There is one in every love story, the film's tagline proclaims. Not true at all. Ek Villain has one too many, both among the dramatis personae on the screen and the men behind the scenes.
The biggest of the villains in Mohit Suri's Ek Villain is the screenplay itself.
It is as muddled as a serial killer's twisted mind and just as destructive.
A vapid love story dovetailed into a confused psychological thriller, Ek Villain revolves around three characters that are severely damaged in varying ways.
The male protagonist, Guru (Sidharth Malhotra), a Goa goon's sleep-deprived hatchet man, has deep lacerations on his soul.
The young man's inner turmoil is sought to be reflected on his deadpan visage and in his frosty demeanour.
The heroine, Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor), is consumptive and her days are numbered. Her body is afflicted by a disease whose precise nature the film does not care to divulge.
Not that it would have made any difference to the final outcome, but it does go to show that for the writer of this film the devil does not lie in the details.
The devil or the shaitaan, call him what you will, plies his trade everywhere else in this film.
The principal antagonist of Ek Villain, Rakesh Mahadkar (Riteish Deshmukh), is a repressed telephone repairman saddled with a psyche seriously dented on account of being continually nagged by his wife (Aamna Sharif).
Together, the threesome wreaks havoc on themselves and on those at the receiving end of their depredations - the audience.
Ek Villain is all empty flash and flourishes. Its plot, the essence of which is lifted from the 2010 Korean thriller, I Saw The Devil, is riddled with trite contrivances.
The pretty girl with a scrapbook of fancy last wishes hands out homilies to the ruthless hit-man. The lady aims to pulling him out of the darkness that he wallows in.
The bad guy has no room for redemption. He is a mentally mauled married middle class man on the prowl with a deadly screwdriver.
He directs his frustration at unsuspecting women who he picks out randomly in the course of his professional peregrinations.
On its part, the hero's heart is, of course, the site of a fierce battle between the demon and the do-gooder.
Love transforms him and he abandons the gun for the dreamy idyll the angel in his life creates for him.
And then, his world collapses yet again as the shadow of evil creeps back into his home and shatters the peace.
Ek Villain is, in the end, a revenge drama with a laboured closure whose utter farcicality is in keeping with the rest of the film.
Mohit's storytelling style teeters on the edge of excess, pulls back occasionally, but eventually opts for the path of no return.
The result is that the thrills - in other words, the violent action sequences, of which there are many - do not serve the intended purpose.
There are a couple of things in Ek Villain that are worth taking note of, though.
One, with the exception of a part of an unusually soft item number that a sultry Prachi Desai gyrates to towards the end of the film, Ek Villain has no staged, lip-synched songs.
Unfortunately, the soulful songs are rather disruptive and are at variance with the sinister ambience that Ek Villain seeks to generate.
And two, gangly chocolate boy Sidharth Malhotra and comic romp regular Riteish Deshmukh are both cast against type.
Sidharth is turned into a brooding, brutal avenger, while Ritesh is Dr Jekyll-Mr Hyde reincarnate.
As they explore the dark territories of the mind, they are let down rather badly by wild twists and turns that are devoid of logic.
The two have reason to see red all the time - so they go about shedding lots of blood.
Shraddha Kapoor, in contrast, manages to make a mark despite being called upon to do no more than spout some pop philosophy and crack stale jokes when the going gets tough.
As a whole, this film, besides its surface flair, does not have too much to fall back upon.
Watch it only if that is good enough for you.