January 24, 2009 2:34:55 am
Film: Raaz-The Mystery Continues
Director: Mohit Suri
Cast: Emran Hashmi,Kangana Ranaut, Adhyayan Suman
Running at: Inox (Forum,City Centre,Swabhumi)br>
Disclaimer: This is not a review,but a comparative study of the latest Bollywood spook fest,Raaz- The Mystery Continues,and the 1988 Ramsay film Veerana,a prototype of the 1980s Bollywood horror genre,based on the following categories.
The Purani Mandir
This is a patent location for all Bollwood horror flicks. A rundown old temple which,for some weird reason,is the seat of all nefarious activities. Needless to say,Veerana was centered around one,and surprisingly enough Mohit Suris Raaz,begins in one. The camera pans the Mandir while an owl hoots eerily somewhere in the distance. Boy,are we scared!
The Bathing Beauty
Now this is the universal truth for horror flicks across the world its not a horror film without a very scared and a very wet heroine wrapped in a towel. No matter how late in the night it is,and what time of the year it is,these women are overwhelmed by the desire to dunk themselves in a foaming bathtub. Veerana featured two very voluptuous bathing beauties with a predilection for night-time baths. Raaz,doesnt disappoint. A haunted Kangana seeks refuge in a very posh bathroom over and over again,even though the bathtub there has an irritating habit of springing rotting,scaly hands on her.
The Possessed Beauty
Not to be mistaken with the bathing beauty,this particular species has equally bizarre behavioral disorders. She takes midnight walks in skimpy nightdresses and makes strange animal-like noises when confronted with a cross,or if she is possessed by a Hindu ghost,an om. Veerana had a particularly nasty one,who would feed on the blood of unsuspecting victims. The one in Raaz,Kanagana,thankfully,is an improvement on the category. She doesnt need to inflict violence on other people to establish her demonic side,she does that by tearing herself apart.
The spooky chowkidar
Now this one is the proverbial red herring. Usually monkey-capped with a shawl thrown across his shoulders,the chowkidar is used to mislead the audience into believing that he is the man behind all the spooky activities. When actually he is the visionary who predicts the gory end of the lead characters. Veerana,was true to the chowkidar stereotype with a weird looking fella pottering around the purani haveli,Raaz, however,plays around with the stereotype. It actually makes a hero out of the chowkidar. So,we have Emran Hashmi,the modern day chowkidar who warns Kangana of her horrible fate,and what more,saves her from it too.
And finally the Taikhana
The story genrally climaxes in a taikhana,where good triumphs over the evil. In Veerana the deadly zombie was sliced to pieces in the aforementioned taikhana with a trishul. But in Raaz the taikhana is replaced with a well. Now,the well is not a random substitute. Its an informed and an inspired one,thanks to countless Japanese ghost flicks which have used the well to the best cinematic effect. Raaz too uses the well quite well (read underwater shots and a lot of splashing around )
PS Raaz-The Mystery Continues also boasts of a convoluted plot involving ruthless industrialists,scheming pujaris ,corrupt policemen and a n ambitious journalist. But lets not get into that
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