Cast: Upen Patel, Shiv Darshan, Natasha Fernandez
Director: Suneel Darshan
Rating: 0.5 star
Parental love, particularly that of a successful father for his untalented son, may drip with schmaltziness but must it be at the expense of the common man who anyway has his own set of woes to deal with? Producer-director Suneel Darshan launches his son Shiv Darshan in this week’s release Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha in a tale that tries to unite bits of multiple themes to play it safe. The film goes bump, and then thuds without so much as giving us any reason to know the whats, wheres and whys of the lead characters’ sudden whims and fancies. It’s so formulaic, so fake and relentlessly bland that things don’t even register.
The initial premise is fine, the setting alluring, as picturesque locations of Cornwall, Dartmouth, Cardiff and Manchester fill the screen and an essentially haunted house with effectively eerie rooms set the tone for a perfect horror and mystery thriller. Gradually then, it all devolves into a forced and mildly ridiculous, suspenseful story as we get introduced to Natasha (Natasha Fernandez) and her fiancé Sunny (Upen Patel) who are travelling in a car to visit her ancestral property in the UK. They hold hands and sing a romantic duet to make us believe that everything is fine and that they are on their way to heaven as their wedding date is drawing near. Quite strategically, at this stage, their car breaks down and Natasha sets out to enjoy the surrounding scenic beauty. Out of the blue, a mysterious man emerges out of nowhere, and she accidentally slips into a lake. No one would have guessed that the summer’s most invincible saviour would come to her rescue in the shape of a lanky, unshaven man Devdhar (Shiv Darshan), who brazenly also plants a kiss on her lips as she lay motionless after an accidental fall into a lake.
As Sunny tries to fix their car, her sudden love for Devdhar surfaces to form a passionate connection between the two.
With its claustrophobic atmosphere, there are characters which appear both benevolent and secretive to serve more as manoeuvres to keep the guessing game going. We don’t quite figure out pretty much from the start who the real bad guys are not because we are intrigued but because there seems to be no motivation for us to find out anything more about what’s going on, even though it elicits as many giggles as gasps.
Debutante Natasha plays lead with an excessively mannered accent that doesn’t jibe with her expressionless demeanour. Darshan as the lead is clueless about what is expected of him as the “kahani mein twists” create a mood of general foreboding, sprinkling in a few jolts, then capping it all off with a twist ending that, in this case, viewers may not see coming.
In the midst of all this, director Darshan tries to employ intriguing characters to heighten some of the suspense, except that it’s all ultimately made unwatchable by the exceptionally clumsy cast as the story veers towards the downright silly. It’s too bad he didn’t have a script in place; neither did he offer any piece of advice to his son to so much as learn a few basics to remove stiffness from his body while facing the camera. He surrounds the love story with such boring mumbo-jumbo about time travel, greed, conspiracy that we finally just don’t care. About the film still getting half a star? Well, the only good thing about it is that it’s only 105 minutes long!