Right from the beginning of the film you know that 'Ekk Deewana Tha' would take a different course. Boy (Prateik) meets girl in the first five minutes of the film and it is love at first sight. This isn't all as the proposal happens in 20 minutes flat as well, which means there is no time wasted in at least one of them making an instant decision. Guess this was pretty much intended by director Gautham Menon as he reserved the next two hours for the girl (Amy Jackson) to finally find that 'one moment' that makes her take a decision that is for the keeps.
Now it is this very aspect of the film that was always akin to taking a risky route. What one sees in regular films is a love story where at least by the interval point the girl as well as the boy are sure of their relationship, hence leading to the third act in the story. The case is different though in 'Ekk Deewana Tha' as the mindset of the girl remains pretty consistent right through the first, second as well as the third act.
This means that while she is self-confessedly confused about her real feelings for the boy, as a viewer you do get good hints that this confusion is more about the uncertain future that she was staring at. Now that's understandable since there is disparity in religion, social status, age difference, professions, personal choices and family opposition involved.
Thankfully the film stays on to be a largely smile-through film where there are witty moments coupled with entertaining dialogues (courtesy Manu Rishi's dialogues) which ensure that you are thoroughly engaged in the state of affairs. This means that whether it is Prateik's instant proposal to Amy, their pact of friendship, her decision to reach out to him despite spurning him not too long ago, their meeting in Kerala, the family confrontation, the terrific interval point, Amy's confession, Prateik's dilemma or Amy's sudden volte-face - all of this does manage to hook a viewer to the going ons-at screen.
However it's portions after this, and that too for a good 20-25 minutes, where audience can be expected to have diverse opinions. While for those who like their cinema to be crisp and conventional, the film may come across as an over extended affair. On the other hand die hard romantics who like their films to be real and also unpredictable (as is life in general), the chapters that follow turn out to be more significant than ever.
What adds further weight to the proceedings is A.R. Rahman's music. So whether it is the opening number 'Hosanna' or the closing track "Sunlo Zara", you do invite them with open arms. Also, a special mention for the picturisation of 'Dost Hai' which brings in good energy to the narrative.
One has to acknowledge Prateik's energy too which thankfully doesn't take a laidback approach, as was the case with his disastrous 'My Friend Pinto' or a forgettable performance in 'Dum Maaro Dum'. Here he is pretty much in his elements and comes up with his best and most convincing act till date. Amy is quite good and is easily a far better debutant than some of the over hyped foreign imports. She acts with good conviction, looks extremely pretty and carries herself very well. Manu Rishi gets some of the more light hearted scenes for himself while Babu Anthony (as Amy's father), plays his part quite well too.
Time and again one hears complains around 'Why films don't have a different story to tell?' Romantic movies especially are challenged for being way too predictable and treading the oft-repeated path. Boy meets girl, he proposes, she is unsure, he persists, she agrees, there is parental opposition and then eventually love wins over all and all is well. However 'Ekk Deewana Tha' goes beyond that, in fact far ahead. It breaks the clichés of conventional romance and creates it's own path which is practical, can be related to and in the process also quite real. Now this is where the win of the film lies.