When I started receiving advance news of the upcoming film Ek Deewana Tha, I had several thoughts.
First, “Prateik is one of the leads? Excellent! That’s something to look forward to in February.” Then, “Amy Jackson is playing opposite Prateik? So Madrasapattinam wasn’t just a one-off, after all. Very interesting!” And finally, “A love story between a
Tamil Maharashtrian Hindu boy and a Malayallee Christian girl? Wait, wasn’t that the story line of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa??”
So, here we are, just a little over two weeks away from the Presidents’ Day weekend release of Ek Deewana Tha, the Hindi remake by Gautham Menon of his original Tamil film, and, as much as I’m finding it increasingly difficult to get excited about fluffy love stories centered around twentysomethings, this is one film that I am very much looking forward to with anticipation.
(Doesn’t anyone else in India fall in love and have struggles? Surely it doesn’t all end once you cross the horizon of The Big Three Oh??) That was rhetorical…… of course there are both love and interesting stories awaiting you when you turn 31, and 32 and beyond, but – sadly – the mainstream Indian film industries seem to be fixated on people in their late teens and 20s to the point of worrisome fetishization.
After Prateik’s quietly remarkable debut in Jaane Tu…. Ya Jaane Na, and his stellar break-out performance in Dhobi Ghat, and even his sweet presence in the generally underwhelming Dum Maaro Dum, I have great hopes for what he will continue to do in his career. Hearing that he will take on the role that Silambarasan played (but who I didn’t quite buy as the lovelorn boy who seemed to spend way too much time hanging off the gate of Trisha’s family home ) in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa is delightful news, as I can definitely picture Prateik in the role, assuming he’ll tap into that vulnerability that was so present in Dhobi Ghat and DMD. He should do well here.
It was also a pleasant surprise to see Amy Jackson’s name attached to this film. She had been discovered as a young beauty queen and model in England and cast in A.L. Vijay’s 2010 historical Tamil film Madrasapattinam, which I loved (more that’s a story for another time). And yet, I had always assumed that Ms. Jackson’s sojourn in Tamil filmdom was just one step in her career path, and after that, she’d go back to the UK and on to whatever was coming next. But apparently not!
I am curious how director Gautham Menon will handle the language issue for his heroine in this film, given how, in Madrasapattinam, she spoke mostly English and only a smattering of heavily accented Tamil (and that’s not a criticism – as someone who has repeatedly felt the exquisite pain of trying to accurately pronounce any Tamil word containing that magic consonant “ –zha-“ I give her full marks for doing what she did). According to Wikipedia, it seems to be a combination of dubbing and also Hindi lessons will be used to address the fact that she’s not a native Hindi speaker, nor is she a Malayallee.
I’ll be interested to see how Amy Jackson has grown and matured as an actress over the past two years in this, her second film, especially as she seems to plan to continue in this line. In Madrasapattinam, given that she played a young girl coming to India – albeit in 1947 – for the first time (as in her real life), any hesitation or awkwardness could be attributed to the newness of it all (new country, new language, new culture, new career).
If you haven’t seen Menon’s original, it wouldn’t hurt to catch it, and I say that even with my misgivings about Simbu’s strength in the lead role. The locations in Kerala are gorgeous and the unusual title song sung by Karthik is wonderfully dreamy, and to my ears, sounds like something Caetano Veloso could have composed and sung. The soundtrack is by A.R. Rahman, and he’s also doing the Hindi version.
So, in spite of this growing aversion to candy floss romances, I will be keeping my hopes up for Ek Deewana Tha to be something more substantive, and I’ll be looking forward to the cast and the new locales and the music. Sixteen days to go…