Remakes are in! So it seems with the latest trend of Indian cinema. Recently we saw the magic of Ghajini (Ghajini – Tamil), in the near future we’ll be seeing Wanted Dead Or Alive (Pokiri – Telugu) and It’s My Life (Bommarillu – Telugu) and just this week we witnessed yet another remake.
From the maker who’s known to have us in fits of giggles with releases like Kya Kool Hai Hum and Apna Sapna Money Money comes a remake of one of the biggest blockbusters of Telugu cinema, Athadu. Ek-The Power of One has mixed amounts of expectations from its audience. Fans of the original have high expectations of course, then there are those witnessing the story for the very first time and possibly don’t know what to expect at all. For all those people, there is only word that best describes what Ek stands for: masala! It’s a typical masala entertainer with all the elements to please at least someone in the cinema hall, be it an action enthusiast teen or the emotional mums and grandmas.
Nandu (Bobby Deol), an orphan, is a trained assassin. Possibly one of the best in the business. He’s smooth, he’s fast and most importantly he’s emotionless. All the traits of the perfect assassin. However, go horribly wrong during one mission and on his path of escape he meets Puran, an innocent young man on his journey back home to a family waiting for him with baited breath. Sadly, Puran’s luck happens to be so that he is caught between a crossfire battle between Nandu and his chasers. With a guilty conscious, Nandu makes the decision to go and break the tragic news to Puran’s family but before he can utter a word of truth to the family, who hasn’t seen their son in years, they are quick to assume he is their Puran. Burdened by the love and affection he never saw, Nandu soon finds himself drawn into this family that simply dotes on him. As time goes on the harder it becomes to break the truth. The story unfolds to reveal just how Nandu confesses the truth and how he escapes and uncovers the reasons behind the horribly gone wrong mission!
It’s always pleasant to begin on a happy note so we will do exactly that when dissecting this masala entertainer. The first person who deserves to take a bow is action director Peter Hein. A film like Ek needs action to not only be engaging but also innovative and Peter Heins provides the right blend of both. Second in line for praises is cinematographers Piyush and Remo whose work stands right from the beginning. The action sequences are shot stylishly whilst the family portions are filled with vibrant colours to perfectly depict the liveliness of a huge Punjabi family. Of course cinematography is enhanced far more because of the commendable art direction by Narendra Rahurikar.
So the technical department seems perfect, what is the bad news then? The flaw lays with the writing and is particularly apparent when you’ve witnessed the original Athadu. The beauty of Athadu was its all around entertainment factor. It had all elements of a masala flick in the right amount. Ek fails to achieve this perfect balance as it seems overburdened by action in portions, leaving many other angles unexplained. In particular, family dynamics and the romantic angle which were two of the most enjoyable portions of Athadu and were explored in the right amount of depth. Sadly, these very two portions are the low points in Ek and almost seems like that they were forced into an action drama. Athadu depicted the story of a man’s journey from a cold hearted assassin to a warm hearted young man who for the first time in his life has discovered love and affection. This theme was the reason it was regarded as such a crowd puller and it will be the lack of enhancement of this theme that will prove to be the reason behind why Ek is not a crowd puller. It fails miserably to engage you despite the stylised and elaborately co-ordinated action sequences.
Performances almost seem very half baked because the writing is so inadequately balanced. Bobby Deol is simply passable and seems like he has very little to say as he’s forever performing some dynamic stunt. However, in certain emotional portions he does draw attention. In comparison to his original counterpart Mahesh Babu in the Telugu version, Bobby Deol fails drastically! Shriya Saran as the love interest proves to be a total waste, however once again with no fault of the actress but rather the writer. The role isn’t the meatiest of them all as in the original film where it was fitted into the screenplay to provide a great comic relief. To the audience’s dismay this is not the case in the remake. Just like Bobby, she fails drastically against her original counterpart Trisha Krishnan. Nana Patekar’s character is perhaps the most ‘tweaked’ character of them all in comparison to the original, however this change doesn’t prove to be a mistake at all. Nana is both intriguing and hilarious in the depiction of the flirtatious yet dedicated police officer.
To conclude, we would have to say that this is one remake that really should have stuck as perfectly to its original counterpart as possible! Ek proves to be an entertaining action drama but it lacks a soul. Those days are long gone when audiences were more than happy to see their hero performing one unrealistic stunt after the other! Today we seek for heroes with a strong characterisation that we can relate to, and it is the lack of this characterisation in the writing that makes Ek a big disappointment despite its impressive action sequences. Perhaps setting out time from your busy schedule in order to catch this one isn’t the best idea!