Monday, March 29, 2010

Shaapit's Review

Vikram Bhatt's penchant for the horror film finds another exposition with Shaapit, supposedly the third in the trilogy initiated with the blockbuster Raaz, followed by 1920. This one falls somewhere between the chutzpah of Raaz and the picture-postcard perfection of 1920. It is definitely more gripping than 1920, though it fails to draw you into the drama like the two Raaz sequels. Nevertheless, there's enough to keep the interest running, although we would wish the Indian horror film would somehow extricate itself from mumbo-jumbo, mantra-tantra.

Vikram Bhatt does try to give a more scientific bend to the proceedings by bringing in an erudite professor (Rahul Dev) to unravel the mystery of the ghost who travels through time and prevents the girls from a certain family from entering into wedlock. The Professor helps youngster Aman (Aditya Narain) to find a cure to the curse which plagues his girlfriend (Shweta Agarwal) and sends her into a coma after a chilling tryst with the evil spectre. He takes him on a journey to the distant backwaters and their search ends up in a spooky jail, where the plaster-peeling walls have their own sordid tales to tell. The present day story is basically anchored in two stories from the past and provides ample scope for the film maker to parade kings, princes and scheming queens before the special effects set in.

The film works not so much due to its story. Rather, it's the way Vikram Bhatt tells his story -- with a certain polish and pizzazz -- that draws you in. Also, it's Pravin Bhatt's multi-hued cinematography which adds a lyrical quality to the film. Not much of a debut however for Shweta Agarwal, who spends much of the screen time in comatose, though Aditya Narain is adequate. Watch it, while you wait for our own Paranormal Activity.

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