If you can accept Shreyas Talpade as a womanizing glam photographer who clicks with the ladies, so to speak, and Sneha Ullal (remember her as Salman Khan‘s under-age lover-girl in Lucky) then the underlining them of love-on-the-prowl in afterlife is chilling in fits spasms and spurts.
Director Sangeeth Sivan, who had earlier carved a comic slant for himself with Kya Kool Hain Hum, displays a penchant for projecting a mood of ominous foreboding into the finely-lit frames. The camera (T Ramji) is impeccably mood-oriented. The idyllic Goanese outdoors and the neat spacious artistically-designed interiors are used intelligently to create a sense of horrific disorder under the commodious elegant surfaces.
Sandeep Chowta’s reined-in background score is another asset to the mood of underlying foreboding, though the songs done as annoying set-pieces with auto-pilot choreography are like a molar surgery in the middle of a trying day.
The sound-design mercifully precludes startling noises and creaking doors. Like Ram Gopal Varma’s Bhoot, Click focuses on finding the centre of the terror in ordinary circumstances.
If only portions of the plot was not so hard to digest. Moving on an age-old premise for horror cinema where the protagonist’s past trespasses catch up with him in chilling infinity, Click creates a mÃ©lange of intended terror and unintended humour.
Talpade (somewhat miscast) is the not-so-fashionable fashion photographer whose camera begins to capture spirits.
The feeling of something-out-there is well-developed. But the gruesome pre-denouement gang-rape and murder are not just out of place but done with unpardonable half-heartedness.
Some of the hero’s trysts with the spook, such as the sequence where he climbs down a fire escape with the spirit in hot pursuit, are spine-chilling. The dying moments where Avi’s past guilt literally rides on his shoulder and apparently for the rest of his life, are a terrifying representation of guilt, almost Kafkaesque in their resonances, though the rest of the film is too flighty to carry the existential burden.
While Shreyas is effective in the traumatized moments his two co-stars are listless. Blessedly this shiver giver seems original.
And we can’t fault the film for cracking the horror genre with a basic amount of finesse.