Rahul Kapoor (Imran Khan), is on his way to become a carbon copy of his parents when he suddenly loses his job as an architect in Vegas. Afraid that he has let his parents down, Rahul decides to hide the truth from them. By a twist of fate, he meets Raina Braganza (Kareena Kapoor), a quick-witted hairstylist, who is everything he isn't. A series of events leads them to meet on Christmas Eve for a drink and following a night of debauchery, they wake up to discover that they've gotten married. Now, Rahul has more than just his job loss to hide from his parents.

Bollywood rom-com just as bad as similar Hollywood take.

Though it thankfully excises all the shrill coarseness of its inspiration – 2008’s horrible Ashton Kutcher comedy What Happens in Vegas – there is not much left to engage audiences in Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (literally, One Me and One You).

An old-fashioned star-vehicle for two of modern Indian cinema’s most photogenic stars, debutant director Shakun Batra knows how to capture the sweet and silly antics of his leads but affords them meagre opportunity to flesh-out their characters. The paper-thin plotting and reliance upon twee, cutesy humour leaves one feeling Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu would have played better as a small-screen sitcom.

The premise is primarily the plot, as no discernible story kicks in once the set-up is established. Rahul (Imran Khan) is a buttoned-up mummy’s boy who describes himself as 'perfectly average"; Riana (Kareena Kapoor) is a firecracker, though her responsibility-free life has caught up with her and she is nearly broke and homeless. A psychologist office meet-cute throws the two together and, despite his reluctance and her circumstance, they hit the Vegas strip to party.

Like much of Batra’s film, this sequence is particularly chaste. Whereas the corresponding scenes in What Happens in Vegas and similar films like The Hangover depict epic debauchery, the kind of which leads to life-changing mistakes, Rahul and Riana ride escalators, get their photos taken with locals and act rebellious by crossing against the 'Don’t Walk’ signal. It is impossible to accept that they are both so inebriated that they would wander into an Elvis-themed chapel and become wed (a scene of great comic potential ultimately left unexplored). If anybody emerges from the night with a sense a giddy delirium, it will be the Las Vegas tourism people – a montage (one of many) that cuts together the lights and sounds of 'Sin City’ makes it look gaudily enticing.

Forced together while they await an official annulment, the new friends share life stories, overcome minor hurdles (including an awkward, distasteful sequence involving Rahul, an old flame and a restaurant bathroom) and grow close. These pre-interval scenes are nicely-staged (a chatty, sex-free bedroom moment affords the actors some rare space for character development) but are almost entirely substance-free. When Rahul declares to no one in particular, 'I think I am falling in love with her," it seems entirely incongruous to the nature of their developing friendship yet, given the grinding genre machinations to which this type of film must ultimately adhere, is no surprise at all.

A third-act shift back to Riana’s parent’s home in India and a final reel twist designed to create dramatic heft where there has been none are handled perfunctorily.

The only significant achievement of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is the capturing of some solid chemistry between the leads, both of whom do no harm at all to their matinee idol status. Though their skill at driving the film forward appears effortless, it undoubtedly took all of their combined charisma (as well as the sublime scissor-work of editor Asif Ali Shaikh) to bring life to Batra’s and co-writer Ayesha DeVitre’s underdone script.


In Cinemas 10 February 2012,