We reached at least ten minutes early for the movie, which was a pleasant surprise considering Simmi and my propensity to arrive at the last minute for movies, almost always. For EMAET we could catch the promo trailers that were run before the screening of the movie – Housefull 2 and Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya. If I were to go by the trailers, then I would think twice, before buying exorbitant multiplex tickets to watch any of the two which seem to be nothing but run of the mill slapstick rom-coms. I had held a similar opinion for EMAET too. But let me get one thing straight – being a hard core Kareena fan, if anything could have dragged me to the movie hall, it had to be only her. Yet the movie turned out to be more than just her. It was a pleasant and refreshing surprise for its genre of romantic comedy. I would regard it as a good experiment as far as story and screen play is concerned. One also has to give it to debutant director Shakun Batra for managing to knit the so often told ‘loser-boy-meets-happening-girl-life-changes’ situation well by demanding balanced performances from each of his actors.
There is not much that you all cannot guess of the story from the trailers and promos except perhaps the ending or the treatment. The story will revolve around Rahul Kapoor (Imran Khan), a 25 year old who is yet to find a foot hold of his own life on his own terms or even come off the shadow of his demanding socially elite parents played by the versatile pair of Boman Irani and Ratna Pathak Shah. The latter by the way plays mother to Imran for the second time post his debut in Jane Tu Ya Jane Na and if you have any hangover of her earlier character, rest assured this new character will exorcise it. So Mr. Loser and ‘uptight’ meets Ms. Carefree –Riana Braganza (Kareena Kapoor) and then one fine day on Christmas Eve they go out drinking. Well picture this, its Vegas, ‘uptight’ protagonist goes drinking with ‘coolest’ girl and then over a drunken stupor gets married. Shocked? Do not be – It is Vegas and then it is Bollywood. You should expect slap-stick. But it is from here onwards to the end that will convince you of the coming of age of bollywood directors in Dharma Productions like Malhotra (Agneepath) and now Shakun, who are treading the ground of intelligent cinema. To begin with they understand and work well with the limitations they are subjected to. If EMAET was treated as a Dil Toh Pagal Hai or Kal ho Na Ho way, then my review would have been much different. This movie is quintessentially sweet because at the end the two hours you feel the story was real. EMAET kind of story happens and it may have already or might happen to you.
In the acting department, I will begin with Kareena as the effervescent Riana Braganza, an unemployed hair dresser in Vegas nursing a sixth broken relationship. Interesting character but with all my biased feelings for her, I have to say that in this role she only reprises the role of ‘Geet’ from Jab We Met in a different setting. She is brilliant in this kind of a role, which is effortless for her to play, but being a terrific actress, that she is, she has to explore more meat in roles that do not typify her as the never forgettable ‘Geet.’
The surprise package is Imran Khan. Many have complained of his cold, emotion less acting in his last role in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. (For heaven’s sake, Simmi expressed that Kat was a better actor than him in that movie. Gee!) But you will love Rahul Kapoor. Imran is convincing in the three avatars of the character – the confused, under confident loser who could not choose for himself which tie to wear, to a lad in love, to finally a confident individual who chooses life on his own terms. The best part is that he does not over do any part and thus when you walk out of the hall you may just feel that he exists in you.
The others, who surprisingly are not many except notable mentions for Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak and Ram Kapoor have limited screen space and rightly so. The movie demanded such a treatment that avoided unnecessary histrionics. So at the end of it all, it is Shakun Batra who in my humble opinion gets the feather for presenting us a pleasant modern romantic tale in the mushy month. The other winner of course is its music. Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya regale your ears with freshly brewed music which gels with the theme as well as the situations. My vote for the most hummable numbers - the haunting Aahetein and the inspiring Gubbare. Well, what the heck even a metal head like me has a taste for mushy music in this month. ;)
So go ahead this Valentine and watch this movie with your friend or love. And if you do not want to spend precious money on the tickets and the overpriced popcorns, then you can actually wait for the movie to be screened in the local channels. My advice -Whenever it does, do watch it just for the pleasant refreshing experience.