Sunday, April 25, 2010
Shaapit - Movie review
By Jibran T. Siddiqui
Horror genre is no new concept in Bollywood. From the beginning, Bollywood has been making films about reincarnation, souls, immortality and ghosts. The attempt at that time was not to scare as much as to give the love story a new dimension. Now that Bollywood has evolved into a strong industry, scary films like Phoonk and 1920 are followed by ‘super-natural thrillers’ like Vikram Bhatt’s ‘Shaapit’.
After ‘Raaz’ and ‘1920’, ‘Shaapit’ is Vikram Bhatt’s third venture where he has introduced the young Aditya Narayan and Shweta Agarwal ( Remember the child star and young singer Aditya Narayan?) The movie also stars Rahul Dev as a professor in one of the leading roles.
‘Shaapit’ revolves around the story of a family whose daughters have been carrying a curse from generation to generation. Aman (Aditya Narayan) falls in love with Kaaya (Shweta), one of the cursed daughters. As the reaction, they both are countered by an evil spirit. Aman approaches Professor Pashupati (Rahul Dev), a spiritual studies teacher, and convinces him to help the cursed couple. Finally, Aman alongwith his friend Shubh (Shubh Joshi) and Professor Pashupati sets out on a journey through the world of fear and intrigue where the evil spirit awaits them.
Unfortunately, the plot of the movie is conventional despite the new cast, fresh music and remarkable art work. Generally, the horror Bollywood movies have two stories, past and present. The past when the wrong was committed and the present where the ghost comes back to haunt. Same as Bhatt’s previous movies, ‘Shaapit’ also follows the trend dating back the story to 300 years back.
Vikram Bhatt tries his best to deliver as the director. After Raaz and 1920, he was expected a better version of horror flick and he does it. His professional skills are more highlighted in the second half. The thriller easily ranks amongst the best in this genre in terms of plot, setting, technique and performances. Some sequences have been shot excellently for example when Aman goes to get a particular book from the haunted library, when Kaaya wakes up in the middle of the night and Aman, professor and Shubh don’t find her at her place and the entire climax sequence too. Bhatt also merges past and present beautifully.
On the other hand, a mistake can be noticed when the camera goes to flashback where Mughals are enjoying Arabic music and dance. Better if they had added a mughal-based song at that place. Cultural Conflict or Cultural Confusion?
The debutants also support the film at their best. Aditya Narayan, son of veteran singer Udit Narayan, as emerged as a skillful actor and a versatile singer. His young yet focused acting proves him a ‘show-stopper’. Shweta seems weaker in the emotional scenes but still makes a promising debut overall. Rahul Dev demonstrates skilled acting and suits well in the role of a professor. However, Aditya Narayan enjoys the limelight.
The music of the film is excellent. The talented Chirantan Bhatt, who previously did it for Mission Istanbul (2008), makes the remarkable music. The hero Aditya Narayan also demonstrates excellent vocals in both the versions of ‘Kabhi na kabhi’. The rock version of this song can be adjudged the finest of the album. The blend of kick-drumming, electrifying guitar riffs and crunchy rock vocals make it a worth-listening track. In the other version, Aditya makes a soft and versatile combination with Suzzane D`Mello. Another remarkable track is Najam Sheraz’s “Tere bina” where Najam’s practiced vocals meet a heart-touching composition, resulting a marvelous song. The song deeply reflects the dark, frightening, depressed and tragic moments of the movie. Other songs like ‘Hayaati’ and ‘Chahta dil tumko’ also deserve a try. The background music is ideal for a terrifying supernatural thriller.
On the whole, Shaapit is truly a scary movie, which comes across as a worthy follow up to Raaz and 1920. If you are a fan of ghost stories, Shaapit should be on your list of 'things to do and watch' this weekend. Go for it and be prepared to be spooked!