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404

The intriguingly named ‘404’ opens with promise. A first year medical student volunteers to occupy a room that’s been locked for some years.

Director Prawaal Raman

Cast Rajvvir Arora,Nishikant Kamath,Imaad Shah,Tisca Chopra,Satish Kaushik

Rating **

The intriguingly named ‘404’ opens with promise. A first year medical student volunteers to occupy a room that’s been locked for some years. He’s not scared of ghosts,declares Abhimanyu ( Rajvvir),and with those famous last words,walks in.

Prawaal Raman has had past experience in trying to spook us ( ‘Darna Mana Hai’) . And here again he shows us that he is good at creating atmosphere. The college building has large ceilings and dark shadows and menacing seniors. Some of the scenes of the bullying,spearheaded by the final year dada ( Shah) make you crane forward nervously. Like Abhimanyu,you can feel a presence,not seen or heard by anyone else : a figure flits past your line of vision,a mirror shows up a reflection,and you look where he’s looking,and wonder.

This could have been a nicely understated,seriously scary chiller. But it gets too wordy and too deliberate for its own good. Professor Anriuddh ( Kamath) and his wife ( Chopra) make an interesting couple to start with but become dull. Abhimanyu is in a dangerous phase of bipolar disorder,solemnly intones a teacher. It’s nice to know that Bollywood films are starting to take their medical terminology seriously,but it would be even nicer if they take care not to use these kinds of alarming throwaway lines.

And the sound track obligingly rachets up. And up.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com