss the matter with Guru. Which is what she would have done when Guru returned from the job interview, except she had the bad luck of running into Rakesh.


Let’s stop for a minute one more time because I need to rant about another thing. We are told that Guru was orphaned at a young age and that he can’t read. In fact, he has to ask another person to read Aisha’s journal to him and one of the song montages show him learning how to spell. Now I know a few things about adult learning and there is NO WAY anybody can learn enough English in just one year (in between catching butterflies and taking care of a sick spouse) to get a job at a swanky corporation. Heck, where did he get his certificates from? It’s things like these that get my goat. Okay, rant over.

Rakesh, who is on the run from the police, once again takes shelter at – you guessed it – KRK’s house. This time he suggests that they go to the red district area where he will be safe from the police and where Prachi Desai will expand her acting repertoire to include item girl. There KRK tells Rakesh that his tormentor is probably the husband of one the women he has killed. Rakesh also finds out that Sulochna is now genuinely remorseful and wants him to come back.

Glowing with requited love and armed with the knowledge of who his tormenter is, Rakesh decides to turn the tables on Guru. He provokes Guru by killing Aisha’s father and then calls the CBI officer to tell him that he is at Guru’s house and wants to surrender. The CBI officer who till now had been busy foiling Guru’s efforts has an inexplicable change of heart and tells Guru where Rakesh is. So Guru goes all by himself to confront Rakesh without any police back up. I mean the police don’t even surround the freaking building!

Anyway, it’s now time for the final showdown. Turns out, Rakesh had been expecting Guru; the phone call to the CBI officer was just a ploy to get Guru to come here. Which makes absolutely no sense, but at this point it is too late to care about logic in this film. In between beatings, Rakesh declares one of the themes of the film, just in case, we poor, dumb audience didn’t get it: Guru and Rakesh are the same; both are pushed to extreme violence because of the women they love. Rakesh wants Guru to kill him, so that people will think that Guru was the serial killer and that Rakesh was trying to stop him; this way he will become a hero in his wife’s eyes.  Which also makes no bloody sense, but whatever; the end is near.

As they are fighting, Guru gets a phone call from Caesar who is at Rakesh’s house. As a favor to Guru, Caesar kills Sulochna and asks Guru to come over to Rakesh’s house so that he can kill the son himself. All of this is heard by Rakesh who goes quite mad at his wife’s death and jumps out of the window and takes Guru along with him. But they survive the fall – the same fall that had killed Aisha – because… I don’t know. Rakesh is about to smash Guru’s head with a stone when he is run over by a jeep. The driver says that he was trying to avoid the pothole – the same pothole that Aisha had been trying to avoid at the beginning of the film. Guru goes to Rakesh’s house and saves the boy who he then brings up as his son and the freaking movie — finally, happily– ends.

Karma is a bitch, that’s what film wants to say. The present-flashback structure is supposed to show the effect and the cause, which is fine but Mohit has no clue how to develop the mood and theme so that it is pervasive and not something that a character has to announce to the audience. When you take that kind of directorial incompetency and combine it with unbelievable bad acting and plot holes that you can drive a truck through, you end up with a cinematic embarrassment on your hands.

Okay, now that I have worked the film out of my system, I can get back to my life. Thank you for reading and for God’s sake, stay away from the film.

Posted in: Reviews