3.5 Very Good

Phoonk

Ramu gives us the feeling it’s a horror genre story not only when the Titles creep up with a PHOONK but more with its spine chilling background score and intruding camera placements give the impression of what the Director wants to create on his viewers mind, and certainly this time round Ramu and his new DOP have played with the camera angles than restrict actors into tight close-up shots.

The film begins as a simple story of Rajiv (Sudeep – an established Kannada actor from down South) who is in the construction business in Mumbai. A profit minded business man and a core atheist, showcases through an incident when his construction work is stalled upon finding a stone shaped Ganesha and he refuses to oblige to build a temple over it at request of his own workers.

On a contrary his wife, Arati (Amruta Khanvilkar) is a traditional house wife and is a staunch believer of God and his unseen holy powers; their loving daughter Raksha (Ehsaas) & younger son Rohan and his mother Amma make up to be a small happy family. The characters are established well in the films first opening reels itself and give a glimpse of how Rajiv perceives his family above anything else in life, with much love and affection towards his daughter Raksha. He does not believe in the way his mother wants to educate his kids by telling stories of mythological characters and presence of evil to make one believe in God and his mythical powers.

As the film moves forward we are further introduced to Vinay Dev (Ganesh Yadav), Rajiv’s lawyer-cum-legal advisor and a close friend; followed by a husband-wife duo of Anshuman (Kenny Desai) and Madhu (Ashwini Kalsekar) who are Rajiv’s close and trusted associates at his company. Need to mention that Madhu is quite a horror to watch her laugh at before the film begins to scare one!

Soon enough Rajiv bags a huge contract to construct a mini-city project and throws a grand party at his house to celebrate the big achievement.

Few days later, his maid notices a few nail-pierced lemons and sprinkled vermillion with bones stewed in his compound. Since everyone is scared of the sudden appearance of such unholy substances, Rajiv himself takes up the task to hurl the ingredients (believed to be items used for black magic) outside his compound and reprimands everyone for believing in such illogical and irrational things as black magic etc.

But this is only the beginning to a tale of events that take a strange turn- starting with death of a guy who was to join Rajiv as Anshuman’s replacement at work in a construction site mishap; his daughter Raksha has intermittent bouts of change in behaviour while appears for her examination at school. A panic call for Rajiv makes him rush to doctors for his daughter’s condition. However Dr. Pandey (KK Raina) brushes off the claims of any danger only as Raksha’s excuse to coverup for not being prepared for her exams and nothing else.

But Amma here believes her grand-daughter is possessed by an evil spirit and has no medical or psychotic complication and looks for divine help.

The film keeps you nailed onto your seat with instances of thrills how members of the family face experience of something unusual happenings along with them, and how insecure they feel about in their own house.

As the story reaches a culmination point, the sequences which happen turns Rajiv into a believer of the supernatural while Arati turns her back on God and believes Science alone cured her daughter.

Over all the film ends with the audience thinking and wanting to know more of what follows through.

However, performance-wise Raksha (Ehsaas) shines out as an effective young actor in her part of being a kid possessed with evil forces with an enthralling debut into Hindi films by Sudeep. Amruta comes out well as a worrying mother and rest of the cast commends to the film.

A one time watch for everybody who feels they are brave enough to watch a horror genre film and those who don’t as well because the horror element is not enough to give one a sleepless night. One needs to see through the message that the film portrays in its end and the process how things are through the so-called Primitive happenings still exist in today’s modern world.

Technically the film is excellent for the first time DOP Savita Singh, who is at the helm of giving the visual scares and has played with the camera angles throughout the film, barring the few visual effects given at the end of the film make the ending dramatic.

An absolute multiplex film and would do well in interiors as well considering the subject of Black Magic and coming from a well established director.

A film with a message to all is the surprise element than being dubbed as the scariest film of our times either Exorcist or our desi- Bhoot.

Watch it out without any prejudice and enjoy the scare. And since it’s the only film of the horror genre for this year it’s the much needed spice apart from the Comedies and Masala films released this year long.