Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Esha Gupta, Bipasha Basu
Directed by Vikram Bhatt
The world is made of up of good and evil forces. Aatmas and Parmatmas. Those with chalk-smeared faces and those who merely appear as blinding lights and speak with an echo. But none of them can be immortal enough to live through a show of 'Raaz 3'. The prospect of getting horrified in three-dimension could be promising. But Indian horror films, as pioneered by the Ramsays, have rarely gone beyond junior artists in Halloween costumes grunting like death-metal vocalists. Here you have just that, and perhaps a few mouth-to-mouth adventures and some Kentucky fried frights. Yes, it is no raaz that you're up for some good ol' Bhatt kicking.
Pat! Pat! Shanaya Shekhar (Bipasha Basu) whacks her five-inch lashes uncomfortably as she has just lost the best actress award to budding newcomer Sanjana Krishnan (Esha Gupta). Her obvious assumption: There is no God or he has better films to watch. Luckily, an ex-domestic help happens to introduce her to another force, one who redresses those who've been ignored by the almighty. The light in the mandir is switched off, 'doosri shakti'- on.
Tara Dutt (Manish Choudhary) is a man who wears just the right amount of mascara to maaro lines like, "Main aatma hoon." He comes to Shanaya's rescue by offering her a jar of purified evil water. Once Sanjana consumes it, her soul will be trapped. But this liquid has to be offered to her only by a reliable person. Why? Because unreliable people can't really be relied on anymore.
Enter film director Aditya Arora (Emraan Hashmi), who is indebted to Shanaya for offering herself a few times too many. So you can guess who will spill what in whose drink and who will then have hallucinations of women wailing, clowns playing hide and seek and a certain domestic servant hanging herself after being severed by giant shards of glass. Predictably, Aditya is completely charmed by Sanjana' sob story and when she's having an outburst, he calms her not by offering the filmy 'hosh mein aao, Sanjana' slap but with a more sociable mouth-to-mouth. And while all this will leave your imagination a little doped, we present a few dialogues that will spill alcohol on your wounds.
"Bachcha aur kutta sirf pyaar ka bhooka hota hai, aur mere dad ne mujhe sirf mere hisse ka pyaar diya hai," — Sanjana to Aditya. This roughly translates as, infants and dogs both crave love and my father loved me for my part.
Doctor to Aditya: "Would you believe it if I tell you that I believe you. Schizophrenia aur bhoot-pret mein jyaada farak nahin hai. Bas science isse nahin maanti." So now we know the dialogue writer's precise disorder.
If you're still hungry for more, we have some tandoori ghosts inspired by Body Worlds who can change shape, disappear on demand, wreck havoc but when they have to convey a message- they're conventional enough to make a phone call.
The songs in the film are composed carelessly and can be forgotten without much effort. But Bipasha's Lady Ghagra jig in 'Kya Raaz Hai' will be as painful to swallow as it will be to forget. But to her credit, she can move better than Esha Gupta, who masters the art of managing all her steps without splaying any of her limbs.
Being a film where the VFX could've been a game changer, the technicians fail to impress. And the much-tweeted about 'attack of the flying cockroaches' scene looks more like a sewage pipe exploding. If director Vikram Bhatt has applied himself completely into this project, it says quite poorly of his sensibilities as it conforms to every cliché that one associates with Bollywood horror from the beginning of time. Good over evil. Dig out the idol of Ganpati and he will show you the way. Even a few drops of Gangajal flow in towards the end.
If Bipasha Basu had a career, it would be ruined. But since she doesn't, there's little that this film can take away from her. Her character isn't possessed but that doesn't stop her from rolling on the floor or laughing deliriously or doing anything that would suggest an unsound mind. Esha Gupta is a stunning portrait of a beautiful girl playing poker. While she makes a pretty face on the screen, she can't create creases on it to form any recognizable expression. Even in the scene where her character realizes that she has been cheated, all she does is cover her ears. Perhaps the reason she couldn't hear the director scream, "Emote! Emote!" Emraan Hashmi has now moved on to a league of actors who can't be dispirited for being associated with a possible Ghanta award winner. He takes his role as seriously as he could but his efforts couldn't exorcise the devilishly terrible plot from spelling doom for this film.
From being transported to a parallel universe to finding the 'chosen one' for the job, this film is quite like 'The Matrix'. Only difference, here you need both the pills. The first- to go down the Bhatt hole and the second for the ensuing headache.
Blood Money review
You might also like: