Movie: Dobaara: See Your Evil
Cast: Huma Qureshi, Saqib Saleem, Adil Hussain, Lisa Ray, Rhea Chakraborty
Director: Prawaal Raman
Production House: Relativity Media/Intrepid Pictures
Dobaara, the Bollywood adaptation of one of Hollywood’s most terrifying films, Oculus (2013) tells the story of a happy family who freshly moves into their new swanky house. To this new house, one of the items on their list of additions turns out to be an antique mirror, famously known as the Lasser Glass, which is possessed by a spirit trapped in it since the 18th century. All goes well until the mirror begins to turn things upside down for the family. The family consisted of four people, Alex Merchant (Adil Hussain), the father, mother Lisa (Played by Lisa Ray), and their two children Kabir (Saqib Saleem) and Natasha (Huma Qureshi). The mirror becomes responsible for the death of the parents, and Kabir ends up serving 11 years in a juvenile correction facility after being found guilty of his fathers’ murder. Natasha, on the other hand, is left to fend for herself during this time, which she spends tracking down the mirror so that she could exact revenge with the help of Kabir upon his release.
In this version, unlike the original, the director gave us the story behind the mirror, which is something that we really liked. As it turns out, the mirror is home to the soul of a woman who was burnt alive right in front of it after being accused of practicing black magic and sorcery. Unfortunately, Madalina Bellariu Ion, who plays the soul, failed to impress us with her acting.
Adil Hussain, on the other hand, is quite convincing as a loving father who goes off the edge when he comes under the influence of the possessed object, except that his body language came off as unnecessarily stiff and his character could have used a little bit of that vulnerability factor for scenes where he is supposed to be emotionally weak.
His on-screen spouse, Lisa Ray delivered a spectacular performance, but only in a handful of scenes. Her acting in the film is such that you’re always looking forward to a sudden shift to the kind of quality acting she is capable of, but you end up not getting a lot of it.
Saqib Saleem, on the other ha, d is way too vulnerable for someone who had been trained to be rational for a decade since the moment he enters the frame. The mental strength of the original character in Oculus was dearly missed. Saqib delivers a handful of clever lines and we love him for that, which unfortunately gets negated by his overly nuanced character. But somehow, there is a quality about him which doesn’t let you take your eyes off the man. Kudos for that, Saqib!
Huma, on the other hand, plays an emotional version of Karen Gillian’s character in Oculus which does NOT work in her favour in any way. Karen Gillian’s character in Oculus had a very focused approach to her mission of destroying the evil mirror, until a set of very horrifying incidents made her vulnerable beyond repair. If only even a fraction of that same focus was a part of Huma’s character, she could have single handily beefed up the ratings. But, Huma was unarguably exceptional in a handful of scenes, such as the one where she discovers the death of her fiancé. A handful of scenes remind us the kind of excellence Huma is capable of, which was sadly unexplored by the director.
For those who have seen Oculus, they know very well that Rhea Chakraborty‘s character wasn’t a part of the original, so naturally, we had high hopes from her. But unfortunately, she has once again proven to be that glorified extra who had NOTHING substantial to add to the storyline. I hope we won’t be saying the same thing after Bank Chor.
On a macro level, the dialogue delivery was done in a very hurried manner and lacked originality. It seemed like the whole crew was in a hurry to wrap up the film as early as possible.
Our verdict: Director Prawaal Raman needs to be lauded for his attempt at stepping up the game for the Bollywood Horror filmmakers, but we bet that a few months down the line, he will believe that the film could have been a whole lot better. Oculus still is the undefeated champion in the psychological horror genre.
Our verdict: 2.5 stars