Ek Villain Returns, but where has the director gone?

John Abraham and Disha Patani in Ek Villain Returns. Photo: Raindrop Media

When the expectations are sky-high, the result tends to go totally subterranean—as a standalone thriller, Ek Villain Returns would have just been an ill-conceived, contrived and shabbily-scripted thriller. Coming as it does from a brand, and a director also known for other crisp thrillers like Zeher, Kalyug, Raaz—The Mystery Continues and Murder 2, it is nothing short of a calamitous crime against the viewer.

Director Mohit Suri is clearly zooming into waywardness, as his last decent film, Aashiqui 2 (2013), though no thriller, had its plus points. Since then, it has only been calamity zone through a spate of mishaps, reminding us of his early vacuities, Woh Lamhe…, Awarapan and Crook.

Slipshod and wannabe stylish and contemporary, EVR has its only plus point in its length—a mere 129 minutes, but even that seems too much with the absurdities and laughable (at the film!) situations and lines of which the film has a surfeit. Tara herself sings Shaamat well, but that’s it! The plot has so many holes the fabric becomes more and more tattered as we proceed. Like the false impression of whether the psychopathic villain has strayed into ‘slasher’ territory with masks et al.

The deeply sick (in mentality!) film even turns grotesque when a small child knows the heinous things that are really going on and lies to the cops, thereby making them ignorantly close the case. Otherwise too, there is misogyny packed in sackfuls, so much that we wonder why Mohit Suri was allowed to palm it off by his actress wife! But chalo, there are no returns in getting personal. Women, both on-screen and in the plot, are reduced to becoming objects, who cannot have their will or say and dare not protest.

Swallow this: A cabbie, Bhairav Purohit (John Abraham’s oddest screen name to date!) drives “a friend’s cab” for 14 hours and is a zookeeper at night. Er…, when does he sleep? Even the hilarious “Anna, 24 ghanta chaukanna” character of Suniel Shetty as don in the underrated caper Shaadi Se Pehle spent some time on his bed despite his claims.

Bhairav works so hard, he says, to maintain his income and payments, but instead splurges on petrol (taking his girl to Lonavala on her whim), buys expensive shirts and perfumes from the store wherein she works, and even a ring when he feels he should marry her. The girl is Rasika Mapuskar (Disha Patani in her most ridiculous role to date!), who proves she is a Maharashtrian by periodically telling Bhairav, “Murkha aahes! (You are a fool!)”, which he swallows docilely. Quite paradoxically, she even has a psychotic kink and believes in “Maar do ya maro” (kill or be killed) when a bike overtakes their vehicle!

But if you ever thought this taciturn man is the hero / villain-hero, think again. He merely plays poker face and second fiddle (within the film) to arrogant rich brat, Gautam (Arjun Kapoor), who behaves pathologically at a whim—make that many whims. This includes outrageous behavior at his ex-girlfriend’s wedding (or is it engagement? Does it really matter?), which is filmed on her phone by Aarvi (Tara Sutaria) and, despite the best efforts of Gautam’s ultra-rich father (Bharat Dabholkar) and his staff, goes viral.

Tara Sutaria plays Aarvi, a singer, in Ek Villain Returns. Photo: Raindrop Media

Gautam hunts her out, finds that Aarvi is an ambitious singer who wants to make it to the top, and pretends to help her get there. He makes her only potential rival, Qiran (spelt with a Q so that audiences are given more Darr than K..K..K..Kiran, we guess!) lay off the competition, and then ditches Aarvi to take his revenge. Aarvi begins to hate him, and soon, Gautam is repentant. You see, Gautam’s father has told him something profound, that the secret of success in life is to help someone come up, not pull them down. But Aarvi will not stand Gautam anymore.

Bloodstained physiques give us red herrings—who is the man who has killed 15 girls? Criminal psychologist Ganesan (J.D. Chakravarthy) is in search of Satya (the truth, not his hit debut film 24 years ago—pardon my kinky sense of fun!) and spouts wise lines to his determined, over-cocky and publicity-hungry police colleague (Shaad Randhawa). Aarvi has named Gautam as the mysterious masked man who had attacked her music group in a skyscraper by entering through the window (!) from some kind of skywalk outside (!!). She has now gone missing, is suspected to be dead, but her phone recording has reached the law.

The madness continues—no, make that ‘escalates’, complete with a vicious and destructive fight in a Mumbai metro, which operates without a single passenger within it and where its stations wait till the brutal skirmish is done with before they come in! The last fight between the actual villain and the good party is so relentlessly, uninhibitedly violent that we wonder how either party could have survived that blow-fest enough to spew all those lines and still operate their limbs, fists and brains after the bloodcurdling assault on the heads!

As with John Abraham’s Attack—Part 1, Shamshera and all recent calamities, I am totally, but totally, flummoxed at how such ludicrous plots are concocted, and if concocted, passed and actually filmed. There was a thinly interesting plot idea somewhere here, of a psychopathic duo (no spoilers!) but it is lost somewhere in this quagmire of utter atrocities. For example, we do not know how Gautam operates after his rich father chokes his account and freezes his credit cards, and one day, ‘papa’ departs for some place after leaving everything to him! Worse, we are not told why Gautam has become such a brat!

The actors go through the motions. Arjun Kapoor is saved by some scenes and a greater length of role. John Abraham is heading professionally towards doomsday—he is doing one bad film too many. Disha Patani and Tara Sutaria go through their skin shows. And Chakravarthy is wasted terribly.

Just like the time we put into watching the film. And the ticket money for the poor, paying audience.

Sorry for the slightly longer review, but we needed to point out that this Ek Villain can be safely ‘written’ off—that hint in the post-climax about one more film in the franchise is unlikely to materialize!

Rating: *1/2

Balaji Telefilms & T-Series Films present Ek Villain Returns Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Shobha Kapoor & Ekta R. Kapoor  Directed by: Mohit Suri Written by: Mohit Suri & Aseem Aroraa  Music: Anikit Tiwari, Tanishk Bagchi & Kaushik-Guddu  Starring: John Abraham, Arjun Kapoor, Disha Patani, Tara Sutaria, Ritesih Deshmukh (Sp. App.), Kaizad Kotwal, J.D. Chakravarthy, Bharat Dabholkar, Shaad Randhawa, Elena Roxana Marai Fernandes, Digvijay Rohildas, Ekam, Neha Chitole, Shivani Tuli & others




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