By SAYAK BORAL
Imagine waking up to a knocking sound in the middle of the night, the person turns out to be a female with whom you had shared close, intimate experiences in the past (not necessarily sexual). It could be your ex-girlfriend, wife, mother, sister, daughter, favorite school teacher, personal secretary, yoga instructor, the prostitute who gave you a good time when you were feeling low 🙂 etc. This isn’t a dream. All these people are welcome in your life because so far, their influence has been benign and positive. Indeed, in their own myriad ways, they have shaped your personality making you the proud man you call yourself today. These females nurtured you as a sapling, inspired your success moments and presently create a beautiful existence for you wherever you are. Put it simply, your male life would be meaningless without their active collaboration and participation.
What if I through some occult powers, revealed you the dark, deep, dangerous and mysterious personality layers of these very females, something which would have stoked your curiosity but you were too busy to probe further. I didn’t. Being a curious child and now an adult who doesn’t rest till he gets to the crux of the matter, I always try to see more than what meets the eye. That English teacher who always marked me as a topper over other deserving students, that well-wishing mentor who mysteriously disappeared after I refused to cooperate with her, that spooky college girlfriend who would call at 3 AM every night making me feel uneasy and tormented. We broke up and I swore her off but after all these years, we’re back with each other although I’m trying to keep distance. Since all these individuals are absolutely real, I’m convinced they are permanent fixtures of my life. It’s difficult to shake them away or ignore their presence.
The premise of Ek thi Daayan precisely revolves around the concept of intimacy that you as male would share with all these genuine females that hover around you. Before we begin, you need to know some precise differences between daayans and chudails which I have gathered from discussions with many people. A daayan is usually attractive always the seductress, whereas a chudail, butt-ugly. The chudail may not be always bad, she may just want to be left alone near that old peepal tree outside the school canteen. The daayan is a lot sinister because what she’s really after is a virile man or male child who she would want to pull alongside her to the Underworld, so that the hapless creature is forced to enjoy her company in eternal Hell. Is there a female with whom you would want to be eternally in Hell, now that’s a thought-provoking question really 🙂
Serial-kisser Emraan Hashmi plays a magician with a gay-sounding name called Bobo the Baffler, a 36-year old man struggling with his nebulous past. He has no clues about how his sister and father died. So he has repeat hallucinations and flashbacks. Past life regression therapy takes him down the memory lane to a daayan encounter at his old flat in South Mumbai, a woman responsible for the death of his family members. Basically, that daayan comes back again to haunt him as he starts a new chapter in life. Simple story but watch it for a flawless execution and some superb twists and turns.
The ideas of familiarity and intimacy have a haunting appeal that makes for a bone-chilling movie experience. The opening credits greet you with this melodiously eerie and refreshing musical score “Lautungi Main”, sung by Rekha Bharadwaj, complete with sounds of crickets, dog howls and ghungroos. It talks of a woman making a promise to return to the man who had spurned her advances, here’s the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywUN48oSu2U
In addition, the scriptwriters have borrowed Hollywood ideas like “666” and “LaVeyan Satanism” which were unneeded as they felt like artificial implants on a woman already blessed with large boobies (Mehta would be a better person to judge the depiction of Satanic rituals in the last scene). The concept of Daayan itself is such a novel one and has a pronouned, raw appeal for Indian-desi sensibilities. A scene has been lifted straight from Inception where the children and a grown-up Emraan Hashmi descend down an old elevator to the very depths and depravities of Hell!
I often heard from local folklore that daayan women haunt cemeteries in night, wear their hair in Rapunzel-like long plaits, take revenge on men that dared to spurn their advances, have their feet arranged in a reverse manner and indulge in child sacrifice. But the more sinister ones are supposed to reside within the family or among you, in civilized existence. In your building compound. In your office. In the gym? Really, there’s a girl at my gym who seems to spend an inordinate time on each machine – be it treadmill, elliptical machines or cycles, she’s just on them like all day. Whether I show up on morning or evening, she just stays there everytime, possessed like a she-werewolf. I steer clear of her lest she meets my eyes. Like I said, if you want a daayan, just start looking around you. Every woman has possible daayan potential, it’s just that most do not give vent to their innermost cravings. Yesterday I mentioned this idea to a close female that every woman has a bit of daayan in her, she didn’t disagree.
I guess my daayan expectations were more than fulfilled from this movie because the directors have researched deeply into the true origins of daayan folklore. My only disappoint was that typical of Indian moviemakers’ IQ level, the emergence of all these daayans happened very abruptly, an intelligent movie-maker would give you some subtle hints about the possible identity of the daayan without revealing too much. The transitions are equally important as the unfolding of story events. Don’t you agree with that statement?
One salient comedy highlight of this film: women with long hair worn in a pleat, you had better be careful. This film might incite some daayan-inflicted men to attack your jooda with a knife, that scene was really hilarious although I understand, a bit stupid and misogynistic.