For Bipasha's eyes only
Just when you thought you were getting an overdose of family values and patriotism at the movies, here comes
something 'different'. Well, just barely.
Vikram Bhatt's Raaz is said to be a remake of Robert Zemeckis' What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer. It was one of those good, old psycho thrillers. So is Raaz, with just the right ingredients to make you clutch at the person next to you.
Sanjana Dhanraj (Bipasha) drags along hubby Aditya (Dino) to Ooty, as a last ditch attempt to save their marriage. Incidentally, it is also the place they fell in love.
That is when the nightmare begins. The house they shack up in is haunted --- only for Sanjana's benefit. She starts seeing and hearing weird things. Aditya thinks she is off her rocker.
Sanjana finds a friend in Shruti Ulfat who refers her to the local mumbo-jumbo consultant, Professor Agni (Ashutosh Rana). The professor seems a bit loony himself, adding to the atmosphere by looking scary and always talking like a prophet of doom.
The spirit who has been creeping around turns out to be that of Malini (played by herself), with whom Aditya once had an affair. As for what happened during the affair that turned Malini into a wandering spirit... Well, we'll let that be a secret for now.
No points for guessing, though.
It takes a violent seance for Sanjana to figure the truth. And Aditya confesses all.
Bipasha turns in a decent performance, considering she has just debuted with Ajnabee. In fact, her performance quite overshadows Dino Morea's. He looks good, but that's about all.
The others are all strictly okay. New babe on the block Malini looks good. But in order to pass a fair verdict we will need to see her in a role where she plays more than a screaming spook.
The soundtrack is suitably sinister; the music, a trifle too familiar. Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan lead some tolerable crooning, set to Nadeem Shravan's music and Sameer's lyrics.
To get back to the film, Sanjana is understandably sore at hubby's indiscretions. She is soon coaxed into saving him from the clutches of a supernatural souten. She then does a complete bharatya nari and battles the spirit, forgiving her husband along the way.
Thus good triumphs after quite a lengthy climax.
If your exposure to scary houses, spooky special effects, eerie music and the supernatural was restricted to the shows on the small screen, here's your chance to jump out of your skin in a theatre seat, for a change.
Compared to other desi horror flicks a la Ramsay Brothers, this one is pretty cool on the effects front. But if you are looking for a story full of gripping suspense (and logic), be warned: The chills are pretty predictable. I am afraid you would still need to look towards Hollywood for quality.
Verdict: Worth a watch but don't try too hard.