I got the laptop I'm typing on in summer 2006, after graduating from senior high school. I was pretty psyched. Finally my own computer, where I could save whatever I liked without fear of anybody going through it! I could play my DVD's in the comfort of my room, in peace. And most importantly, I could screencap the heck out of any DVD I owned.
The first film I screencapped? Ek Hasina Thi, Sriram Raghavan's debut thriller from 2004, starring Urmila Matondkar and Saif Ali Khan.
I don't really discuss this movie much, because I feel like most have seen it and appreciate without me kicking up a fuss and announcing how madly I love it. But I do, love it that is. Madly, too. And why wouldn't I? It's an intense film, well-directed and scripted and the performances are extremely memorable. It only has one song, the titular "Ek hasina thi" (There was once a beautiful girl). And purely from a superficial perspective, it's well-shot and Urmila and Saif both look amazing.
Another reason I don't often talk about it is because talking about it would mean giving much of the plot away. If I'd have my way, the only thing anybody would ever know of this movie, prior to seeing it would be the DVD cover with blood running down side, pictures of the two leads and the tag line: "It started like just another love story..."
Because that's really all you need to know. The story is nowhere near as complex and inventive as Raghavan's later Johnny Gaddaar but it's still worth not spoiling much, just for the sake of the new viewer who has the benefit of seeing how it folds out in front of their eyes. It's really no surprise, considering this is a thriller, that even if the beginning could on paper be a start of a love story, the mood makes it clear this is far, far from it.
As you can imagine, there is deceit, there is crime, and there is blood but no romance to speak of. When I first saw EHT, just that blew me away - it was one of the first, if not THE first starkly non-masala films I'd seen at that point. Nowadays, I admit I might not be so impressed with it. But I'm glad I saw it when I saw it, I'm glad for the numerous rewatches I've given it, and I'm glad to have the DVD on my shelf.
Whether you'll love it as much as I do -- I sincerely doubt it, but I do recommend it a lot all the same. It's a must watch, if not for the masala lover, then at least for fans of the leads, or those who enjoy a darker Hindi fare.
Or for any superficial reason you can think of. Any excuse to post more screencaps of this will do.