|Bipasha Basu, Emraan Hashmi, Esha Gupta|
A superstar with her career on a downward spiral, Shanaya (Bipasha Basu) cannot stand the success of new star-on-the-block Sanjana (Esha Gupta). Insecure and weighed down by a childhood grudge (the two actresses are step-sisters), Shanaya is unable to bear history repeating itself.
In Shanaya’s mentally unstable mind, Sanjana is the cause of her lost childhood, and is now threatening her career. She meets Tara Dutt (Manish Chaudhary) who calls himself a spirit “na is paar, na uss paar”. A black magic expert, he tells Shanaya that her problems can be solved.
Shanaya ropes in unwilling boyfriend Aditya (Emraan Hashmi) to help her. Together, they play this deadly game against the unsuspecting Sanjana.
The film delves into the insecurities that come along with a showbiz career. However, it’s a highly dramatized, even if entertaining, portrayal.
The horror element is present, but is not overboard. More thrills than chills, it’ll have you genuinely scared only in a couple of scenes. The other scenes are the kind that’ll have you let out nervous laughter. There is the usual paraphernalia of candles, flowing curtains, echoing laughter, talks of spirits, strong religious overtones, and a tantrik.
The use of dark imagery and symbolism is very interesting. For example, you have the evil spirit in human form nestled in murky water full of trash. Again, the visualization of the good spirit imprisoned in a water-filled room (signifying the source of the magic) is superb.
The 3D quality is excellent and the use is surprisingly subtle. The scene where a character has to deal with creepy-crawlies is the film’s highlight.
The characters in typical Bhatt style are contemporary but perplexingly speak in an archaic tone. So you have these young characters use words like talluk, veham and haqueekat. Again in portions that require an extreme response, all Emraan’s character can come up with is, “this is really stupid.” These scenes are unintentionally hilarious.
Bipasha Basu excels as the unstable Shanaya. Despite the character being downright evil, she manages to bring a hint of vulnerability to the performance. Interestingly, she thinks of herself as the victim and in her own head has justified her deeds believing that “she has no choice”. Esha Gupta is awkward as the film starts but manages a fairly impressive performance. Emraan Hashmi gives a weak performance and gamely lets the ladies take center-stage.
Director Vikram Bhatt (1920, Haunted-3D) makes a horror film that’s unapologetically formulaic, but adds in newer elements like the grey characters, unusual imagery, and understated 3D usage.
Worth a watch for the thrills and chills and bravura performances by the ladies!
Rating: Three stars