By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 12 September 2014
Bipasha Basu, Imran Abbas Naqvi
From beginning to end, the film is a cauldron of horror/thriller clich?s.
Ayana (Bipasha Basu) has just opened a boutique hotel surrounded by the forest. She has hired the cleaning and cooking staff but no security in the case of a wild animal attack. Heck, you don?t even see a fence. Yup.
She goes about organizing the hotel?s inauguration party to elevator music-inspired background score. Pretty boy Kunal (Imran Abbas Naqvi) waltzes in for the schmaltzy romance track.
Soon enough we meet the Creature in 3D. We?re cautiously shown parts of it? the swinging lizard-like tail, the reptilian scales on the back, the man-like structure, and finally the face. Which is where it disappoints. The Creature ?the most important character in the film?just doesn?t have the ?look? and heft to carry off the lead villain?s role. Especially when it comes to its sound, which is more a sore-throated shout, than an impressive roar.
So this medium-budget Hindi film version of BrahmRakshas (a mythological creature that has featured in Vikram-Betal and Panchatntra stories and actually has temples dedicated to it) is a watered-down version. The special effects are pretty good, so you see the creature breathe, chase, jump, and throw its claws at you with full 3D effect. But then it bares its blunt teeth to the camera for the umpteenth time, and makes that standard sound, irrespective of what emotion it?s going though.
Then comes the expected superstitious mumbo-jumbo about peepal ka ped, laal dhaaga, brahm mandir and so on. Instead of a priest that comes towards the end in Vikram Bhatt?s horror films, here you have a zoology professor (Mukul Dev) who seems to have all the answers.
What the film has spent on expensive special effects, it has adjusted in other areas like production design. So you have home party-type decorations at the fancy hotel?s inauguration. You have ghastly upholstery. You have standard music. You have sparse, functional dialogue. Sometimes it?s even unintentionally hilarious; like Ahana?s boyfriend encouraging her to live in the moment with a line that goes ?The present is beautiful and there?s nothing wrong with it.? Sweet, except that this is the time when one of her hotel?s guests has been murdered by the creature, and she might lose her property to the bank.
Other incredulous stuff happens when the creature attacks a room-full of people, and everyone waits for the same time to scream. Then of course, even after discovering that the creature is afraid of fire, people go about attacking and provoking it WITHOUT carrying fire torches. Reminds one of the saying about there being a fine line between bravery and stupidity.
The film gets repetitive over time. You have the swinging tail approach shot of the Creature yet again, similar reaction shots, and people running and locking themselves in a room in scene after scene, either getting killed or saved depending on whether they?re lead or side actors.
Writer-director Vikram Bhatt gives us a film he could make in his sleep. He is clearly not challenged here as director and it shows.
Bipasha Basu is quite good in the film, and has a meaty character to play. Basu?s Ahana is an interestingly fleshed-out character that learns to fight out problems instead of taking an escape route.
This film could have been much more, had the creature too been given more personality and heft. This is one of the few films where the antagonist must have as much substance as the protagonist. Here?s it?s reduced to being just a freak, a cursed lizard-man, out to devour people. Too bad, really.