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|Index||42 reviews in total|
Ek thi Daayan gives a very fresh perspective to horror films .It is is
an enriching combination of good story telling and ethnic grandmother's
Awesome acting by Konkona Sen Sharma and Emraan Hashmi. Other actors have also played their character up-to the mark.
Whats's Good: Acting and storytelling, unfamiliar track for a horror thriller, good background score.
What's Bad: A little disappointment towards the conclusion part of the story.
Overall one time worth watch, but don't hope for a classic
The movie relies on something that most of the traditional bollywood horror movies don't rely on, that is originality. But let me warn you, the originality is mostly in the first half of the movie. The first half is superb. It builds the story effectively making the viewers to want the second half to begin immediately.Its an achievement as the main lead of the movie,Emraan Hashmi is not present in majority of the scenes. Inspite of this the movie holds your attention in the first half. The second half begins strongly but has its ups and downs. The song yaaram is beautifully shot. The movie has some good scary scenes but it relies mostly on the psychological horror path. The twist and turns in the second half are there to be guessed easily. The climax somewhat is a bit clichéd. But the movie never bores you for a moment. The script is superbly written by Mukul Sharma and Vishal Bhardwaj. The debutante director hits the right mark with his first outing, and is a director to watch out for. For the performances, Emraan plays his part well without really over reacting like normally actors do in Hindi horror movies. Konkana is wonderful as usual. The surprise performer of the movie is the child artist playing the young Emraan. Overall, Ek thi daayan tries an unseen approach to Indian horror, and it succeeds. Ohh yes it succeeds.
'POSTER' POWER: It was something beyond just an oil painting...Standing
in front of the 'Witches at their Incantations', amidst the dimness, in
National Gallery, London, I was trying to conceptualize that art work
by renaissance Painter Salvator Rosa...Set in a nocturnal landscape,
the painting aesthetically depicted the revulsion associated with
It was the summer of 2010, when I first saw this composition
there...A few days before, when I chanced upon the enigmatic 'First
Look Poster' of 'Ek Thi Dayaan', my mind automatically flew back to
that masterpiece of blackness, that amazed me roughly 3 years
back...The flying cilia-like hairs of three leading ladies in the movie
poster, almost camouflaging the branches of a ghostly tree, while
encircling a male face, accompanied by different expressions in their
respective faces, thereby highlighting the sharp contrast of light &
shadow unanimously increased the 'mystery quotient' of this film, which
is surely a prerequisite for the success of such genre of movies...Now
when, the seed (expectation) is carefully sown in the Poster/Trailer of
'Ek Thi Daayan', the rest certainly depends on the farmer (Director)
how methodically (Screenplay/Acting/Editing) he harvests the crop
(Movie) in his allocated land (Mind of viewers, including critics)
me shed a little light on this !!
PLOT: The film is about the constant hallucinations which painfully attack the successful life of magician Bobo (Emraan Hashmi)...Death of his father & sister by a dreadful power (perceived as a 'Daayan') in his childhood, keeps him haunted till his adulthood, as the sorcerer (Konkona SenSharma) promised to return to him someday...Bobo seeks psychiatric help from Doctor Palit (Rajatava Dutta) who brushes off his fear as sheer fantasy Tamara (Huma Qureshi) marries Bobo & they lead a joyful married life until the arrival of a fascinating lady named Lisa Dutt (Kalki Koechilin)...Bobo starts to believe that Lisa is that 'Daayan' who came back to break him down, followed an unexpected twist at the end
THUMBS UP: 1) Plenty of spine chilling moments are there, along with clap worthy performance by Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sensharma, Vishesh Tiwari (in the role of young Bobo) & Kalki Koechlin !! 2) Writing by Mukul Sharma & Vishal Bharadwaj added a distinctive coating to the film's spooky atmosphere Appreciating cinematography by Saurabh Goswami optimized the eidolic flavour of the drama !! 3) Skillful editing by Sreekar Prasad & superb special effects upgraded the paranormal aspect of this fiction !! 4) Music by Vishal Bharadwaj brims with sincerity, with a special mention to 'Totey Ud Gaye' & 'Kaali Kaali'...'Yaaram' sounds better in terms of lyrics (credit goes to Gulzar)...As a debutant Director, Kannan Iyer showed sufficient intensity in his story-telling ability !!
THUMBS DOWN: 1) With a few insubstantial moments, the movie becomes inconclusive in the second half, followed by a strange climax.. 2)The storyline appeared half-baked after the intermission...Also, the unnecessary length of the movie imposed a barrier to it's natural flow, hence reducing the overall entertainment value !!
DOWN THE MEMORY LANE: In my childhood, I was highly reluctant to devour the required amount of meal, which I was supposed to eat...One night, at one such moment, my grand mother pointed her index finger towards the darkness outside our home & said, "Don't make tantrums..Finish your meal soon..Or else, Daayan will take you away.." Me (ignorant about the existence of Daayan): "Who is this 'Daayan' ?" Granny (making her eyes rounder, with a pinch of horror): "Daayan is an evil woman with magical power...She takes away naughty kids & has a very long hair...She keeps her hair tied up by a single 'Choti' (twisting three different portions of hair around each other) & can transform her physical appearance into any entity" !! Being terrified, I no longer made any trouble while eating After nearly two decades, when I went to a rural village with one of my classmate (a girl) to do a project during my Post- Graduation, we were advised by the locals of that village, not to keep our hair open while roaming at night (to keep ourselves safe from the Daayans) !! They also narrated stories regarding witches & when I interrupted at a particular story, they reminded me my language & replaced the word 'story' with 'True Incidents' Today, while watching 'Ek Thi Dayaan', a few eerie moments & some dialogues by Bobo, describing the nature of an witch rekindled that memory for me Once again I realized, the grey matter of human brain, which gives birth to such an weird imagination is really an amusing subject to study !!
