Cast: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajat Kapoor
Direction: Prosit Roy
Don’t believe what Virat Kohli has to say.
‘Pari’ is yet another horror film that begins with promise, but soon gone awry.
It could have been so much more than the failed attempt it turns out to be. Prosit Roy fails to keep the plot together after building up the intrigue commendably up to the intermission. Just when it looks like the story would stand out in the crowd of clichéd Bollywood scary movies, the storyline begins to unravel.
The second half – sloppily written and patchily told – is really a curse on the audience. Once this tedious and protracted attempt at scaring started to drag down an insanely convoluted path, I couldn’t wait for the ordeal to end.
Here’s what happens. A guilt-ridden Arnab, played by the very talented Parambrata Chatterjee, decides to help Rukhsana (Anushka Sharma) after her mother is killed in an accident involving his family. The unkempt Rukhsana, chained like an animal in a secluded hut in the jungle, is found by the police after her mother’s sudden death.
A few days later, the girl seeks refuge at Arnab’s house claiming that there are people in cahoots with the police trying to kill her. Arnab is too nice to turn away an injured girl whom he now feels responsible for. He decides to provide her shelter till he can figure out an alternative.
The first half plays out interestingly – the accidental death of a mysterious woman, oblique references to some sort of a cult, the strange affection between Arnab and Rukhsana – there are so many interesting possibilities at this point.
The main leads (both Parambrata and Anushka) approach their parts with complete sincerity. Parambrata’s character is almost reminiscent of Kamal Haasan’s role in ‘Sadma’. Anushka, as the freckled, traumatized, weird girl, really sinks her teeth into a completely deglamourized avatar. Alas, neither can rise above a script that just keeps spiraling downwards post the interval.
What follows is standard Bollywood scary fare – creaky doors, flickering lights, discomfiting darkness, weird noises, blood and gore. Eventually, the power of love tames the evil spirit – or so the director would have us believe.
By the end of it, I wasn’t terrified, I was simply exhausted!
How long before Hindi film directors can come up with a compelling horror film such as Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Raat’ or even ‘Bhoot’?
Watch it if you dig the horror genre – Anushka’s acting is definitely worth a dekko, as hubby Virat as already publicly proclaimed.