March 3, 2018
Anushka Sharma’s horror flick Pari hit the theatres today, after teasing the audience with its ghoulish ‘screamers’. Did the film live up to its hype? Here is our Pari movie review.
Pari Cast: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajat Kapoor
Pari Director: Prosit Roy
Pari Rating: 2/5
Bollywood horror films are usually considered a joke, (Bhoot, Darna Mana Hai, Krishna Cottage, the list can go on). So, when the trailer of Pari released, we were surprised. We were curious, and we wondered whether the pattern of horror films in Bollywood was finally about to change. It became quite a strong belief that Anushka Sharma’s Pari would set a precedent for horror films in India.
But let’s be real here. Pari, with its jump scares and gory scenes, desperately tries to break away from the clutter. And in some ways, it does. But, for most of the film, you’re just wondering, ‘Uh, say what now?’
So here’s the basic premise of the story. The film is placed in a rather dark and depressing Kolkata setting, a point that is reiterated by constant thunderstorms and rain. Meet Arnab, played by Parambrata Chatterjee, a rather sad and melancholy person, who likes a quiet life.
His parents are desperately trying to get him married. And so they take him to meet Piyali, a vivacious and perky nurse who teaches him how to do some pseudo yogic excercises during their first meeting. Just like all first arranged-marriage meetings go…you know.
They both decide to get married. However, during a peculiar twist of events, he encounters Ruksana, played by Anushka Sharma.
Bollywood heroes have a fatal weakness. They must take a random girl home, and give her shelter. It clearly doesn’t matter if she has a bloodied appearance, or has clearly a million issues, (like huddling under the bed when seeing incense sticks, or cutting nails with a knife), or looks possessed most of the time. And, that’s exactly what Arnab does.
Despite all the signs screaming at him to call for help, he goes out of his way to help her, and seems to chide her gently with a “Paagal ho kya?” whenever she does something absolutely outrageous.
There’s even a strange love triangle involved, which one can’t help snickering at.
Obviously, Ruksana has a deep and dark secret, which only Rajat Kapoor and his gang of henchmen know. Keeping it short, there are lot of toothy demons, ghosts, demon babies, and some witchy rituals involved in this secret.
For the most part of the film, you’re trying to understand what on earth is happening, and the story. By the end of the film, you realise, ‘Oh right, this is the story. I get it now.’ Everything comes together at the end, albeit in a rather bizarre way.
But till you get to that point, you also want to imitate Anushka Sharma and swing yourself agilely out of the theatre.
The story of Pari is submerged under irrelevant scenes, jump scares, and the desperate need to fall into the horror-film category. It’s a shame, because the storyline was actually quite a unique and interesting one. Why do we concentrate so much on trying to terrify people that we forget about the main story?
From floating eyeballs, withered and bloodsucking demons, Pari uses all tricks in the horror-movie book to get a thrill out of you. To be honest, some scenes might make you jump a bit.
Despite its flaws and plotholes, there’s one good thing about the film. You’re not sure who is evil, or good, till the very end.
Acting wise, no complaints. Anushka breaks out of her bubbly-Punjabi-girl image with much finesse, and ropes you into her world of gore and ghostliness. Chatterjee, who is known for his stint as Rana, the good policeman in Kahaani (2012), does quite a good job as the tortured introvert, though there are times when he comes across as a tad monotonous. However, he is able to portray the various dilemmas and conflicts in his role with much subtlety. Rajat Kapoor is seen in an unusual avatar, and does give you the shivers at points.
Pari is different from other Bollywood horror films. Yes. But, we still have a long, long way to go in the genre.