Rajeev (Sudeep) is a young and successful construction engineer with ambitious plans. He is an atheist. He has a religious wife and two kids. He fires a woman called Madhu (Aswini Kalsekar) and her husband for indulging in fraud. In turn she uses black magic on the little daughter of Rajeev. The rest of the story is all about how an atheist like Sudeep believes in Black magic and saves his daughter.
Sudeep is very good as an atheist. Amrutha Khanvilkar is pretty as housewife. Aswini Kalsekar is excellent as the eccentric black magic woman. Ahsaas Channa steals the show as the girl who is possessed. Zakir Hussain is superb with a scary get-up as the blind black magic specialist.
Story of the film does deal with black magic. By balancing the story between the scientific aspect and supernatural aspect of the black magic, the director could sustain the interest among the audiences. Ram Gopal Varma never ventured out of way to create scariness by doing unnecessary scenes except for a couple of dream sequences (hero and the maid). The screenplay of the film is interesting. Direction of the film is good. And the characterizations are good.
Ram Gopal Varma extracted the best out of his technicians. Background music is very good. Cinematography is excellent. I liked the slow camera movements and the positioning of camera in most of the scenes. Dialogues are good. Art work is fine. He made sure that the soft toys chosen for the kids are weird so that it would help in creating scary ambiance. Most of the film is shot in two locations (house and construction site).
In the beginning of his career, Ram Gopal Varma used to make horror thrillers just for the sake of scaring the audiences. He used to concentrate more on fear factor than the emotional quotient. But contrary to his earlier horror films, Ram Gopal Varma narrated this film more sensibly by not depending on unnecessary scenes in order the scare the people. Hence he mixed the thrill elements into the emotional aspect. Those people who expect lot of scariness in the film would find it little disappointing. The plus points of the film are technical aspects and sensible story telling. The negative point is the slow-paced narration. On a whole, Ram Gopal Varma's Phoonk is worth a watch if you like films of this genre.