As far as horror films go, this one isn't that scary, but it keeps you riveted. Easily spooked, this writer could watch the film without wincing.
We see a pizza delivery boy Kunal (Akshay Oberoi) and his writer wife Nikita (Parvati Omanakuttan) living a frugal life in Mumbai. The news that they are pregnant wakes them out of their slumber. Barely settled themselves, how will they pay their way through parenthood? They fight over this, only to decide they'll have the baby after all, and manage somehow.
One day Kunal is asked to deliver a box of chocolates to his boss’s house. What he sees there (his wife behaving as if she were possessed by a sprit) spooks him completely. The next day, he delivers pizza at a deserted bungalow, and is welcomed in by a nice lady. The lights go off. And then starts a series of unnerving, eerie incidents.
After a while, the pizza lies on the table, one slice eaten. A trail of blood leads under the bed. Jazz music plays on suddenly. A child's cries can be heard. The telephone rings.
With our protagonist trapped in, what seems to be, a haunted bungalow, we wonder whether the conversations he's having on the phone are real or a figment of his troubled mind. The premise is super-interesting, the twist in the end more so.
Where the film falters is in the execution and lack of originality in showing the horror portions. How many times have we seen the creaking door-lights going off-door not opening-child crying-creepy faces scenario? Plus they seem like staccato incidents, starting where the other ends, as if on cue. The 3D seems arbitrary and unnecessary; all you get are gimmicky portions of stuff being flung in your face.
The crackling background score, cinematography and editing make up for this somewhat. And the unexpected descent into comedy is fun, too. Like Kunal wishing he had the exact change for the pizza delivery—then he wouldn't come into the bungalow and he could have escaped.
Performances are also a huge plus. As Kunal, Akshay Oberoi is earnest and takes us through the character's varied emotional slate. Parvati Omanakuttan matches step playing the very interestingly written character of Nikita. You'll also hugely enjoy Rajesh Sharma's performance as the quasi-comical boss, who has to deal with dreaded gangsters, his employee Kunal's horrific claims, and his possessed wife being cured by the family pundit. Some of his dialogues ("isse biryani khilake information haasil karo") are just sumptuous. The two actors playing Kunal's colleagues are superb as well.
A remake of Karthik Subbaraj's Tamil hit film Pizza, this one seems pretty much frame-to-frame save a few changes. Debut director Akshay Akkineni gives us a film that's more thrilling than frightening. Pure horror fans may be disappointed by the lack of genuine scares. But if you're looking for a thriller with a supernatural element and a crackerkjack ending, this could be your pick.
Rating: Three stars