Remember Ek Villain? It was a superhit that said that a man can become a serial killer because his wife keeps nagging him. Now, we have Ek Villain Returns, though no member of the original cast actually returns. Instead, we have a very formidable acting quartet: Arjun Kapoor, John Abraham, Disha Patani and Tara Sutaria. Between them, they have at least two-and-a-half expressions, which, frankly, is more than what I expected. And what is this film's philosophy? That a man can become a serial killer because of love. In simpler times, you could make your girlfriend happy by taking her out to dinner or giving her flowers. Now, apparently, you have to take a sledgehammer and butcher other women, while wearing a yellow smiley mask.
No, I have not spoiled anything for you. The film doesn't need me. It does a pretty good job of spoiling itself. Ek Villain Returns is a film of several firsts. It is the first serial-killer movie to also function as a non-stop music video, thanks to non-stop love songs. (Love is the theme, remember?) It is the first serial-killer movie to have scenes set in a zoo --and I propose that next year's film awards include a category for Best Supporting Tiger. Ek Villain Returns is the first serial-killer movie to resemble a fashion show, thanks to the non-stop slow-motion walking by Disha Patani. And it is the first serial-killer movie to have a father utter this line to his son: "I love you. The problem is there is no winning or losing in love." (Love is the theme, remember?)
There is an element of misogyny in most serial killers – and consequently, in most films about serial killers. But Ek Villain Returns takes this to a whole new level. Agreed, the whole point of being a killer is that you do not have all your mental faculties intact. But the other characters, too, revel in insulting women. For instance, Arjun Kapoor has a scene where he barges into his ex's wedding and creates a ruckus and walks away smug and smiling. Where's a serial killer when you really need one? So yes, there are a few twists. But what's missing is the atmosphere that makes the heart go cold, the directorial skills that take us right into a serial-killer scenario. If Ek Villain Returns is a hit, I guess we'll get another sequel. That thought is more chilling than anything in this movie.
National Award-winning film critic Baradwaj Rangan, former deputy editor of The Hindu and senior editor of Film Companion, has carved a niche for himself over the years as a powerful voice in cinema, especially the Tamil film industry, with his reviews of films. While he was pursuing his chemical engineering degree, he was fascinated with the writing and analysis of world cinema by American critics. Baradwaj completed his Master’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations through scholarship. His first review was for the Hindi film Dum, published on January 30, 2003, in the Madras Plus supplement of The Economic Times. He then started critiquing Tamil films in 2014 and did a review on the film Subramaniapuram, while also debuting as a writer in the unreleased rom-com Kadhal 2 Kalyanam. Furthermore, Baradwaj has authored two books - Conversations with Mani Ratnam, 2012, and A Journey Through Indian Cinema, 2014. In 2017, he joined Film Companion South and continued to show his prowess in critiquing for the next five years garnering a wide viewership and a fan following of his own before announcing to be a part of Galatta Media in March 2022.