“Ek Villain” is an Indian romantic action thriller film directed by Mohit Suri. It’s loosely based on the successful Korean movie “I Saw the Devil”, directed by Kim Jee-woon and both are based on the original story written by Park Hoon-jung. For “Ek Villain”, Tushar Hiranandani has adapted Park Hoon-jung’s the original story and by keeping some essential elements of the original screenplay, but at the same time by altering other key details, makes “Ek Villain” to deviate from the movie “I saw the Devil”.

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“Ek Villain”‘s story follows Guru (Sidharth Malhotra), a former gangster who in the past worked for Caeser (Remo Fernandes) but now leaves his past behind and starts a new life with his wife Aisha Verma (Shraddha Kapoor). Unfortunately, at the very beginning of his new life, while Aisha is calling Guru,  an intruder in hood attacks her in their new home, and throws her out of the window. At the same time, Guru is still on the other line of the phone and listens to what is happening. Immediately, he rushes back to their home, but he is too late as Aisha leaves her last breath on the pavement. Guru, full of determination, initiates the hunting of his wife’s murderer and the descent to hell, for him and for the murderer begins.

From the plotline, the similarities between “Ek Villain” and “I Saw a devil” are apparent. What is not obvious from the above summary are the differences and these make the film an entity of its own. One of these is the much more considerable role and greater screening time of the wife along the vengeful husband. The story of Guru and how he met, fall in love and married Aisha unfolds through flashbacks. Each scene shown through these flashbacks is vital, not only for the completeness of the story, but also for the understanding of the underlying motives, reactions, and decisions of the main characters. By the end of the movie, every piece falls together and gives a coherent and quite convincing story, especially regarding the killer’s identity and his reasoning for killing. Furthermore, through these flashbacks, the story of other vital characters is revealed. This story includes the gangster Caeser, the CBI officer Aditya Rathore (Shaad Randhawa), the unsuccessful and family man Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh) and his nagging wife Sulochana (Aamna Sharif).

Another pronounced and noteworthy alteration of the original story is that Guru has seen the devil way before the murder of his wife. He thought that his wife was the very reason to see the bright side of life again, but her death draws him back into darkness as the newfound happiness is taken brutally away from him by her murderer. The return to darkness is unavoidable and the thin line between the “hero” who requests justice and the “villain” who tortures without a second thought, blurs.

The casting of Sidharth Malhotra as Guru is thriving. He is exceptional, not only as the tough and brutal gangster but particularly pulls off excellently every emotional demanding scene. On the other hand, Shraddha Kapoor as Aisha Verma sometimes comes across as little childish with her acting. Fortunately, the movie gives an understandable reason for this and explains to some extent the overlay happily reactions of hers.

As for the technical part of the movie, undeniably Mohit Suri proves to be a skillful director with very few scenes being over the top, namely the throwing of Aisha out of the window. Furthermore, his directing along with the cinematography by Vishnu Rao provide a visually stunning movie. Another highlight of the movie is the exceptional soundtrack that adds much to the viewing experience.

“Ek Villain” is a movie with a gripping story, solid acting and breathtaking cinematography, which every cinephile should add to his/her must-watch list.

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