Thursday, June 13, 2013

If you have a taste for the occult: Ek Thi Daayan.

Bobo (Emraan Hashmi), a magician by profession, is haunted by memories of his sister's death. His current girlfriend Tamara (Huma Qureshi), with whom he's adopted a child, is getting worried. Little by little, Bobo's paranoia grows as he begins to see a repeat of his childhood horrors unfold in front of him...

Ek Thi Dayaan (Once there was a witch) is an odd film for me to write about. Vishal Bhardwaj's name gets numerous credits; he's in charge for just about everything except the direction, which is the job of debutante Kannan Iyer. As such, I was ready to love this film, despite the fact its story does a strange balancing act between the real and the supernatural. The characters and their interactions are very real and genuine. The performances are terrifically naturalistic; the three actresses especially shine in their respective roles. But the supernatural element is strong, and played up as such - it isn't problematized and no great energy is exhausted to tie it with human psychology as we know it.

Simply put, it's an odd fit. In a film that looks great, manages to create a very suspenseful mood when needed and that explains its mythology well, it feels silly that my main gripe is the mythology itself. Perhaps I'm just not the audience for it - I'm not much for horror, and when I am, I prefer it psychological as opposed to superstition-based. As such, I think the only things I really loved about this film were the performances and the music (also by Bhardwaj). Check it out, if the cast appeals to you, but go in with lowered expectations.

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