Pavan Kirpalani’s previous outing Ragini MMS was a triumph of sorts; a found-footage film that did build up decently but didn’t make you defecate in fear, it is still very different from what Hindi horror movies have been. You might have just been glad to watch another scary movie from Bollywood that dared to not have songs, I was overjoyed to see people actually act in it. Even with Ragini MMS 2 being helmed by another director, it’s still a sequel I look forward to, and with Sunny Leone in the lead, we’ll certainly enjoy a few laughs, if not the chills, but that’s a few months from now.
Darr @ The Mall veers towards the commercial side of Bollywood horror, with an item number and other songs, and an amateur cast hammy as can be (it’s good when they’re this annoying; you wait for them to be done away with). Jimmy Shergill, a fine actor who deserves better, is helpless in this horror flick the way he was in Bullett Raja (read my review of that unbelievably bad Tigmanshu Dhulia film here), and he looks bored out of his mind while experiencing occurrences spooky enough to unsettle anyone.
But get it right: Darr @ The Mall at no point manages to even interest you. Pavan Kirpalani takes a horror cliche we don’t find offensive and attempts to make it abstract. (Dude, we would’ve never guessed the damned mall was built on where an orphanage used to be. It could’ve also been a mental hospital or a cemetery, but we movie watchers are incredibly dumb, right?) Still, the problem remains that Kirpalani sacrifices scares because he’d much rather confuse you into thinking the plot (the story, not where the mall is) is deeper than it is. Despite the many deaths, there isn’t one moment that shakes you out of your boredom. Ask the couples who made-out throughout 2014’s first Bollywood horror film.
Who throws a grand bash at an allegedly haunted mall with inadequate security measures? Who attends a party at a mall which is currently all over the news because there have been nine unexplained deaths in it only recently? Along with the apparitions (ghosts of children) is the angry spirit of a nun, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the owner of the mall and his crony have perpetrated one of those crimes that unfailingly get every villain in Bollywood the punishment due.
Too bad that I expected Kirpalani to repeat his successful act; now all I can do is wait and see if Sunny Leone has gotten any better at emoting with her breasts.