Thank you Angie for suggesting this! This movie is the perfect film to review quickly without needing to rewatch it. Because it is so slight and light, no need to rewatch. But still good enough I don’t mind reviewing! The sweet spot!
I may be the only person in the world who has seen Ek Villain, A Walk to Remember, and I Saw The Devil. No, that’s not true, Mohit Suri must have seen the other two or he couldn’t have “written” his movie. I am kind of jealous of the non-Mohit Suri and me people who can appreciate Ek Villain as it’s own thing without seeing the seams as it patches together two other stories. On the other hand, I also get to appreciate the sheer chutzpah of taking two totally different films and shoving them together with the hope that no one realizes where they are from. And then giving an ending that doesn’t exist in either film!
I guess in a way the blending of the two other films is what makes this one so flavorful. You’ve got the salty bitterness of the Korean action film, crossed with the saccherine sweetness of the American teen romance, nicely blended and stirred, with a sexy male lead tying them both together. Oh! That’s what the two original films have in common! They both had sexy male leads! And Sid M. is nice and handsome and tormented here, nice enough to tie it all together.
Contrasting with Sid M., Ritiesh! He is a villain so perfect he kind of ruins the movie. So creepy, so evil, I don’t want to watch him. Blech! That’s not really a problem though. Like, it’s a problem for me, but not for the movie. We need Ritiesh’s dark to balance Sid M’s light. One has to match the other. Fine then, Ritiesh can be super super creepy dark.
Shraddha is our super super Light character. Interesting film, we still have the traditional central three, Hero and Love Interest and Villain, but they are kind of mixed up in how they function. The heroine has the first half to herself, the villain the second, the hero ties them together. Although now that I think about it, that kind of makes sense. It’s all about a battle over Sid M’s soul, torn between dark and light, feminine and masculine.
Mostly, it’s just a lovely fun swoony stupid romance! If you like Sanam Teri Kasam and other stupid swoony romances, you should watch this. Really good soundtrack, lots of longing gazes songs, Sid M. at close to peak tallness, unshavenness, and tormented hopeless love-ness. And a weirdly optimistic ending! Weird because for a film that goes as dark as it does, you wouldn’t think it would try to end on a note of light.
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Ready for a dumb dumb strange plot? Sid M. is a gunda with no faith in himself. He meets Shraddha, a beautiful smiling girl who sees him in a fight and goes up to him and befriends him. She explains that she is going to make him her project, to “save” him. She starts taking him around with her and he is all befuddled as he watches her arrange a mass wedding for a bunch of nice old people, and do other nice things. Finally her kindly father breaks the news to Sid M. that Shraddha is dying, she is trying to do all these things before she dies. Sid M. takes Shraddha to do more of the stuff she wants to do, and falls in love with her. He convinces her to marry him and then….she lives!!!!! She gets treatment and it works, and Sid M. gets a real job and a nice apartment for them, and all is good. Best of all, Shraddha learns she is pregnant.
And then Ritiesh Deshmukh breaks into their apartment and brutally kills her, while Sid M. is on the phone listening. At which point we leave the romantic A Walk to Remember part of the film and move into the dark violent I Saw the Devil part. Sid M. at first thinks this has to do with him, and goes and confronts his old gangster boss and fights all his men, and then learns that none of them were involved. He tracks down the real villain, Ritiesh. Ritiesh is an average man with a wife who constantly criticizes him. He is desperate for her approval, and afraid of her. Every time she yells at him, he sees the other women around him as her and takes out his anger on them. A really terrible person. Sid M. finds him, but does not kill him, beating him and then taking him in to the hospital for treatment. He plans to keep him alive and watch him, randomly attacking him and tormenting him, then letting him go again. Ritiesh wants Sid M. to kill him, thinking that way Sid M. will be the “villain” and Ritiesh will be the “hero” in the eyes of his wife. Ritiesh goes so far as to kill Sid M.’s father-in-law in his effort to drive him to murder. Sid M. resists, but his gangster boss is not as kind, he tracks down Ritiesh’s wife and son and holds them hostage, killing the wife. Ritiesh is enraged and fights Sid M. instead of giving in. He runs into the street and is hit by a car, dying with his crimes unknown, neither a hero nor a villain. Sid M. goes to his house and his gangster boss offers him Ritiesh’s son for vengeance. Instead, Sid goes a different way. The final scene is Sid M. taking the little boy who he has adopted to the butterfly meadow that Shraddha always wanted to visit.
A Walk to Remember is a very sappy American movie about a bad boy in high school who is saved by a good girl and falls in love with her, only to learn she is dying and has a “bucket list” she wants to finish. He helps her finish and convinces her to marry him, and then she dies. Everyone cries and cries. I Saw the Devil is about a cop whose fiancee is killed by a serial killer. He loses his mind a little (the cop I mean) and instead of tracking down the killer and bringing him in, he tracks him down and then lets him go. Playing with him like a fish on a line, letting him flee a little further and then appearing to beat him again. The serial killer eventually gets free enough to find and attack the fiancee’s family, the cop has to carry the guilt of knowing he let him do that. He finally finds the serial killer again and sets up a trap so that his own family will, unknowingly, cause his death. This terrible person did a terrible thing which turned a good person into another terrible person, but slightly less terrible. Does that matter though? Are there really degrees of torture? Everyone thinks and thinks.
This movie puts kind of an interesting twist on both the first and second half of the story by bringing the gender issues to the fore. Sid M. is raised to be a ruthless killer by his male gangster boss. Shraddha brings light and warmth and female energy into his life and finally he finds happiness. Sid M. is starved for that female energy and appreciates it and grows to be a better man. On the other hand, Ritiesh can’t quite connect with the female. He struggles to please his wife and gets frustrated when he fails. Instead of listening and working and staying with her, he goes off and takes his frustrations out on other women violently. There’s a moment when he gives his wife a necklace he took from a victim and she is happy with him and for a moment their household is loving and happy. And then it goes away again, because he still doesn’t really understand how to see his wife as a person, how to know what she wants instead of just blindly guessing. When Shraddha dies, Sid M. loses that female energy and turns dark and violent and empty again. But his gangster boss’ actions in killing Ritiesh’s wife bring him back to sanity. He chooses to find that loving warmth inside himself, instead of being limited by simple gender roles.
Both A Walk to Remember and I Saw the Devil have a single father for the heroine. That’s important, to show this soft “female” kind of man in the story, to understand that our “bad boy” hero could have this “female” energy inside him as well. This movie takes that farther, we end with Sid M. as a single parent, turning both mother and father for this orphaned little boy. The “male” side of him should have killed the child, Vengeance and Justice and so on. But instead, the “female” side triumphed and he chose nurturing.
The first half of this film is really a pretty charming little love story. The second half, with all the violence, should bother me more than it does. But I really don’t mind it. It feels all of a piece in a way with the first half, because it is all about choosing love. Sid M. was saved by his love for Shraddha. When she died, that “saving” she did for him faces its biggest challenge. He almost fails, but finally love triumphs over hate.