Ek Villain

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This film is a badly written melodrama with misogynist undercurrents
CAST Riteish Deshmukh, Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor | DIRECTOR Mohit Suri
This is a movie about redemption for submissive husbands. On the face of it, that may sound like an amusing idea, but then you realise that the mutineer does not rebel against his own tyrannical wife. He loves her to distraction. He seems to relish her overbearing ways and showers her with jewellery stolen from anonymous women—after stabbing each of them with a screwdriver.

Clearly, this is an insurgency from hell. Director Mohit Suri has been inspired by some of the extreme violence in East Asian films and has applied it to the volatile sexual politics of present- day India. Ek Villain cannot be just dismissed as a badly written and confused melodrama, which, in fact, it is.

Whenever Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh) kills the nameless women he meets, selecting the victims very precisely for what he perceives as their unwarranted rude behaviour, the scene is designed so as to empathise with the perpetrator, not the victims. There is an undercurrent in the film that suggests that disrespectful women are getting their deserved punishment.

To add to that is the casting of an actor who generally plays leading roles with aplomb and has a gentlemanly demeanour about him. Deshmukh’s skillful portrayal of the urban ‘Everyman’ in Mr Madhadkar, the harassed middle-class commuter and devoted husband and father, results in easy identification. So, though he is the ‘ek villain’ of the film, he wins audience empathy. It is the discourteous ladies— clearly earning much more than him— who are pains in the neck.

Technically, the film has a ‘hero’ as well, a gangster called Guru (Sidharth Malhotra) who falls in love with a terminally ill girl (Shraddha Kapoor). This fellow serves the purpose of stopping the courtesy-demanding serial killer in his tracks, thus formulating the equation for a thriller.

An unremarkable film—but for that lethal dose of misogyny.