Ek Villain Returns (2022) Review: The Villain Returns, But With A Bunch Of Hiccups!

Every villain has a story. As per the villain, he himself is the hero of his own story. That’s why he says, “Heroes don’t exist!” Experience romance, action, thrill, and suspense, all combined, in Ek Villain Returns as Bollywood’s “He-Man”, John Abraham takes on the underdog, Arjun Kapoor. Written and directed by Mohit Suri, and produced by Ekta Kapoor and Bhushan Kumar, Ek Villain Returns released India-wide on July 29, 2022.

Ek Villain Returns (2022): John Abraham Versus Arjun Kapoor (Face-off) Promo!

Ek Villain Returns (2022) Official Trailer:

The Good:

John Abraham Versus Arjun Kapoor!

Starring Arjun Kapoor as Gautam Mehra

This time the villain returns but not as Riteish Deshmukh but as John Abraham, an intense physical specimen! John Abraham stands out as an actor not because of his acting skills, but because of his physicality. As an actor, John Abraham stands average. His performance can get on your nerves due to his blank expressions during dialogue delivery. But in terms of physicality, he surpasses all! It is the only reason why the audiences are so fond of his movies.

The one who pulled the show throughout in Ek Villain Returns was Arjun Kapoor! Arjun Kapoor cannot be addressed as “the hero” of this movie in spite of the fact that his character Gautam rescued Aaravi (Tara Sutaria) from Bhairav’s (John Abraham) clutches in the climax. Arjun Kapoor plays a reckless guy in this movie who is beating up people randomly and doesn’t care about anything at all. In fact, for a major portion of the movie, it was assumed that Arjun Kapoor was the serial killer till John Abraham made his entry, and we could finally get a hint that John is possibly the actual villain in this movie.

Starring John Abraham as Bhairav Purohit

During an interview, Arjun Kapoor said that he had a tough time matching up to John Abraham’s physicality as they went one-on-one several times in the movie. Arjun Kapoor, being an assistant-director and an actor, has been in the action genre for quite some time now. His intense one-on-one fist fights with John Abraham in the movie at times made me rethink the true genre of the film. Was I watching a suspense-thriller or some action drama? If you ask me, I would say that Ek Villain Returns is a psychological action-thriller which is quite successful in invoking suspense during its first half.

Mind-Blowing Dialogue Delivery

Along with intense hand-to-hand combat scenes, John Abraham and Arjun Kapoor delivered some amazing dialogues during their face-off. The dialogues in Ek Villain Returns have been written by Aseem Arora. I will narrate some intense Hindi dialogues from the movie and translate them into English. John Abraham to Arjun Kapoor, “Main Hu Hero Teri Kahani Ka” translated as “I’m the hero of your story”. To this Arjun Kapoor replies, “Tu Hero, To Main Teri Kahani Ka Villain!” meaning, “If you are the hero, then I am the villain of your story!”

Featuring Tara Sutaria as Aaravi Malhotra

John Abraham further said, “Maar Dunga Sabko, Yaa Khud Mar Jaaunga” translated as, “I will kill everybody (including you), else will die myself!” To this Arjun Kapoor replies, “Maar De, Par Uthta Rahunga Aakhri Saans Tak” meaning, “Then go ahead, but I will rise again and again till my last breath!”

Magical Songs

Ek Villain Returns has mesmerizing songs. The best track in this movie, which is “Shaamat”, has been sung by actress Tara Sutaria herself along with singer Ankit Tiwari. Tara Sutaria’s voice is magical and I have to say that along with being an actress, she has the ability to surpass many reputed female singers in the industry.

Featuring Disha Patani as Rasika Mapuskar

Some other melodious tracks from Ek Villain Returns are “Galliyan 2.0”, sung by Ankit Tiwari, which is a recreated version of the original track “Galliyan” from Ek Villain (2014). Another amazing one is “Dil”, sung by Raghav Chaitanya, which is an original track of Ek Villain Returns.

Awesome Cinematography

Ek Villain Returns has been shot in the glamorous city of Mumbai and involved classy sets and backgrounds which amplified the viewing experience. Vikas Sivaraman’s high-definition camerawork made the cinematic quality pleasant. Though the action sequences in the movie were fast-paced, the camerawork did capture every aspect precisely. The tiger attack scene at the climax was fascinating.  As the tiger pounced on John Abraham, it appeared huge and realistic though it was only a product of CGI.

The Bad:

A Predictable Plot

Arjun Kapoor in a bike stunt scene from Ek Villain Returns

I will give you a brief glimpse of Ek Villain (2014). In that movie, Riteish Deshmukh played a psychopath named Rakesh Mahadkar who was regularly harassed by his wife at home. He was afraid of his wife and dared not say anything to her. Instead, he took out his frustrations, that he had because of his wife, on other women by murdering them. But as his fate had it, he happened to murder the pregnant girlfriend (played by Shraddha Kapoor) of gangster Guru (Sidharth Malhotra). This made him dig his own grave! As an act of vengeance for the murder of his girlfriend, Guru used to beat him to a pulp whenever he came across him till the climax showed that he died at the hands of Guru.

