Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Pari

Cast: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajat Kapoor, Ritabhari Chakraborty, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Director: Prosit Roy

I’m a real sucker for horror films, but in Bollywood it’s a genre that hasn’t produced anything particularly memorable since Ramgopal Varma’s Bhoot came out 15 years ago.

It’s true that it’s hard to make a compelling scary movie today when distractions like mobile phones have all but killed the immersive movie-watching experience. But it’s also true that tacky special effects, recycled storylines, and over-the-top acting have turned what are intended as horror films into unintentional comedies.

Pari, co-produced by and starring Anushka Sharma, is a competently made film that’s rich in atmospherics. Set in Kolkata during the monsoon it’s bathed in blue-green hues, and uses sound design shrewdly, both to deliver jump-scares and to ratchet up a strong sense of foreboding. First-time director Prosit Roy does a good job with the look and feel of the film, for the most part opting for starkness to establish a mood of cold dread. 

I’ll try to keep the details to a minimum, but I can tell you the plot is set in motion after a road accident on a rainy day leads to the discovery of a young woman named Rukhsana (Anushka Sharma), chained in a cottage in the woods. Evidently she’s had little contact with the outside world, easily frightened and suspicious of virtually everyone and everything. For reasons I won’t give away, a shy fellow named Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee) feels obliged to take her in, even as a mysterious professor (Rajat Kapoor) arrives from Bangladesh in desperate search of her.

The script, by Roy and Abhishek Banerjee, invokes satanic cults, disfigured women in black robes, witch-hunters, and plenty mumbo jumbo. There are disturbing scenes of brutal violence against women and animals, and enough blood is spilled to make even those with relatively strong nerves feel queasy.

A big problem with the film is its length. Roy spends too much time on set-up, and it isn’t until the chilling intermission point that the haze begins to clear. It also doesn’t help that the film becomes progressively bizarre and positively silly as it inches towards the end, complete with a laughable love triangle and a flat-out ridiculous climax involving a scene of childbirth.

But there is some genuinely creepy imagery in the film including a shot of a fake eye floating in a beaker. Another involves a woman leaning over a bucket of water in a bathroom. There are also multiple nods to the Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In. I’ll be honest, more than a few times I was startled in my seat. Roy uses these moments and a host of familiar tropes skillfully. There’s also Anushka Sharma, who’s in good form, making a meal of the part, clearly throwing herself into the paradox that is her character. 

And yet Pari doesn’t come together in a coherent, satisfying way. There’s a lot going on in the film, including references to true historical events from the subcontinent, and an over-dependence on old wives’ tales about spirits and ‘ifrits’ and ‘jinns’. What starts out interestingly, ends in a mess. I’m going with two out of five.

Rating: 2 / 5

Did you like this blog?*
How did you find this blog?*
What kind of articles would you like to read on the blog?*
Name:*
E-mail:*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Rajeev Masand

  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Omerta

    Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Keval Arora, Rajesh Tailang, Blake Allan Director: Hansal Mehta In his new film Omerta, director Hansal Mehta seeks to dive into...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of 102 Not Out

    Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi Director: Umesh Shukla Let’s just face it Hindi cinema doesn’t know what to do with senior...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Avengers: Infinity War

    Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe...

    BMS EditorApril 26, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Beyond The Clouds

    Cast: Ishaan Khattar, Malavika Mohanan, Goutam Ghose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, GV Sharada, Amruta Santosh Thakur, Shivam Pujari Director: Majid Majidi Iranian master Majid Majidi,...

    BMS EditorApril 21, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of October

    Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao Director: Shoojit Sircar October, directed by Shoojit Sircar, is a thoughtful, meditative film about...

    BMS EditorApril 13, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Blackmail

    Cast: Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta, Pradhuman Singh, Anjula Sathe, Gajraj Rao, Omi Vaidya, Vibha Chibbar, Neelima Azim Director: Abhinay...

    BMS EditorApril 6, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Baaghi 2

    Cast: Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda, Deepak Dobriyal, Prateik Babbar, Darshan Kumaar, Vipin Sharma Director: Ahmed Khan. A distraught young...

    BMS EditorApril 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Pacific Rim Uprising

    Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman Director: Steven S DeKnight I’m one of those who thoroughly...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Hichki

    Cast: Rani Mukerji, Neeraj Kabi, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Harsh Mayar Director: Siddharth P Malhotra There is nothing original, nothing surprising, nothing even...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018

All articles/blogs are intended to inform, entertain and amuse. We make no representations or guarantees about the truth, accuracy or quality of any content.

Copyright 2018 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news!
Thank You For Subscribing To Us!

Now get regular updates on the latest entertainment news and style trends.

Providing you with the best of Bollywood, Hollywood, style and more.
Get the best in entertainment, while keeping yourself entertained!
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×
WordPress Popup