Phoonk Review— B Grade Wannabe Horror Flick

Truth be told, I am sick and tired of Ram Gopal Varma’s (RGV) films. He made some films that are undoubtedly golden classics and he should now leave in style. Even Sarkar Raj couldn’t save him. This is the reason why I didn’t watch this film on the first day, but waited till I heard something good. However, much to RGV’s horror his horror film, for which a contest was conducted (money for watching it alone), was termed a not-so-horror film on the first day itself. But the talk was good. I finnaly saw it; while it has it’s share of thrills, the film is really a B-grade wannabe horror film.

The story is about a religious family whose head of the house is an athiest. Rajiv, the man of the house, is a successfull businessman, but believes that everything he got is because of his work and not because of God. On one party night, he fires his two partners for dishonestly. Much to his headache, one of the partners is a spooky lady who practices black magic. She curses Rajiv’s daughter, Raksha (Ahsaas Channa). Raksha is possessed and the family doesn’t know what to do. Modern science doesn’t seem to help, so finally Rajiv brings in a swami-ji to do the needfull and drive out the black magic. It succeeds and everybody is happy.

The first half is a big drag with no story. The second half is where some action is going on and if this didn’t happen the film would have flopped. The story actually is not scary. Everytime the audience sits-up it is only for the loud-sudden blast of music—cummon now, is this a scary film? and whats with the dolls and stationary animals?—makes no sense at all. The movie will also remind you of Bhooth. Ahsaas Channa as Raksha the possessed child delivers a knock-out performance.

The film is actually inspired and lifted from a Telugu film/tv serial called Tulasidalam, which my wife says was far more thrilling than Phoonk. And that is correct, Phoonk does not thrill you. However, the film has gone well with the audience because there are a few sequences that are spooky—

1. Rajiv walking in the middle of the night and seeing a different reflection of his in the mirror

2. the maid seeing the grandma meditating and accusing her of being the evil spirit and stretching her arm from door to door with a lime in her hand.

Unfortunately, these two sequences are dreams. The film should have been thrilling enough to include such incidents as part of its narrative. There is no adventure in the film. Another problem with the film is that there is no suspense about who is donig the black magic. Madhu (Ashwini Kalsekar), who is one of the partners who is fired, is shown very wierdly from the first frame onwards leaving nothing to your imagination. Perhaps, RGV didn’t want to take chances with the twists as he got the twist of his life when audience drew a blank to his twists in Sarkar Raj.

The film also carries a powerful tagline (“it is supersition till it happens to you”) and a discussion that is part of probably any household—superstition versus science. The film fails to bring out such a differentiation even though RGV touches upon it here and there through dialogue. In the end, after all the fighting between the swamiji and Madhu, Rajiv’s wife (who is beliver in God) tells him that the doctors did the miracle. So what does this mean? Nothing, it is just RGV trying be over-smart as usual. What could have been a cultural phenomenon (like the i-see-dead-people) is wasted. Anyways, RGV made good use of his by-now standard and typical camera movements, loud-sudden music, and is happy that he wouldn’t be kicked out of the industry. He is even planning Phoonk-2 (somebody, pls stop him!)–except the same stuff.

Mr. Inkenti’s Movienomics Verdict: Only One Thumb Up. Nothing special about Phoonk, but for a few sequences. You can safely wait to watch it on DVD/VCD.


1 Comment »

  1. John51 said

    Every community is different and every school partnership needs to find its own vision and path forward. ,

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