Seriously, what’s going on in writer-director Mohit Suri’s head?
It’s a stylish opening sequence. A girl band is happily making merry music in a high-rise apartment when it’s interrupted by a Smiley mask crashing through the glass window. With a hammer around, there’s bloody mayhem.
Meet the main players.
Millionaire brat Gautam (Arjun Kapoor) gatecrashes a wedding on his motorbike, breaks stuff all over, gets the bride to confess her love for him and seal it with a kiss. Then tosses her to the groom and says something like, ‘I’m done with her. Now you can take her’. He swaggers around saying he’ll always be the winner. His dad’s livid, a video clip of his mad, brash and violent ways has gone viral. “Jeetna hai toh doosron ko uthana seekho, girana nahi,” advises the dad who threatens to disown him. Gautam laughs at him.
Soon Gautam is trailing singer Aarvi Malhotra (Tara Sutaria) who’s got daddy issues and issues about being overshadowed by a rival called Qiran with a ‘Q’. Gautam dons a Smiley mask, threatens the rival and Aarvi gets the stage all to herself. Now are Aarvi and Gautam a couple?
Everybody bandies dialogues like, ‘Maarna chalega, haarna nahi’ and ‘If a guy has sex, he’s a hero. If a girl does it, she’s zero.’ Don’t take a bow, Aseem Arrora.
Bhairav (John Abraham) is the richest cabbie in town. He tails salesgirl Rasika (Disha Patani), buys up everything she dumps on him every single day, and goes to fancy places. He also doubles up as an assistant at the local zoo where lions and tigers snarl at him.
Meanwhile, somebody’s on a killing spree and Aarvi goes missing. The cops say wisely, ‘A Smiley Killer is on the loose.’
One cop goes after Gautam, convinced he’s the man with the Smiley.
ACP Ganeshan (JD Chakravarthy, a bit paunchy) shakes his head and concludes that it isn’t Gautam, it’s a man who hates girls who ditch their boyfriends.
Who’s the killer? Gautam, the bad boy with the exaggerated swagger? Bhairav the taxi driver who sees what others can’t? Rasika who also has a Smiley mask and goads Bhairav to do stuff that’s deadly?
Gautam and Bhairav clash and beat each other to a pulp on a train which has no other passengers while the film itself is like a train derailed.
Sharing writing credits with Aseem Arrora, Mohit Suri goes berserk with the ‘spiritual successor to the 2014 Ek Villain’.
Riteish Deshmukh, the quiet husband in the 2014 original, had a believable quirk for killing women who laughed at him or looked down on him. This time around, the villain hammers to death women who two-time, women who dump crazy lovers, women who’re miffed with their boyfriends, any woman at all. It gives lady-killer a whole new meaning. Stretched to bizarre limits, you not only wonder what’s going on in the villain’s mad head, you also wonder what’s swirling inside Mohit’s brain.
John, Arjun, Disha and Tara, a quartet of non-actors, can’t save the general derangement.
Musically too, ‘Galliyan’ in the well-made 2014 original continues to be more hauntingly hummable than any of the numbers in the 2022 outing.
What’s worse is that the end has two villains, both alive, promising that they have much work to do. Sounds ominously like they’ll team up for the next instalment. But if Suri’s second edition is anything to go by, we’d be happy if all the villains stayed at home and didn’t attempt yet another ‘return’. Do spare the ladies, please.
Watch Ek Villain Returns Trailer: