Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ek Thi Daayan

Supernaturals, witchcraft, wizardry and all belong to a world mostly unknown of humans, or, if legends are to be believed, they try to find space in the void created by humanly emotions in the real world. Creating one such absorbing world on celluloid must be a challenge, as the audiences in are wanting for some chills and shocks. The setting, lights, photography, here in Ek Thi Daayan, are of the same kind as of any Vishal Bhardwaj film. And with perfect production and sound design, the job is half done.

To reach Heaven, there's a Stairway. To reach Hell, there's a Lift! 

We enter this world as Bobo - the baffler (Emraan Hashmi) rises up on stage in a lift.  This lift is similar to the one in the building where Bobo spent his curious days of childhood. Press button 6 thrice to make it the devil's number - '666' and you're taken to the hell where all "bad" people of the building stay after their death. These "bad" people could be building's strict secretary, angry watchmen or the aunt who disallow children from playing, as the kid Bobo (Vishesh Tiwari) enlists. We learn all this when Bobo is under hypnotic therapy by his psychiatrist Dr. Ranjan Palit (named after the DoP of 7 Khoon Maaf) to revisit his past after being frequently haunted by images of his little sister, who was killed in their childhood, and her doll.

Bobo in his childhood was an intrepid explorer who not only reached the bottom of the stories of witches but also encountered one. His mischievous adventures with his innocent sister Misha (Sara Arjun) and the explorations that follow concern you about 'coincidences v/s belief'.  This shares only the well-structured first half of the film.

The second half follows as the sequel of the first, call it The Daayan Returns, as she had promised to come back again. What is lost in the second half is the childhood innocence that we saw in Bobo and Misha and wanted to see in Zubin (and when there's no childhood innocence, it makes sense for the makers to not put Sapna Re Sapna song in the movie), the emotional trauma that would drive Bobo to encounter a daayan again and a strong reason to it. Bobo's encounter and explorations, again in the second half, goes back to the same matter of coincidences, which eventually just turned out to be cheap tricks by the writers to confuse the protagonist and audience.

(Spoilers ahead. Read further only if you have watched the movie.)

We realize his life is coming full circle as Zubin sees his parents getting married in front of him just the way Bobo himself did. And, predictably, we now know who the daayan is in the second half.  But how is her hair in the wedding song not long and suddenly she wears a long braid in the final climax?

There are such few more questions:
  • If Lisa Dutt had nothing to do with daayans and stuff, why did Bobo's grandpa mention about her anyway, and why did Diana killed him then?
  • Tamra's birthday falling on 29th February is so contrived. If she's been with Bobo for more than a year, how doesn't he know about that?
  • If daayans can only be killed by an innocent one, how wasn't Bobo innocent enough to kill her at first place?
  • Most importantly, how and why did Diana come back?
Fret not, I've already answered these. They are cheap tricks by writers to confuse us. 

(Spoilers over.) 

What disappoints more in the climax is the most cliché reasoning for everything of good v/s evil in threadbare dialogues by Bhardwaj. It has never happened before that you leave theater not memorising one dialogue from a film that has dialogues written by him. 

But, there are some interesting subtleties that I wish could have formed largely a part of the film's writing, like co-relating the hide & seek game with the lunar eclipse; ball hitting back at Bobo when he throws it on the wall; Misha's doll sitting at the back of the car where few scenes back Zubin had sat, signifying innocence. However, emotional depth of the film overall does take a back-seat. And, this is where last year's supernatural thriller Talaash scores.

Ek Thi Daayan would have worked only if its writing could have raised our hairs than its CG made parts.

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