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Shadows in the dark
Sukanya Verma |
July 04, 2003 20:09 IST
In Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman tells Tim Robbins, "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."
But Robbins has the last word eventually: "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
This philosophy forms the theme of Saaya.
Call it inspired or a remake, the fact remains that Anurag Basu's Saaya is a start-to-finish remake of Tom Shadyac's Dragonfly.
The latter was a box-office loser and had Kevin Costner and Sussana Thompson playing doctors. Ditto John Abraham and Tara Sharma in Saaya.
In Dragonfly, Thompson travels to Venezuela to volunteer at a medical camp. Maya does the same. Only, she goes to Nagaland.
Both Thompson and Maya die in a tragic bus accident. Both decide to contact their grieving husbands through a bald boy in a paediatric ward.
Comparisons aside, Saaya is (thankfully) a decent version of the original. Unlike, say, Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot or Vikram Bhatt's Raaz, Saaya doesn't intend to scare its audience. It just builds an uncomfortable level of tension and curiosity.
Hoping to contact his dead wife Maya (Sharma), Doctor Akash (Abraham) nearly drives himself crazy.
The sequences in which Akash struggles in a house full of water or tries to grill information about his dead wife from mysterious-looking children are well executed.
Another appealing moment in the film is the conversation between Akash and Sister Martha (Zohra Sehgal) about life after death. Sehgal exudes conviction as she utters the most unbelievable dialogues with consummate ease. Akash finds himself in a situation where he is forced to decide whether he believes in the supernatural. He seeks assurance in his friend Tanya (Mahima Chaudhry in good form).
Saaya stresses a bit too much on the supernatural angle. No sooner does the man lose his wife than supernatural occurrences begin to overpower him; he is not even given time to mourn properly.
As far as performances are concerned, Saaya earns John Abraham brownie points. As the mourning husband who refuses to come to terms with his wife's death, he is understated enough to make you realise Jism was no fluke. The same cannot be said of his co-star Tara Sharma, who does not match his screen presence.
The supernatural love story boasts of some great tunes like Kabhi khushboo and Aye meri zindagi by Anu Malik and M M Kreem (Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin, Sur, Jism) and crafty camerawork by Fuwad Khan.
One point though: Saaya does not evoke a sigh, moisten your eyes, or create sympathy for its characters. And therein lies its drawback.
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Cast: John Abraham, Tara Sharma, Mahima Chaudhry
Director: Anurag Basu
Producer: Mukesh Bhatt
Music: Anu Malik, M M Kreem