Shiney Ahuja, Sayali Bhagat, Julia BlissCast:
Directed by Puja Jatinder Bedi
Rating: Full moon, no stars
‘The past never dies, it kills’ is a promise made on the poster of this film and that for one, is well-fulfilled. Step out of the screen and you will find your brain cells ready to be zipped up like a carcass in a body bag. ‘Ghost’ follows the most reliable format for Indian horror films: Bhoot is evil; God isn’t and if you pray hard enough or atleast pretend to believe in good over evil, God will take the time out to smash evil’s nose. And as a bonus, we not only have chalk-faced spirits cackling around noisily, we also have the almighty himself sashaying in his biblical robe through dark corridors, managing very well in not tripping over.
The film begins with a mythological TV show voiceover, announcing the beginning of time or end of good times or something very prophetic that you won’t be bothered to care about. What you would care about is the following unaesthetic potty sex scene between a doctor and a nurse (no kinky role-play, we’re really in a hospital).
Soon, many doctors, nurses and compounders here have individual encounters with an evil force who has a mutilated form and flowing blonde curls. While most of them end up being shabbily dissected with their hearts pulled out clumsily, Dr Suhani (Sayali Bhagat) manages to be the sole survivor. Now, Suhani is a curious doctor. She struts about the hospital in off-shoulder dresses, talks without pauses like she’s reading out from a cue card and loves snooping around for spooks in the hospital. Perhaps, this would be the reason why investigating officer Vijay Singh (Shiney Ahuja) questions her extensively when these despicably violent murders become a national concern. But too much questioning is never a good thing. And your worst fears are realised as Suhani gawks into Vijay’s eyes and says, “Tumhe milke laga tha ki sarah jaadu tumhare aankhon mein hain but you’re good even with your eyes closed.” He later asks her, “Tum itni sundar kyun ho?” Now you know why you can’t watch this movie after a heavy meal.
Several love songs and terrifying murders later, Vijay discovers his own back story accidently. He realizes that he has a variation of ‘Ghajini’ where a part of his memory is erased as only a part of his brain was corrupted like a hard disk (this is Suhani simplifying his neurological disorder for everyone’s benefit). And his fun-filled yet dark past involved an Australian belle called Mary (Julia Bliss), fondly desi-fied by all as ‘Meri’. If you’ve watched any horror film, you can join the dots (even the ones on Dr Suhani’s face) and figure what happened to ‘Meri’, why she has become so scary and why the audience left in a flurry.
If you’re one who defecates at the sound of grunting and heavy breathing, you have little to worry. Here, our spooky friends stick to a mix of clearing ones throat and occasional bleating (#farmdevil?). If there is one supernatural being who could scare you, it would be the half Jesus-half mutant-complete Ace Ventura (with an owl and a pigeon on each shoulder) who prefers the elevator over the stairs.
This may be Shiney Ahuja’s comeback but unless an unearthly presence casts a spell over the box office, it’s unlikely that we will see him anytime soon, following this debacle. Sayali Bhagat is hilarious in her doctor-doctor mode but her expressions make it challenging to distinguish between when she’s aroused and when she is terrified.
Films that have successfully managed to horrify are stingy about the number of times the disembodied soul makes an appearance. But here, it seems to have equal screen space as the rest of the cast, becoming too familiar to be freaky. This one is an eclectic assortment of clichés associated with desi horror flicks and Christianity. And despite the fact that a certain butcher had a critical role in this film, ‘Meri’ didn’t have a little lamb.
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Also check out Shiney promoting his film at a hair-raising venue: