Thursday, June 12, 2003
As far as horror films and their effectiveness go, I guess what I wrote about The Ring holds good. Bhoot merits a decent review; especially because it does quite a few things any average Indian film would not. One good example would be the visual exposition. Any average filmmaker would have made things messy and wordy while Ram Gopal Verma uses very little dialogue. Another brave step, though it might seem very trivial is that he has avoided digressing from the singular plot by not invoking songs and other kitsch trappings.
Good effort, but at the same time I am pained at having to impose different standards for reviewing Indian films. Otherwise, it is very easy to tear this movie apart. Aesthetically, technically and also as far as storytelling is concerned. I would not review content, but I was amazed at why Varma should have an unnecessary disclaimer / warning in the beginning. Does he himself not know that he is making a �horror film� ?
Then there is this blatant indiscipline as far as camera angles, shot placement, camera movements and editing rhythms go (typical in today�s Jimmy Jib toting Indian filmmaking culture). Just as The Ring was, this movie too is amazingly good at giving jolts; too many at times, that it becomes predictably scary. Another thing this kind of the- director-is-smarter-than-the-yellow-belly-viewer style does is in putting the audience off. Most people in the movie theatre (including me) were almost unwilling to participate in the narrative. By doing so, the audience sure has been temporarily shaken, but the filmmaker loses the ability to explore characters and deeper emotions. The �bhoots� don�t have any �character�, apart from being vengeful, screaming, bad-haired, suddenly appearing zombie types. Again, like in The Ring, too many surprises, hardly any suspense. Eventually, for the time in the theatre being scary, it becomes only funny on hindsight when you step out into the sunny street. And what�s with the sound effects? Absolutely loathsome, painful and superficial way to tickle and disturb the audience. One thing the story needs to be lauded for, and what probably accounts for the success of this film, is the fact that it does eventually put the audience at ease and cathartically exorcises its own evils and �bhoots�.
If all I have written so far are not spoilers enough, here�s the ending and the biggest fuzzy area of them all. If Manjeet could simply waltz into the lock-up on her own and throttle Fardeen Khan, why the heck did she torment us and Urmila and Ajay Devgan (Probably the best I�ve seen of his acting) all this while?
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