A typical Bollywood film has a hero, a love interest, and a villain. This formula works time and time again in different settings, with different characters facing different issues. But you can always tell who is who - and the hero always gets the girl.
Ek Villain may not be for everyone - there is plenty of violence and vitriol. But the story is one that leaves an impression.
Here are two key takeaways from the film.
Guru (Sidharth Malhotra) is one of the villains in this film and there is no question that he is a bad guy. As a brooding and angry hit-man, he eliminates his targets in whatever way pleases him at the moment. If you get in his way, he will take you out.
While "Guru" is used as a personal name in this film, we typically associate the word "guru" with "teacher". But the folk etymology behind this Sanskrit word is far more interesting: The syllables "gu" means "light" and "ru" means "dark". Hence, "Guru" means to bring light out of the darkness. In the story Ek Villain, this folk etymology works.
When Guru meets the bubbly Aisha Verma (Shraddha Kapoor), he doesn't know how to deal with her. Aisha is a butterfly dancing in front of a dark monster and her hope for a life well-spent attracts the attention of Guru like a moth to a flame. This Pollyanna is unrelenting and Guru must choose whether to destroy or embrace her.
The casting of funny man Riteish Deshmukh as the villain Rakesh Mahadkar is genius. He plays the most dangerous kind of villain - the unseen, unknown kind. His performance almost says, "See what happens when an otherwise quiet, ordinary guy is repeatedly abused." In a MissMalini interview, Riteish explained:
"The role of Ek Villain is of a common man. The most difficult part of the role was that he’s just a normal guy; he is not extraordinary in any sense. So there are no crutches as an actor. There is no mask of a joker, there’s no limp, no twitch, there’s nothing. And to create a character of nothing but an emotional guy who has a dark side is something that’s extremely challenging."
It is also interesting to note that Ganesha - the Hindu Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles - has a big role in the story. While some characters turn faithfully to Ganesha for support, others wreak havoc in the lives of his devotees. Almost defiantly, Ganesha keeps showing up prominently in a variety of avatars throughout the film.
Nearly every character in Ek Villain displays a dark side.
Rakesh's wife Sulochana (Aamna Sharif) is always criticizing him. His friend, Brijesh (Kamaal R Khan), is abusive. His boss publicly reprimands him. A nurse in the hospital is more interested in making sure Rakesh's wife follows the rules than she is about Rakesh's well-being.
In Guru's life, we see CBI Officer Aditya Rathore (Shaad Randhawa) torturing Guru, then befriending him, then purposefully misleading Guru to blame the gangster Caesar (Remo Fernandes), his former boss, father figure and friend.
Ek Villain goes a step further by showing that villains can also be heroes. After Guru loses his parents, Caesar takes him in and raises him as a son. When Guru asks to get out of the business, Caesar encourages him.
Rakesh shows his deep love and affection for his wife and son by bringing them gifts and treating them with great tenderness. When the usually critical Sulochana publicly states that she loves her husband, a dream comes true for Rakesh.
Ek Villain is a story of redemption but it also offers a powerful reminder that each of us has the ability to become either a force for good or one of the members of the wretched hive of scum and villainy. Each of us can have a powerful impact - for good or bad - in the lives of others.
The following is the official trailer for Ek Villain, released worldwide on 27 June 2014.
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