Rahul Kapoor (Imran Khan) is a victim of his ambitious parents. The kind that tells their son you just ‘lost the gold’, when the child wins a silver medal in a sport. He is constantly told to “behave like a Kapoor and impress”, even as he unintentionally lets them down again.
The high-flying society mom (Ratna Pathak Shah, fab) means well, but has no idea what to do with her sensitive, shy son. The father (Boman Irani)—always gruff—is only interested in Rahul’s career and intends to lock him in a nuptial-business arrangement. He has already been told who he’s going to marry—it’s going to be good for business.
Little wonder that our Rahul is a tad uptight. So we let out a laugh when the free-spirited Riana Braganza (Kareena Kapoor) tells him he needs help.
It’s interesting that they meet at a psychologist’s clinic. Both are going through a low phase. But while Riana has a loving family to fall back on; Rahul cannot dare tell his parents he’s been sacked.
The film traces their journey over two weeks. They’re in Vegas by the way, and we get to see some lovely sights and sounds of the place, right from the gorgeous architecture to the vibrant street-culture (in beautifully-lit frames by David Mac Donald). Inevitably Rahul and Riana form a bond, even as he solves most of his existential worries and she’s just happy getting a call for a new job.
The characters are carefully moulded, but without much depth. We’re unsure why, for example, is Rahul afraid of getting intimate with a girl. There’s a scene where he’s being seduced, but he assaults the girl and flees! Ek Main… is quite replete with such ‘sitcom moments’.
The film does borrow intermittently from What Happens in Vegas. And in the essence that it’s a coming-of-age story where the boy and girl are stark opposites, the film is a bit Jab We Met-ish. But this is a decidedly more modern, contemporary story.
Of course another thing common between the two is a solid, hugely entertaining performance by Kareena Kapoor. No one quite gets the free-spirited character like her. Here too, she plays Riana as an independent, gypsy-at-heart whose happiness drowns other people’s gloom. Constantly vivacious without going over-the-top, this is Kareena’s show all the way!
Imran Khan’s restrained acting style is perfect for the character of the subdued Rahul. And he gets it right from the body language to the slight hint of hesitation in his voice. The Kareena-Imran pair is an interesting one even as they perfectly complement each other’s screen presence.
Apart from the cozy coupling, the film has some solid fun moments like the Auntiji song and the granny from the Braganza house. Like in all rom-coms several moments are exaggerated—a drunken night can lead to a wedding, an outburst must happen on a dinner table with guests, a character suddenly realizes they’re in love, and so on.
Debut director Shakun Batra gives us a film with a reasonably immersing story dipped in fun moments. The film is decidedly good-looking with a cast that’s even more so. This is a cocktail, that, as a character says, is “perfectly average” (meant as a compliment). Worth a watch for rom-com fans!
Rating: Three and a half stars