Banner: Relativity Media, Intrepid Pictures, Zahhak Films
Producers: Ishan Saksena, Prawaal Raman, Vikram Khakhar, Sunil Shah
Director: Prawaal Raman
Cast: Huma Qureshi, Lisa Ray, Adil Hussain, Saqib Saleem, Madalina Bellariu Ion, Rysa Saujani, Abhishek Singh, Rhea Chakraborty
Writer: Prawaal Raman
Music: Arko Pravo Mukherjee
Horror has not been a priority for filmmakers for a while, which only adds to the anticipation when you step into the auditorium to watch Dobaara: See Your Evil. Apart from being a horror film, it is also a psychological thriller, which tantalises the imagination. So, as the opening credits roll, you have a fair idea of what to expect from this noir.
Based on Oculus by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, and set in London, Alex Merchant (Adil Hussain), a sculptor, brings home an ancient mirror and sets it up in his workshop. The doting dad begins to turn strangely violent, which leads to inadvertent incidents that shake the foundations of his family.
Siblings Natasha (Rysa Saujani) and Kabir (Abhishek Singh) witness their father slowly lose his mind and his changed behaviour harm their mother Lisa (Lisa Ray). They are also present when he shoots their mother and kills her before going after the two kids. Kabir ends up killing his father and is taken to a correctional facility. While he blames himself all the while, Natasha knows that the mirror is responsible for what has happened to her family.
Years later, now all grown up Kabir (Saqib Saleem) comes out of the correctional facility. Natasha (Huma Qureshi) convinces him to be part of her experiment to uncover the truth about the mirror, and after collecting evidence, destroys it. Her aim is to prove to the world that her father was innocent and was under the influence of a spirit that lives inside the mirror. How the brother-sister duo search for the truth unfolds takes the story forward.
Prawaal Raman possesses a great power of storytelling. The simplicity and anguish in each frame stand out and many scenes are overwhelming. The way the story showcases the three contradictory accounts from Natasha and Kabir’s point of view is well scripted and executed. It’s the treatment of the film that holds your interest. The film is an interesting tale but it moves at snail’s pace initially, but post-interval and during the anti-climax, the film leaps up a notch, making the narration even more engaging and interesting.
The scenes that stand out include the one where Natasha and Kabir start to have delusions because of the mirror. As the mirror starts to play tricks on them, you are completely drawn into the film. Dialogue is good. A special mention to Adil Hussain’s character sketch and body language. His entire approach to his part is remarkable.
Cinematography by Anuj Rakesh Dhawan is another asset. He explores each frame with confidence. Editing by Nipun Gupta and Hakeem Azeez is sharp and refined. With a runtime of 106 minutes, the film is well balanced pre- and post-interval. Music and background score not only add to the narration but also bring out the essence in each scene. Costumes and locations are apt.
Performance-wise, Huma Qureshi is superb. Saqib Saleem has a subtle way of reflecting his character, which comes off brilliantly on screen. Lisa Ray plays her part with panache. Adil Hussain steals the show with his power-packed performance. Madalina Bellariu Ion impresses in her seductive and ghostly appearance. Child actors Rysa Saujani and Abhishek Singh play their respective roles brilliantly. Rhea Chakraborty does well in her special appearance. The rest of the cast fits the bill.
Verdict: Worth a dekho!