Rahul Kapoor (Imran Khan) is a tight arse and Raina Braganza (Kareena Kapoor) is a free bird. They’re like chalk and cheese. He’s a nervous fop, an out-of-job architect in Las Vegas, who’s so punctilious about cleanliness and orderliness that he even irons his underwear and socks. What for, one wonders, for at 25 he’s a virgin and seems to have no intention of changing that unfortunate status even when cornered for a romp inside a bathroom by an oversexed girl. As the girl tries to hot him up, our Mr. Uptight squirms, cringes and bleats “Mujhse nahin hoga” (I can’t do it) and splashes cold water over all the sexed up heat.
Raina Braganza is the diametric opposite. She’s been through half a dozen relationships and makes no bones about admitting that she’s not a V. When riled she could rough up a guy, when happy she could booze like a fish. And, unlike Mr. Uptight, she doesn’t give a fig for manners or foppery.
A snowball’s chance in hell for the two to get along? Not when the evening happens to be the Christmas night in Vegas and Mr. Uptight and Ms. Freebird -- with nothing common between them except that they both happen to be jobless and seeing the same shrink -- have downed enough booze to care if they end up getting married in a chapel where once Elvis Presley got hitched. The morning after, they agree on one thing: to get the darned marriage annulled.
But what happens in Vegas doesn’t remain in Vegas and is lugged all the way back home in India where the relationship between the two develops into a one-sided love. Without wanting to disclose the details, let it be said that the debutant director Shakun Batra does a fine job of making a breezy rom-com without succumbing to any melodrama, so typical of the films of Karan Johar, the co-producer of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.
And beside the love story, EMAET is also a tale of the coming of age of a boy who grew up in the shadow of his rich, overbearing parents (a superbly affected Ratna Pathak and a glowering Boman Irani). As a boy whose neckties are knotted by his businessman dad and eating habits monitored by his mom (“chew your food 32 times,” she admonishes), Imran Khan is verily a persecuted son caged in the swish surroundings, and a fledgling flapping to take flight when with the motormouth Raina Braganza. It’s a performance balanced with fine nuances and restraint from the actor, and he slips well into the character of what Raina calls “a perfectly average guy”.
Which brings us to his onscreen better half: Kareena Kapoor. Her Raina is a livewire, a garrulous, carefree, flippant hairstylist with infectious vivacity. Bebo’s buoyancy and Imran’s restraint groove in together to form a creditable chemistry between the duo, whether they go on the razzle in a night of drunken revelry or just jiggying to “AuntyJi” or even sulling up on each other.
Kudos to Shakun Batra for making a light-hearted, humourous, perky entertainer without caring to tie the loose ends. It’s a story whose end will be received with mixed reactions, but it’s about time Bollywood stepped out from the rut of the stereotypes of neatly tied-up ends. The screenplay by Ayesha Devitre and Shakun Batra has hardly any dull moment and is sprinkled with wry humour. Amit Trivedi’s music is good.
All in all, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is a perfect treat this Valentine’s Day. Go with your boyfriend or girlfriend (I hope you do have one) to juice this rom-com. You will love it.