When you take inspiration from two movies, there's a possibility that the end product may turn out to be far more engaging and engrossing than the originals. Or, perhaps, the new version might lack the impact of the originals.
Soni Razdan's directorial debut NAZAR can be divided into two parts
The first half takes its inspiration from Irvin Kershner's Hollywood film EYES OF LAURA MARS [starring Faye Dunaway, Tommy Lee Jones], considered by many to be a classic, while the post-interval portions bear an uncanny resemblance to Pang Brothers' Cantonese-Thai language film JIAN GUI [THE EYE, starring Angelica Lee]. Incidentally, JIAN GUI [THE EYE] also happens to be the source of inspiration for NAINA.
It's not blasphemous to get inspired by works that command respect, but this desi adaptation called NAZAR is engaging in parts, not in totality. Soni and her team of writers could've used far more imaginative tricks and dished out a fare that keep you on tenterhooks all through.
But NAZAR can easily be compared to the sensex -- the graph of the film goes up and down all the while. And when it comes to a close, the fulfilling experience that a moviegoer ought to have is clearly missing. Yes, the identity of the killer does come as a shock, but the motive that compels the killer to go on a rampage isn't convincing enough.
At best, NAZAR remains an ordinary fare, with a few 'Boo' moments as its USP.
Divya [Meera] is a successful stage show artiste. However, she leads a secluded life after her parents' demise. While driving back from her shoot one night, she meets with an accident that turns her life upside down.
Divya is suddenly haunted by strange visions of unnerving murders that make her believe that she is going over the edge. As the story unfolds, she meets Special Investigating Officer Rohan [Ashmit Patel], who is uncovering a case of serial killings of bar dancers.
Although Rohan's colleague [Koel Purie] refuses to buy Divya's story, terming it as hallucination, Rohan believes in Divya and decides to pursue the case far more vigorously. In the process, Rohan and Divya are attracted to each other and gradually fall in love.
But the growing friendship between Rohan and Divya bothers Tarun [Aly Khan], a doctor, who openly professes his feelings to Divya time and again.
NAZAR starts off brilliantly. The song at the very start of the film, filmed on Meera in true MTV style, sets the mood for the whodunit. And the subsequent sequence, when Meera 'interacts' with a victim on a secluded road, scares the daylights out of you.
Things move briskly thereafter. Meera continues to get visions, she can actually 'see' a bar dancer getting murdered in a yard, another bar dancer is knifed to death in the hospitalï¿½ director Soni Razdan holds your finger and walks you through to a world that most Indians would believe in, while a few may find it surreal.
With everything well laid out in the first 30 minutes of the film, you expect the narrative to get far more riveting as the mystery deepens. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen!
The problem with the film lies clearly in its screenplay. Meera continues to get visions and the murderer knows it all through about this [which the viewer learns in the final reel]. But the murderer waits for the climax to strike and eliminate Meera. Why not before? Why leave footprints behind?
Also, Meera can see the face of the victim, location of the murder, the weapon being used to carry out the heinous crime, even the movements of the victim and murderer, but why doesn't she see the face of the murderer? Why does she see it only in the end?
The second flaw is the romantic track between Ashmit and Meera. In the post-interval portions, Meera runs wild on that dark street where she first met the lady who was murdered, but soon after this sequence comes a 'dream song', with a skimpily dressed Meera and Ashmit dancing under a waterfall. This erotic track [the title song] is well filmed, no doubt, but its placement is all wrong. Who'd even think of romance when life is on the edge?
Even Ashmit Patel's flashback looks completely half-baked. His better-half had been pushed to death by someone for reasons that remain unexplained to the viewer all through.
The finale is another downer. Like mentioned above, the identity of the killer does startle you, but the motive behind the killings is such an anti-climax. An apt example of a screenplay of convenience!
Director Soni Razdan has handled the eerie moments efficiently, with some supernatural moments making you chew your nails in anxiety, but she is letdown by the writing. Also, the film moves at a leisurely pace in the post-interval portions, which only harms the film.
NAZAR has four songs in all and in terms of tunes, the title track sounds pleasing to the ears. The opening track is impressive too, but its filming overpowers its tune. However, when compared to Vishesh Films' repertoire [AASHIQUI, DIL HAI KE MAANTA NAHIN, SADAK, FAREB, CRIMINAL, KASOOR, RAAZ, MURDER, ZEHER], the music of NAZAR doesn't live up to the track record. Cinematography is patchy. The lighting in a few sequences could've been better.
NAZAR rests on Meera's shoulders and the Pakistani actor does impress you in certain portions. She handles the scary moments with aplomb, but at places she is strictly okay.
Ashmit Patel is functional. However, in his new avtaar [long hair], the actor looks less of a cop and more like a ramp model. Koel Purie does very well. In fact, her performance is highly consistent all through. Aly Khan is effective. Vishwajeet Pradhan [as Meera's uncle], Avtar Gill [as head cop] and Bobby Darling [as choreographer] are adequate. Padma Rani is excellent in that lone scene. Neena Gupta [one song and subsequent sequence] is alright.
On the whole, NAZAR has a few scary moments to bank upon, but a weak screenplay is its biggest undoing. At the box-office, it will face an uphill task!