Indian films have been infamous for their horror flicks, which are most of the times "inspired" by Hollywood films. They lack the fear factor and the ability to keep the viewers engaged in the storyline. Instead of instilling fear of supernatural powers in your mind, these films instill a fear of watching Indian horror films (pun intended). For us Indians, RGV’s Bhoot is a horror film while Hollywood and World Cinema produce films that can be truly categorized in the genre since they do much more than just scaring people out of their wits with loud sound effects. Even after trying to do something new, Indian filmmakers are still unsuccessful at making a cult horror film. Gajendra Ahire’s, Anvatt: The Unexpected falls under the same category.
Set in the mid 20th century (which is very hard to infer as the characters do not use any gadgets except an antique camera, but their wardrobe has the capability to put any young person of today’s generation to shame). A newly-wed couple, Dr. Vinay (Adinath Kothare) and his archeologist wife (Urmila Kanetkar-Kothare) arrive at a heritage bungalow somewhere in Konkan. The lone caretaker (Vibhawari Deshpande) adds to the eerie scenario with her strange antics, while Kamat (Makrand Anaspure), on the other hand, who assists Dr. Vinay at the hospital, has a few grey shades in his personality. Things start getting creepy and scary when Madhura experiences some sort of spirit trying to stalk her every now and then.
Gajendra Ahire’s, Anvatt: The Unexpected hardly grabs your attention as a viewer and most of the time appears to have a lousy storyline. Known for making films in a short span of time, he compromises on some technical aspects like a smooth screenplay. With the help of good technicians and beautiful locations he tries his best to make the movie presentable, and in a way succeeds in doing so. The sequence in which Ahire uses the famous Hiranyakashyap-Narsimha episode to symbolize an attack was impressive.
The actors play their parts in a satisfactory manner. Casting the real-life couple Adinath–Urmila, the director was able to capture their chemistry on screen without much effort (which is not necessary to be concentrated on in a Horror flick, but the director still does it). Adinath Kothare as the rationalist Dr. Vinay has played his character in a justified manner. Urmila Kothare, as the damsel in distress plays her part. Makrand Anaspure as the assistant has put up a good performance, while Kishore Kadam’s character seems to have been under-used.
One man who should be given special mention is the D.O.P, Krishna Soren for his excellent camerawork. He has used light in the dark frames to the fullest, and makes each and every frame look aesthetically rich.
The music in the film is one of its major drawbacks. By using old Marathi songs, the director has tried to give the movie an old school touch. But the songs seem to be forcefully-added into the movie without any relevance to the storyline. The movie would’ve been much better without the songs in it. Like why on Earth does Madhura sing “Ye re Ghana, ye re Ghana (Come hither, cloud)”, when she is petrified by the presence of a spirit in her house. The film lacks the ability to keep you seated on the edge-of-your-seat, which is expected from a good supernatural-thriller.
Why should you watch this film?
It is a good attempt by Ahire, which doesn’t totally disappoint the viewers. The film definitely succeeds in questioning the minds of people about the presence/absence of supernatural powers.
By Ajinkya Prabhu