At several points during Ek Villain Returns I wanted to go out of the theatre, to the restroom, wash my face, look in the mirror and think about my choices. If there will be a multiverse of bad films, this one is the real baddie. I saw pimply teenagers with college bags, pressing their temples while gawking at the screen. Maybe sleeping in the class would have been better. The plot seems like a big jigsaw puzzle which wished to align in a big, yellow smiley face, but with several pieces missing, the final picture looks like a bunch of crooked teeth. The film’s hero (or villain?) is Gautam Mehra played by Arjun Kapoor.
He is a rich brat whose angst probably comes from watching too many Joker films. In just the first few scenes he gives a Gunda-isque character introduction: ‘Na aql na shaql, kamane wala mera dad, main sabse bad’ (No brains, no beauty; the one who earns is my dad, my job is being bad) Enter the love interest in the form of Tara Sutaria’s Aarvi. She is a part-time aspiring singer with daddy issues and a full-time damsel in distress. Gautam and Aarvi fall in love but then he betrays her because he already told us he is Ek Villain. In a parallel plotline, John Abraham plays Bhairav, a reserved cab driver obsessed with ratings and Disha Patani’s Rasika.
Is he Ek Villain? Rasika is a mall employee who seems like Shraddha Kapoor’s Ayesha from Ek Villain (2014) broke bad. She wears a twisted smile after causing an accident and is maybe Ek Villain. There is also J.D. Chakravarthy who plays a cop investigating a series of murders but he doesn’t like calling the perpetrator a serial killer. Guess what he terms him? Ek Villain Returns tries to tell a story from the perspective of jilted lovers, psychopaths and manchildren. Understanding is one thing but it somehow expects the viewers to sympathise with them because they are ‘damaged’. Director Mohit Suri’s heroines oscillate between being submissive and psychotic.
The heroes, on the other hand, are just ripped mannequins who punch and stare on command. Arjun Kapoor as Gautam enjoys himself too much in the beginning and then loses interest and the plot. John Abraham seems confused between doing a Force (2011) and a Jhootha Hi Sahi (2010) and ends up doing a John. Tara’s voice in the song Shaamat emotes better than she does on screen, and then there is Disha Patani. When it comes to lucidity, the film takes long jumps of faith and timelines.
The narrative shifts awkwardly six months ahead and three months back and leaves you wanting a calculator or a time machine. Even the direction style changes anytime. It starts off as an unintentional parody of found footage horror, hangs in the middle as a B-grade Korean thriller and ends like a badly made Saw film (which is all of them after the first). If there has to be one, music is the only saving grace in the film. Dil and Galliyan Returns try to reprise the melodious magic of Murder 2 (2011) and Aashiqui 2 (2013). All in all, Ek Villain Returns is a narrative-less music video which would have sufficed as an audio file.
EK VILLAIN RETURNS
Cast: John Abraham, Arjun
Kapoor, Disha Patani, Tara Sutaria
Director: Mohit Suri