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Bollywood romcom set in Las Vegas

RACHEL SALTZ

NYT SYNDICATE

THE happy surprise of Ek Main aur Ekk Tu, a Bollywood romcom that bears a vague resemblance to What Happens in Vegas, is that it’s not crude, sniggering or v i n d i c t i v e .

Instead it’s rather sweet and sometimes even a little unexpected.

The setup is p r e d i c t a b l e .

Imran Khan plays Rahul, an architect so uptight that he irons his socks.

Kareena Kapoor is Riana, a freespirited hairstylist.

Both are from Mumbai but trying to make it in Las Vegas. One night Rahul drinks shot after shot to prove to Riana that he’s not a stiff. This being Vegas, they wake up the next day married. On order: an annulment.

The first-time director Shakun Batra, who also had a hand in the script, doesn’t pile on subplots. (The movie is an audience friendly 1 hour 50 minutes.) He also doesn’t overdo the mismatch comedy of: I hate you, I hate you, I love you. Rahul and Riana become friends and allies, not squabbling enemies, and the film, which ends with the annulment, leaves open what happens next. (Smart money’s on true love of course.) The minor characters here can be cartoonish (two thumbs down for Rahul’s succubus ex-girlfriend), but Kapoor and especially Khan avoid that fate.

They help make Las Vegas go down a bit more easily.

Bollywood loves to go abroad, setting stories in modern, Western cities where the characters interact only with other Indians.

Ek Main aur Ekk Tu (“One Me and One You”) hews to formula. The slick montages of Rahul and Riana on the town are part travelogue, part glossy advertisement for life in a mall.

They don’t quite square with a movie that satirises Rahul’s awful arriviste parents whose sleek home in Mumbai, where the film lands in the second half, might as well be Las Vegas. But the well-worn, ramshackle Mumbai apartment where Riana’s family lives, radiates chaotic well-being. It’s a relief to spend some time there.

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