This Bollywood supernatural thriller opens with a disclaimer that it ‘does not promote the stereotype of women as witches’. It proceeds to do exactly that by suggesting witches may indeed exist, that all their powers are in their long plaited hair and that they need to sacrifice a child in a leap year in order to preserve their powers. Any attempt to take this premise seriously is undermined immediately when we meet our protagonist, Bobo (Emraan Hashmi). He is ‘the baffler’, a magician who believes that his evil stepmother Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma) was a witch who murdered his younger sister when they were kids. The 11-year-old Bobo killed Diana who died swearing (‘on the devil’) that she will return. Years later, the adult Bobo encounters the mysterious Lisa (Kalki Koechlin) who may just be Diana in another form. First-time director Kannan Iyer attempts to inject a new twist into a rural Indian folklore by setting his film in an urban modern setting. But he fails to invoke the required scares, largely because it is yet another example of Bollywood bottling it by leaning on the usual ingredients of the ‘formula’. The inclusion of unnecessary background songs (not subtitled) and a romantic subplot result in a sluggishly paced story, which is further undermined by a lengthy flashback and a preposterous final reveal. What’s really scary is that we are asked to believe that witches can transform into lizards and that Bobo is a tiger in bed.
|Release date:||Friday April 19 2013|
Cast and crew
Konkona Sen Sharma