The story of Ek Villain Returns by Mohit Suri is similar but with a twist. In the initial parts, you will think that Arjun Kapoor is the murderer till John Abraham makes his entry, and the twist unfolds. But over here, John Abraham is no fragile villain. He is a villain with immense physicality. He is not ready to take any beatings from Arjun Kapoor as Riteish Deshmukh took from Sidharth Malhotra in the prequel. Instead, he gave Arjun Kapoor a fight of his life!

John Abraham and Disha Patani in a scene from Ek Villain Returns

I address the plot of Ek Villain Returns as “predictable” because similar to Riteish Deshmukh in Ek Villan (2014), John is also portrayed as a frustrated psychopath who kills women. He ultimately gets “emotionally defeated” by Arjun Kapoor. It’s actually the tiger who did the actual work in the climax. So, the ending of this movie is a bit different as compared to its prequel, where the villain gets brutally killed by the “so-called hero”. However if you ask me, I would say that even if the story is predictable, it is very much intriguing, and you wouldn’t want to walk out of the theater hall without seeing the climax.

A Confusing Screenplay

The screenplay of Ek Villain Returns by Mohit Suri is fantastic no doubt, but it is not meant for all! Though the story is interesting, the number of flashbacks shown in the screenplay is enough to confuse the audience. By the interval, you would get bewildered and start wondering, “What did I just see till now?” I think Mohit Suri should have considered revising the script and screenplay to make them as interesting as the story.

I believe there was no scope for any better editing which could have been done by Devendra Murdeshwar. When the script itself involves multiple flashbacks, then even the best of editing could not have done any good to the 2-hour and 10-minute screenplay.

Arjun Kapoor and Tara Sutaria in the climax of Ek Villain Returns

The Ending Made No Sense

Bhairav (John Abraham) has been portrayed as a psycho serial killer who murders those women who do not care about their one-sided lovers. In the starting scene, he has been shown murdering Aaravi (Tara Sutaria). All of a sudden, it is revealed that Aaravi is still alive, and he has kept her locked up in some zoo. If Bhairav is a psycho killer who has no mercy for women, it is still unclear as to what made him not kill Aaravi, in spite of the fact that she had wronged her lover Gautam by deserting him. The women Bhairav had murdered also had wronged their one-sided lovers just like Aaravi. Then why such a bias; I still can’t understand!

Riteish Deshmukh made a special appearance as the psycho serial killer Rakesh Mahadkar in the post-credit scene

John Abraham’s Lack Of Expressions

This is not just for Ek Villain Returns. John Abraham as an actor lacks varied expressions during dialogue delivery. Whatever movies of him you will come across, you will see him giving the same blank expression throughout his performances. This can be enough to irritate the audience. As compared to Riteish Deshmukh’s terrific performance as the villain in Ek Villan (2014), John does surpass him in terms of physicality, but not acting.

The Verdict:

Usually, Bollywood movies tend to be male-dominated. Women have very few roles to play other than romancing the heroes. But in Ek Villain Returns, the characters of Tara Sutaria and Disha Patani are quite significant. Though their roles are comparatively shorter than the men’s, their characters are central to the film and their performances are convincing. It is around the characters of Aaravi and Rasika respectively, that the story of Ek Villain Returns revolves. The two men are in conflict because of these two women only. Bhairav (John Abraham) became a psycho killer because of Rasika’s unfaithfulness whereas Gautam (Arjun Kapoor) is on a quest to rescue Aaravi from Bhairav.

On the sets: Arjun Kapoor and John Abraham in a conversation with Riteish Deshmukh

Ek Villain Returns also questions Indian law and order. The police have been shown as helpless government puppets who are unable to do anything about the murders being committed across the city or the two men who are after each other’s blood. In one scene, Bhairav enters high-ranking police officer ACP Ganesan’s residence, and murders him in broad daylight! So at the end of it, law and order do not hold any significance in this movie. It’s just John Abraham versus Arjun Kapoor in a No Holds Barred match!

The post-credit scene shows a glimpse of the villain Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh) from the prequel, who was supposed to be dead. He is shown visiting the injured and bed-ridden Bhairav. So surprisingly, he is still alive! That means he wasn’t killed by Guru (Sidharth Malhotra). This does arouse some interest in the minds of the audiences, and you would probably keep guessing what might have Rakesh Mahadkar done to the injured Bhairav. Did he kill him before leaving? Whatever might be the case, the special appearance of Riteish Deshmukh in the post-credit scene does leave room for a third part, which I hope will be coming up soon!

Overall, Ek Villain Returns is a must-watch unique suspense-thriller filled with romance, adventure, action, and thrill! If you happen to be an action lover, this movie won’t disappoint you as in this you will see two buffs and over six feet tall guys take on each other in a battle of love and dejection.

Behind the scene selfie: Arjun Kapoor (front) with John Abraham (back)

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  • Acting - 6.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 9/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6.5/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
  • Watchability - 9/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
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About Subhadeep Kumar Ganguli

Meta film critic. Never make the same mistake twice. Make it three or four times just to be sure 😉

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