Posts Tagged ‘bollywood horror movies


Sayak Boral’s Review: Ek Thi Daayan


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

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.

Sayak’s Movie Review: Silver Linings Playbook


Movie Review: Raaz 3

Vikram Bhatt wants you to believe too many impossibilities

“If you love me, you can be stupid for me” says actress Bipasha Basu to director Emraan Hasmi. Bipasha’s career is on its way down and she is insanely jealous of actress Esha Gupta, who has overtaken her in just two years. Bipasha loses her seemingly unshakeable faith in god when Esha Gupta wins 2012 best actress award, and turns to a dark force to get her lost glory back.

This dark force is an aatma (a pret-aatma, actually) who, by his own admission, is somewhere between the worlds of life and death. This evil being has turned away from god, and in his residential area that comprises of a few chawls, small temples are covered with a cloth just because he hates god. He lives in a pool of sewage water that has empty mineral-water bottles floating about. Yeah, that’s where Bipasha goes to meet him.

This creature (let’s call him Mr Bhoot, because I don’t remember his name) looks like a fresh corpse, and can turn into a disgusting model of rotting flesh with maggots all over him whenever he wants to spook someone. Mr Bhoot gives Bipasha a bottle of water that Esha Gupta must drink in order to be trapped under his spell.

Bipasha has sex with Emraan Hashmi and it makes for a highly unappealing scene as she convinces him to cast Esha Gupta in his next movie and somehow make her drink that water. He does it, of course, and so the black magic begins.

The television set switches on and off just like that; Esha Gupta hears strange voices; her maid dies a horrible death – and that is one great horror scene. Other things happen as well: a Hindu psychic takes Esha Gupta to a Christian cemetery to perform a ritual. He goes to the world of spirits to get her soul back, and ends up decapitated. Too bad he’s Hindu, or he could’ve been buried right there. Emraan Hashmi and Esha Gupta have sex immediately after that guy’s death, and that’s pretty cool.

There are too many other such scenes: a clown from Esha’s childhood visits the studio to scare her, cockroaches make Esha Gupta take her clothes off and dash around naked in a party, and she ends up in the hospital after a nervous breakdown.

Do you get what’s happening? It’s not scary, really. First of all, you can’t believe the story, because you’ve seen Bipasha Basu do many other things. Secondly, you can’t get into the story, because Bipasha Basu is not a very convincing actor.

Emraan Hashmi is now in love with Esha Gupta, and Bipasha wants her dead. To get what she wants now, she has to have sex with Mr Bhoot in his decomposed avatar. Bhoot then goes to the hospital, and it is up to Emraan Hashmi to save Esha Gupta.

Allow me to ruin it – Emraan had buried an idol of Ganpati, when he could have immersed it a week from now. He exhumes it when he realizes he needs god’s help. While Emraan is bashing the crap out of Bhoot, a mouse gnaws at a rope that covers a small temple and breaks it to unveil a Ganesh statue. And Emraan Hashmi gets the strength to kill the ghost. All this just before Ganesh Chaturthi/Ganpati Visarjan.

A good thing about Raaz 3 is that it doesn’t have too many songs. Another good thing about Raaz 3 is that Emraan Hashmi can act sincerely. The best thing about Raaz 3 is that Esha Gupta looks hot. That’s it, and apart from the possessed-maid-killing-herself scene, there’s nothing in Raaz 3 worth watching even once.

And I know what that transparent liquid is, because only LSD in such strong doses could’ve made Esha Gupta hallucinate all those things and take her clothes off at an event. Not jadu-tona, not black magic, not bhoot-pret attacks – the raaz is that she’s enduring a bad acid trip.


MOVIE REVIEWS: Ghost | Haunted | The Cabin In The Woods | Department | Question Mark | The Grey



Film Review: ? (Question Mark)

Engaging from start to end, ? is the most enjoyable ‘found footage’ movie I’ve had the pleasure of watching. That it doesn’t frighten a lot is the only thing that keeps it from being perfect. Seven collegians drive to a few days stay in an isolated house in a forest. They’re having fun getting started on their short film, a project they’re all enthusiastic about. The play a game of darkroom, and that’s when the movie goes dark, and that’s all you’ll get of the story from this review.

The acting by these youths – most of them debutantes – is amazing. These youngsters act so naturally that it makes you want to kill all the Bollywood actors who ham their way through films or make crores of rupees without even making an effort to act. The dialogues are fantastic – it’s all very real; these kids are how you expect college kids to be: there’s wit without a shred of lameness, banter that would come naturally to anyone their age, albeit without the nonsense you hear from a lot of kids (the dozen kids who were talking incessantly throughout the film thought this was a shit movie, by the way).

