Banner: Shree Krishna International
Producer: Suneel Darshan
Director: Suneel Darshan
Cast: Shiv Darshan, Natasha Fernandez, Upen Patel, Soni Kaur, Lalitmohan Tiwari, Rumi Khan
Writers: Suneel Darshan (story & screenplay), Akash Deep (additional screenplay), Kushal Bakshi (dialogue), Uddeept Gaur (dialogue)
Expectations play a large role in how the audience consumes and reacts to cinema, particularly in the commercial realm. Genre formulas are so clear cut then any deviation is immediately noticeable. Some variation is required to prevent things from getting stale, but anything too jarring and you run the risk of alienating your audience. In today’s times, when the audience is open to different kinds of cinema from around the world, it is only fair to present them with a treat on the silver screen. However, Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha is not just incompetent in its narrative, but also an amateurish act presented onscreen.
The film starts with Natasha (Natasha Fernandez) visiting her ancestral mansion on the outskirts of a village in England with her best friend-turned-fiancé, Sunny (Upen Patel). Natasha wishes to get married at the mansion and is visiting the property for the first time. However, there is a secret to the mansion; after a death that occurred there 55 years ago, the property finally opens its doors for Natasha and Sunny’sdestination wedding.
Natasha soon meets farm keeper Dev (Shiv Darshawwn) and falls helplessly in love with him. But nothing is as it seems and Dev is believed to be a ghost haunting Natasha. Soon it is revealed that Dev is not who he says he is and that a well-thought-out plan has been made to kill Natasha. How the story unfolds forms the crux of the film.
Directorially, Suneel Darshan makes no sense with either the script or the dialogue. Execution is disappointing too. From writing to execution, it is a let-down. Many scenes fail to evoke the emotions of each character. The pre-interval story is stuck in the same phase of the screenplay and it’s only in the second half that the story progresses. But as it does so, it shifts tracks so much that the film becomes uninspiring. Though the story is far from unique, what also works against the film is its loose writing. The transformation of the screenplay from storyboard to final product is lacklustre.
Many scenes leave you flabbergasted, mainly due to their mediocrity. For instance, when Dev breaks into Natasha’s room in the middle of the night and she stays fast asleep while he talks to her loudly and puts an anklet on her. But a knock on the door wakes her up immediately when police officers show up at the mansion just seconds after a murder.
The drama isn’t convincing, it is over the top and the emotions portrayed fail to engage. Sure, there are a few moments worth watching, but, alas, they are too few. The film does pick up pace in the second half, but loses its momentum after a few scenes. The major drawback is the dialogue, it may seem poetic, but makes no impact whatsoever. The screenplay seems rushed, especially during the climax, failing to make an impact. There are too many loose ends, and the main plot is not exciting enough to impress. Pre-interval the screenplay falls flat and it seems like the lethargic writing bogs down the second half. Each character and situation acts out with no reason, thus making it all rather wearisome.
The music is by far one of the strongest points of the film. Each track works with the screenplay while complementing the narration to the fullest. The background score is good. The costumes are apt and the locations are exquisite. The cinematography by Amarjeet Singh is top notch. His frame setting and shot taking are a visual delight. The dialogue is tight and includes some heart wrenching lines. Editing by Archit Rastogi is incompetent. And despite a runtime of 105 minutes, the story moves forward sluggishly.
Performance-wise, Shiv Darshan impresses in a few scenes. Debutante Natasha Fernandez impresses neither with her acting prowess nor with her presence onscreen. Upen Patel wraps subtleness around his character and brings out a notable performance. Soni Kaur is just about okay. Lalit Mohan Tiwari plays his part well. Rumi Khan is irksome. The rest of the supporting cast fits the bill.