Which is the pick of the Valentine’s weekend? We have a story of an obsessed lover (or so we think in Muppozhudum Un Karpanaigal), a tongue in cheek take on love (Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Eppadi) and a rather unusual movie for a Valentine weekend – a thriller in Ambuli. There is another one; VTV returns as Ekk Deewana Tha. We wish all the Valentine releases the very best.
The talk is about Ekk Deewana Tha and how it is going to be. This is Gautham Menon’s second Hindi film and has generated some good pre-release talk and expectation. The last time he made a Hindi film, the remake of Minnale, it sneaked into theatres as an unknown quantity and was out before word of mouth got around and the music got popular. This time however, there will be no such issues as Rahman’s music has put the movie right up there on the Valentine’s weekend list of all movie buffs. For those who have seen VTV and its Telugu version, Ye Maaya Chesaave, the question is about which ending Ekk Deewana Tha is adopting. If you might recall, the Tamil and Telugu versions had different endings, the Telugu version being the happier one. This had generated a pretty interesting debate about which was the better climax and the jury was split. So, Gautham might have had a hard time figuring out the one he wanted for the Hindi version. The answer is, he has chosen both.
One will feature in the major theatrical version that will be released worldwide while the alternate ending, termed the ‘director’s cut’ will be released separately in 20 select theatres. Now, this is a novel thing to do. If we want to guess, we can say that it is the happy ending which will feature in the major release and the more sober one (the Tamil one) that will be part of the director’s cut. One can say this with confidence because the word ‘director’s cut’ always suggest things that are a bit more realistic and have a heavy feeling about them. However, knowing Gautham, he could surprise us with a reversal too.
This is perhaps the first time when alternate endings of a film are being released simultaneously. We have seen cases before where alternate endings have been placed in DVDs. Of late, additional scenes and songs to movies are being used as a strategy to keep the movie alive in theatres for a longer while. We had the recent case of the ‘lunghi dance’ in Mayakkam Enna being added a few weeks after the theatrical release. This was given some amount of publicity and one thinks it did help in extending the theatrical mileage of the film a wee bit.
Coming back to alternate endings; we know of quite a few of them. There are certain endings that the directors love but have to change just for the sake of fan’s and because audiences always like to see a ‘happily ever after’ scenario. One classic example of this case was Kreedom where the climax from the Malayalam original was altered in lieu of a happy one because Ajith fans just couldn’t bear to see their idol being taken to jail in the climax. One also remembers the unique case of the Malayalam movie Harikrishnans which had different climaxes for different regions. The movie was a multi-starrer featuring Mammootty and Mohanlal. The climax favouring Mammootty was released in areas where his fan distribution was higher while the other climax favouring Mohanlal was released in places that were his fortresses. In Indian cinema, with the star system being paramount, every film maker who wants to make a film where the protagonist doesn’t end up the winner always has an alternate climax in hand just in case somebody expresses reservations just days before the movie’s release.
This alternate climax thing however is not just something that is present in the star oriented system of Indian cinema. Hollywood has generous examples of alternate endings, but they are not driven by star or fan requirements. While in Indian cinema, it is the director’s cut that has the more realistic endings, in Hollywood, it is the theatrical versions that feature them. The theatrical version of Rocky Balboa features the realistic scenario of the 60 year old veteran being defeated by current heavyweight champion Mason Dixon; while the DVD features the alternate ending where Rocky wins. Similarly, it is the theatrical version of I am Legend that has Will Smith dying while the alternate climax features him living to propagate his finding. And, many will be surprised to know that even Titanic has an alternate ending. No, Jack does not live. The alternate ending is just a minor tweak in the final scene where the grand daughter of Rose sees her dropping the diamond into the ocean. In Hollywood, almost every other film has an alternate ending and deleted scenes feature on DVD. But, Ekk Deewana Tha, much like Harikrishnans, stands out for being one of the very rare films where both the endings have simultaneous theatrical release.
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