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Thursday, March 04, 2021

A Haunting Sameness

The only new thing about Haunted is that it is Bollywood horror in 3-D.

Written by Shubhra Gupta |
May 7, 2011 2:55:31 am

Haunted

DIRECTOR: Vikram Bhatt

CAST: Mahakshay Chakraborty,Tia Bajpai,Arif Zakaria,Achint Kaur

Rating: **

The only new thing about Haunted is that it is Bollywood horror in 3-D. The rest of it,by which we mean the principal stuff that makes it a film — story,location,characters — are all same old,same old. Not just in the general ghost story sense,but in the specific out-of-Vikram-Bhatt-stable sense.

In his last couple of outings,Bhatt gave us a picturesque hill station,fair misses dressed in full Victorian regalia,going-back-in-time subplots,and a never-ending climax. All these elements are present in Haunted,which also brings back to our midst Mimoh Chakraborty,renamed Mahakshay,who had vanished after a most unfortunate debut. He’s teamed up with an equally unfortunate debutante,who gets to live out her life mostly in flashback,mostly delivering high-pitched screams,mostly when she is off-screen.

Rehan (Chakraborty) arrives at a pretty bungalow after the obligatory meet-up with a weirdo,who’s waiting for our hero at a bend in the hills. Almost immediately,he starts hearing shrieks. A medium intones solemnly: evil spirits cannot read or write. The weirdo shows up again,to declare: bachche,go back,and change time. So our hero whooshes back a few decades (just how he does that no spirits bother telling us,nor does the scriptwriter: one moment Rehan’s here in 2011,the next,he’s in 1936),whips out a couple of letters and dangles them in front of girl-in-deadly peril Meera (Bajpai),and her companion (Kaur),and reads out a laundry-list of the bad things that will happen.

And so they do. A lusty piano-teacher called Professor Iyer ( Zakaria) comes to a bloody end. Enter obsessive bhoots,and hacked heads. Pointed objects go floating by your nose: standard 3-D. Chalky-faced aatmas fly through trees: slightly better

3-D. But adding a third dimension alone does not a film make,especially if it tries lifting dull content and new actors with scant screen presence,particularly now that we are surrounded by infinitely superior technology even in the worst Hollywood films. You are left feeling grateful for a few creepy moments the film manages,before sinking into sameness.

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