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Shaapit review: It's hardly there!

Shaapit review: It's hardly there!

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Saturday 20 March 2010

Movie Title

Shaapit review: It's hardly there!

Director

Vikram Bhatt

Star Cast

Aditya Narayan, Shweta Agarwal, Rahul Dev

What happened? After the genuinely scary 1920, producer-writer-director Vikram Bhatt is back to making below-par pictures. For if you go through the entire length of a horror film without being spooked once, it?s a pretty sad story.

Shaapit?s story is convoluted: we?re shown a palace 300 years back where a prince tries raping a commoner, who commits suicide. Her father puts a curse on the royal lineage wherein every princess in that family would die if she chooses to get married.

Present time: Aman (Aditya Narayan) and Kaaya (Shweta Agarwal) just engaged, meet with an accident and remember seeing a woman on the road. Curious, they go to a professor (Rahul Dev, crackling) dealing with paranormal studies, and he confirms that there?s a spirit involved. The girl?s father, who belongs to the cursed royal family, explains this predicament to the professor. To get rid of the curse, the Prof explains, they?d have to destroy the ?buri aatma? (evil spirit) that has become the curse?s protector. For a story essentially revolving around love ? Aman decides to destroy the curse for Kaaya ? there?s zero chemistry between the two. Glassy-eyed and unmotivated, the two actors can barely get their own performances in order, forget chemistry.

Meanwhile bizarre things happen ? at one end (like in The Mummy), faces appear out of sand, and water; simultaneously fluid is filling up in someone?s brain and they have to be hospitalised; and running parallel to these happenings is the Professor contacting spirits with the help of tennis balls. Then perfectly manicured hands pop out from the Earth, the spirit does that evil laugh while floating out of nowhere, glass shatter, beams break, till you wish they?d just stop wasting everyone?s time. The story has so far moved from a dilapidated cinema hall, to a graveyard, to a jail, to a forest and a museum. You wait endlessly for the imminent `final combat?; but there?s just too much beating around the bush.

Shaapit is low on technical expertise. Sound design is archaic and the dubbing pretty bad. Dialogue is written with no thought to characterisation or scene demand ? it?s just clich?d Hindi film dialogues accumulated over the years. All the characters can think of saying to one another, after a spirit possession or near-drowning is `are you ok??.

The monotonous songs come and go, only elongating the film?s running time. Art and production design is too `set-ee?: you?ll find an old tree with a lantern decorated on its branch and palaces that look like they were made of cardboard. The frames are severely colour-corrected robbing the shots of all authenticity; for the story seems to unfold in some bizarre fantasyland. The lighting throughout is too dark, perhaps in an attempt at moody cinematography.

Shaapit doesn?t work largely because the characters don?t. We don?t care at all about the glossy-lipped girl, or the expressionless boy. They are one-dimensional characters constantly doing things out of their league and desperate for an applause. Rahul Dev and the actor playing the plotting queen are the only solid performers.

A horror film that has you restless more than spooked. Now, who needs that?

Verdict: One star

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