Be‘witched’ sufficiently

Be‘witched’ sufficiently
Let’s be fair. It is not that Bollywood cannot do horror thrillers, but they have an uncanny capacity to screw it up somewhere. That is what Ek Thi Dayaan does. Starts off excellently but by the last fight sequence the battle royale flounders.

Bobo (Emraan Hashmi) is a famous magician with a troubled childhood. His tricks and trade are all hunky-dory till voices from his past and hallucinations start haunting him again. His girlfriend Tamara (Huma Qureshi) is at her wits’ end trying to help the man she loves.

For Bobo, however, only one man can solve this – his psychiatrist Dr Palit (Rajatava Dutta). One hypno-therapy session puts Bobo back in the twilight zone. Did he imagine the horror in his childhood or was it real? A childhood that revolves around an unbelievable story of Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma), Bobo, his sister Misha and their father. Adding chaos to the disturbed mind, in comes Lisa Dutt (Kalki Koechlin). A girl with a name that has a dark past that stems from what Bobo recalls. While there is no effectively putting a finger on who the Dayaan (witch) really is and whether she exists or not, there is no ignoring the supernatural that overshadows Bobo’s every move.

The movie is eerie and scary. And no, it doesn’t seal the horror deal with loud scary noises and sudden jerky movements, like most horror films do. Here’s the deal-maker for
Ek Thi Dayaan
– there is no gore, no severed heads or limbs and no supernatural gunk. Ek thi Dayaan hits the mark with brilliant sets, lighting and a gripping story. Even by the end of it when the climax makes you want to ‘facepalm’ for a second – the overpowering sense of evil is quite chilling. The Indian horror myths come to the fore with the story of the Dayaan. The beautiful beings with long hair and feet turned the other way. The myths are age-old, we have all heard the stories, but Iyer brings it to 70 mm and well enough.

Ek Thi Dayaan coils the story round your imagination like the mythical long hair. It scares you, gets you on the edge and then pushes you back with a slight sense of disappointment. Hashmi doesn’t steal the show as a magician. In fact, the child actors are better. Huma seems to be on unfamiliar grounds and Kalki has no scope to show off her skills. It is Konkona’s game through and through.

I needed an early start for Saturday. I think I will give sleep a miss altogether, even though witches pose no threats to girls, it is not 29 February and there is no eclipse.
Jhinuk Sen

Jhinuk Sen

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