When you saunter into a cinema hall to watch a horror flick, you anticipate a riveting story with chills and thrills to scare the daylights out of you.
KRISHNA COTTAGE, directed by debutante Santram Verma, has its share of chills that occasionally shock you, but how one wishes the writers would've come up with an effective, atmospheric and coherent horror film.
However, as far as technique is concerned, KRISHNA COTTAGE succeeds. Some of it doesn't make sense logically speaking, but it's so well executed in terms of visual style that the director and his crew have managed to overshadow the writers' numerous gaps of logic.
KRISHNA COTTAGE is set in motion with the launch of a book by an eminent author [Raj Zutshi]. This book is different in the sense that it presents nine-and-a-half stories - the final story has been left incomplete by the author since he couldn't think of an appropriate ending.
Manav [Sohail Khan] and Shanu [Natasha] are studying in the same college. On their engagement day, they happen to meet Disha [Isha Koppikar], a new entrant in their class.
Both Manav and Disha get attracted to each other in their first meeting itself. The same night, during the engagement ceremony, Manav saves Disha from a mishap.
Manav, Disha and their friends [Vrajesh Hirjee, Divya Palat, Hiten Tejwani, Ali Hassan] decide to escort a visibly-shaken Disha to her house. But a flat tyre compels them to take shelter in a secluded cottage in a dilapidated condition, Krishna Cottage.
And then begins a spate of murders... The mystery deepens when Shanu learns of a bizarre truth.
Take the much-acclaimed Hollywood hit THE RING , add a bit of Ramgopal Varma's BHOOT, sprinkle Chetan Anand's KUDRAT, garnish it with some shock-value sequences from Ramsay movies and the recipe for the dish called KRISHNA COTTAGE is ready!
While THE RING and BHOOT were embellished with a taut script and attention-grabbing technique [cinematography, sound quality, background music] to make the viewer bite his nails, KRISHNA COTTAGE has to remain content with some well executed sequences and special effects.
Of course, the film does boast of eerie moments, but they are few and far between. Writers Rajesh Joshi and Abhigyan Jha seem to have run out of fresh ideas while scripting the film. That's the impression you get at the conclusion of the film.
KRISHNA COTTAGE starts off well, but as the story unfolds, the viewer is left with a feeling of d? vu. For instance, the moment the car breaks down and the friends enter a secluded cottage, the viewer is well aware that some eerie incidents will follow next. And that's precisely what happens!
Also, despite the friends getting killed one after the other, there's no sign of a cop or even their parents arriving on the scene to investigate the issue. In fact, one of the friends [Ali Hassan] is brutally murdered within the college premises, but again nothing happens. That's too much of a cinematic liberty!
Furthermore, the script leaves several questions unanswered. In the first place, how does the author know about the spirit [the final unfinished chapter reveals the truth about the spirit] remains a mystery till the finale. The writers of the film have committed the most glaring faux pas here!
Even the end, when the spirit lets go of Sohail Khan so easily, when the fact is that it has waited for 22 years to possess him, looks ridiculous. A better-penned climax would've helped camouflage the defects partially.
KRISHNA COTTAGE is watchable in the second half. The film gathers steam in the post-interval portions when Rati Agnihotri enters the scene [she enacts a role similar to the one essayed by Rekha in BHOOT]. The sequence when she tries to connect with the spirit is expertly executed.
Likewise, a few eerie sequences do succeed in sending a chill down your spine. In fact, the creepy thrills and visceral chills will keep the audiences on their toes. Instances: The two murders in the first half [Divya Palat, Ali Hassan] and also the pre-climax, when flashes from the past races past Sohail's eyes.
Director Santram Verma is a good technician, but his efforts get sidelined thanks to amateurish writing. Verma has executed a couple of sequences deftly and if given a better script, can come up with better results.
Anu Malik's music is a mixed bag. 'Bindaas' is the pick of the lot in terms of its tune as well as its execution. Cinematography is up to the mark. The dark and spooky look is well depicted throughout. The background score [Amar Mohile] deserves special mention for it enhances the impact of several sequences. Special effects [Maya] are top class.
After a smash performance in I - PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN, Sohail Khan disappoints this time around. This one is a relatively bland performance.
Natasha comes across well in the post-interval portions. However, she needs to control herself in sequences that demand outbursts/anger. Isha Koppikar carries off her part with sincerity, not going overboard at all. A confident performance!
Rati Agnihotri looks her part and lends credibility to it. But one fails to understand why she apes Rekha in the film [BHOOT is still fresh in the memory]. Besides, her exit could've been better thought of - it looks too abrupt! Raj Zutshi does well in a brief role. Again, the culmination of his character could've been better thought of.
Amongst friends, Hiten Tejwani is fair. Vrajesh Hirjee is controlled this time around. Divya Palat is alright. Ali Hassan is strictly okay.
On the whole, KRISHNA COTTAGE has its moments, but not enough to enjoy an innings like some of the films belonging to this genre [RAAZ, BHOOT]. At the box-office, an open week [no oppositions!] and the commencement of summer vacations might just go in its favour!