Tips and Vishesh Films' RAAZ, directed by Vikram Bhatt, is a psycho-thriller inspired by the Harrison Ford-Michelle Pfeiffer flick WHAT LIES BENEATH.
It's the story of a young couple, Aditya Dhanraj (Dino Moreo) and his wife Sanjana Dhanraj (Bipasha Basu). They are on the brink of a divorce. They decide to give their marriage one last shot and go back to Ooty.
Ooty ï¿½ the place where they fell in love!
Ooty and their dream house, however, turn out to be a nightmare. Their house is haunted. There is someone there and only Sanjana can see that. There seems to be a link between their crumbling marriage and the haunting.
In an era when patriotic films and family socials are the order of the day, director Vikram Bhatt has dared to be different by choosing a theme that defies the stereotype. It's indeed thorny to make a film on the supernatural since one has maintain consistency throughout. Also, it is courageous to cast new faces in a script that demands seasoned performers.
RAAZ is a supernatural thriller that takes the viewer by his hesitant hand and leads him through a series of suspenseful occurrences. It reflects a fascination for Hitchcock's classic thrillers REAR WINDOW and PSYCHO.
Unlike films of this genre, where the eerie atmosphere is introduced after the mandatory songs and clich? director Vikram Bhatt and writer Mahesh Bhatt come to the point in the first reel itself.
These sequences have been canned with utmost care. The slow camera movement, the usage of extended silences and sudden noises, and thrill-seeking moments, like the sudden double reflection in the mirror (interval point), send a chill down the spine.
The sequences between Bipasha and the spirit succeed in terrifying the viewer. But after a promising first half, the pace slackens in the post-interval portions. The flashback, which is supposed to be the soul of a psycho-thriller, starts off on a slow note and picks up momentum gradually. Also, the 'sher-shiari' bit was just not required and looks completely out of sync with the mood of the film.
The pace picks up again and the narrative gets absorbing when the girl (Malini Sharma) starts getting extra possessive. The telephone conversation, involving Dino-Bipasha, and Malini's subsequent outburst is simply brilliant. So is the death sequence that follows soon after.
But the climax looks contrived and doesn't measure up to the expectations. Although deftly executed, the end seems like too much of a cinematic liberty, with the spirit, who has entered Ashutosh Rana's body now, getting unconscious after Bipasha crashes her car into him.
This particular aspect seems a bit far-fetched, for the extremely powerful spirit has the capacity to make people fly, have blood pouring from the chandelier, electrocute people and what not. In that context, for the spirit to suddenly remain dormant temporarily, more so when Bipasha is out to put an end to it, seems implausible. A more appropriate sequence should've been thought of!
Director Vikram Bhatt has chosen the right story and even presented it with ?n, but he should've concentrated on making the second half believable. However, the execution of a few eerie sequences gives the impression that one is watching a Hollywood flick.
Nadeem-Shravan's music is easy on the ears. The songs are pleasant-sounding and extremely popular with cinegoers as well. 'Jo Bhi Kasme Khayi Thi Humne', 'Main Agar Saamne Aa Bhi Jaaya Karu' and 'Aapke Pyaar Mein Hum Sawarne Lage' are gems, although 'Kitna Pyara Hai Yeh Chehra' can easily be deleted for it seems forced in the goings-on.
Pravin Bhatt's cinematography is up to the mark. The background score (Raju Rao) enhances the impact of several sequences. Dialogues (Girish Dhamija) gel well with the mood of the film.
Dino Morea looks photogenic, but needs to work hard on expressions. Although this is Bipasha Basu's second film, the actress carries off a complex role with aplomb. She shows a marked growth as an actress.
Ashutosh Rana is excellent in a role that fits him like a glove. His expressions, when he senses the presence of the spirit around him, deserve special mention. Malini Sharma comes in the latter half and although her role is small, the impact is solid. A natural actress!
Shruti Ulfat, as Bipasha's friend, is first-rate. Vishwajeet Pradhan makes his presence felt.
On the whole, RAAZ is a well-crafted film that has the right combo required for a psycho-thriller ï¿½ eerie atmosphere and tuneful music. But a theme like this always has its share of non-believers. In that respect, the response to the film will be mixed. Business in Mumbai should prove to be the best.