?,  or Question Mark, deftly wipes out everything you expect from found-footage movies; it keeps itself free of the clichés that no such film has been able to avoid. The kids have a discussion about why they shouldn’t leave the house and the location after realizing there’s a supernatural force at work there; and they, unlike the morons in every other horror movie I’ve seen, use their minds and decide to sleep in the same room instead of getting scattered.

That they all get screwed anyway is beside the point; the point is that ? (or Question Mark) doesn’t use scary faces to scare, evil laughter to spook, or background music to create tension, and the scenes of demonic possession have been handled very well. There’s no flying-in-the-air or growling.

Even though it falls short on scares, I’ll tell you that ? (Question Mark) is the most flawless, and by far the most enjoyable horror flick I’ve seen. The acting by all those kids, their banter exchange, the direction by Yash Allison (“Footage compiled by Yash Allison,” the poster says.) is an hour and a half of lessons other filmmakers should learn. If only it was higher on scares, the film would have been a horror masterpiece, but to its credit, ?/Question Mark is an expertly crafted horror movie anyway.

RATING: 3.5/5

MORE HORROR MOVIE REVIEWS: Ghost | Phoonk 2 | Haunted | Paranormal Activity 3 | Prince Of Darkness


Film Review: Haunted (2011)

Vikram Bhatt pulls out all stops to enthrall with his latest horror flick

Director: Vikram Bhatt

Writer: Amin Hajee

Cast: Mahaakshay, Tia Bajpai, Arif Zakaria, Achint Kaur

Fuck, this Vikram Bhatt is turning out to be quite a dude! He’s been making horror films for quite some time now and this time he’s come up with a whopper. Haunted has a story that’s pretty interesting and scary scenes that will make your heart rate shoot up. The film does have its flaws and share of clichés, but makes up for it in the second half.

Mahaakshay has 10 days to make sure everything’s okay with a 100-year old mansion his dad is selling off to a client. But nothing’s okay with the mansion. From the first night onwards, Mahaakshay hears screams and has locks breaking and books falling and doors that open and shut on their own. Attempt to capture the goings-on with the help of video cameras prove futile, even as he sees a young girl playing the piano in an isolated section of the house. A chillum-smoking bum shows up every now and then to tell Mahaakshay that it is only he (Mahaakshay/Mimoh) who can unravel the mystery behind the screams and set things alright.

Our hero is a brave lad who always runs towards the screams and other bizarre sounds, always ready to face whatever there is. He finds a letter from book that keeps dropping off the shelf and here’s the flashback scene: The young girl who lives in that house kills her piano teacher because he tries to rape her. The teacher comes back as an evil spirit and kills the servants and rapes the girl every night. Unable to handle this daily violation of her body, the girl hangs herself, but still isn’t free from the evil spirit. It is now her spirit that gets raped by the evil spirit.

Mahaakshay, to help this girl, must feel her pain in order to become one with her, and he goes back eighty years in time to the point at which the unfortunate rape attempt happened. Now that he is in the past, he must change the course of destiny…

The real fun of watching Haunted begins only after the interval, when Mahaakshay befriends the girl. His efforts at thwarting the rape attempt and subsequent murder go in vain, and there the movie takes another direction.

Vikram Bhatt pulls out all stops to enthrall his audience with Haunted. There is Arif Zakaria (the piano teacher, the evil spirit) raping the girl (Tia Bajpai), and Achint Kaur (her nanny) turning into a spooky demon that can fly, move objects at will and climb down trees in the eeriest fashion.

In 1920 (which I thought was a good effort), the ghost is destroyed by a recital of the Hanuman Chalisa, and in Haunted, it is the opening of the door of a dargah (Sufi shrine) that blows the demonic Achint Kaur far away. In both 1920 and Haunted, there is a Christian priest praying, and in both the movies… the priest dies, heh!

A special note to my fellow reviewers: If you can believe there is a ghost in the movie, what is your problem if the ghost is a lusty rapist? You shit-cocks get excited about dull movies like Shor In The City because they happen to be offbeat, but are the first to laugh at every attempt a horror flick makes to scare you? FUCK YOU, YOU PRETENTIOUS MOTHERFUCKERS. I’LL REVIEW YOU SOMEDAY AND THEN YOU’LL LEARN.

Haunted is an ‘offbeat’ horror story written by Amin Hajee and it has been directed very well by Vikram Bhatt. It is a paisa vasool movie that had me covering my eyes, smiling at Mahaakshay’s antics (the cell-phone and dance scene), sitting at the edge of my seat, and raising the horns every now and then. And I didn’t see the 3D version. Win, Vikram Bhatt.



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