Wednesday, December 9, 2009

IFAC #9: Ek Hasina Thi. Oh my.

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.


Smitha said...

This is one of my favourite BW movies ever too!

Vivster said...

Nice one, Sanni !

EHT is one of my all time favourites too. Sriram is a genius !!!

bollyviewer said...

Saif was sooo good in this - that should be reason enough to watch! :-)

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Another reason why Urmila needs to make more movies- I miss her! Both actors were super.

veracious said...

Smitha & Vivster - Glad to hear it :D

bollyviewer - I agree.

Shweta - Too true. Though I suspect BW's age discrimination got her.. she's probably not being offered very interesting roles.

Anonymous said...

This one doesn't get as much love as it should. While Saif was brilliant in Omkara, I am fonder of his performance in this one -- by never really playing it up too much, he creates an absolutely wonderful character.

I also love the fact that his character is shown as a relatively small cog in the criminal enterprise. More often than not, when the hero/heroine sets out to avenge someone, the avengee turns out to be some kind of criminal mastermind. By playing the whole movie in a minor key, Sriram Raghavan somehow manages to make it more effective.