FINAL WORDS: Starting from the cave paintings of estimated 30,000 years old (showing a pregnant woman standing in a circle with eleven other people) to the famous Shakespearean play of 1606 (the character of Lady Macbeth), the traditional beliefs encompassing witchcraft have dominated the folktales of nearly all nations across the world till date I always wonder, why superstition in the name of mythical assumption/religious custom mainly embraces the shoulder of women ? Is not it ridiculous when girls (after puberty) are abruptly told to stay away from worship as they become 'suddenly impure', for a couple of days, every month (due to a physiological process) & after those few days, they become 'pure all at once' ? Is the definition of decency so easy ? Though based on necromancy, 'Ek Thi Dayaan' underlines such spurious beliefs on womenfolks, in it's own way Despite being a supernatural thriller, this flick won't disappoint you as it ambiguously eulogizes that thought of Ayn Rand: "There are two sides to every issue..One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil..."
Review By: Dipashri Bardhan,
New Delhi, India
Please visit http://iamalekhya.blogspot.in/
'EK THI DAAYAN' is an effective horror show!
Well written and deftly handled, this film is engaging, scary and consistently sane till the climax, quite unlike others in this genre. However, with a disappointingly doltish culmination, it undoes a lot of the good work done till then.
The story follows Bobo (Emraan Hashmi), India's leading magician. But unknown to even his girlfriend, Tamara (Huma Qureshi), Bobos life is falling apart. His constant hallucinations leave him with no option but to seek psychiatric help. Going through regression hypnosis, a terrifying story about his childhood surfaces, involving an ominous power called 'Daayan', who has not only destroyed his family but also promised to return to haunt Bobo. He chooses to ignore it and move on with his life. But just when his career and love life are at full throttle, enters the irresistible Lisa Dutt (Kalki Koechlin), who gives Bobo all reasons to believe that she is the 'Daayan'. What follows then is a series of thrilling manifestations and scary events.
With a subject such as this, director Kannan Iyer, along with writers Vishal Bhardwaj and Mukul Sharma, have walked a tightrope, trying to avoid both insanity as well as the risk of ending up making a B-Movie. Eventually, I believe, they've almost succeeded in achieving what they set out for. They sure have crafted the whole plot wisely and never do you feel it entering the territory of a stupid third-rater. Yes the production values aren't of the highest quality, and leave a lot to be desired on the visual front, yet it makes up for it with a smart and engrossing screenplay. Every supernatural depiction is preceded by some logical cause, which if not entirely, mostly makes you believe the consequence. It's genuinely scary and never tries to alarm you with cheap thrills.
There certainly are moments that draw disbelief, but aren't bothersome, as there ought to be something left to your imagination and interpretation. However, the end, as I mentioned earlier, is a huge disappointment. Neither does the suspense really shock you nor do the happenings after that impress you. Sadly, it abandons the psychological and moves to the physical, resembling the climax of every other unintelligent horror film. The background score is seamlessly blended, and the songs aren't obstructive in any which way.
The performances are really telling. Emraan Hashmi is getting better with each film, and with this act he surely is closer to natural than ever before. Huma Qureshi is first rate too. Nothing in her act seems contrived and her screen presence is impressive too. Konkona Sen Sharma is once again brilliant with her performance and comfortably provides the chills her character is meant to induce. Kalki Koechlin has a relatively small role, but is vivid and adept with her performance. All others, especially the boy playing the young Emraan Hashmi, perform really swell.
In all, EK THI DAAYAN is very original, scary, convincing (except for the apogee) and a well-crafted horror film that totally deserves to be seen.
"..and the chivalrous prince dives down to the bed of the ocean to find
the blue fish with a burning red eye.After battling with sharks he
could reach to the infamous fish and split its belly with his rugged
sword.Thus the deadly power of the monster stored in the fish's belly
comes to an exhilarating end.."As a child we often heard such folklore
from our grandparents.With rich heritage of folklore & myths,I used to
wonder why Hindi cinema don't explore those terrains while our foreign
counterparts have given a whole new dimension to the werewolves and
vampires straight out of the folklore of the west.Without broadening
the horizon the bollywood film-makers played safe by doing monotonous
horror films repeating similar structure(& often stories).Here comes a
film that breaks the predefined norms.
Based on a short story by literary laureate Mukul Sharma(Happens to be Konkona's father),talented Vishal Bhardwaj adapts that for a full length film.ETD is a folklore set in urban Indian city.The story is about a famous magician Bobo who is disturbed by his dark,unexplainable,transcendental childhood memories which haunts him often.At a tender age of 11 he read a book on devils & daayans(Witches) which explored the age-old believes on daayans such as the power lies trapped in their "choti"(long braided hair),they need to sacrifice a human child to regain their strength etc. Imbibing those believes the adventurous young mind comes to the conclusion that every building has its own hell & the by pressing "666"(code to hell) the lift will take you there.Nurturing such believes he & his sister meets their new governess Diana whom they presumed to be a witch and has come from the hell of their building.Gradually few uncanny incidences followed by the death of his sister and father further strengthens his believes. Even years after these incidents, images of the past haunts him as he lives in dilemma about the existence of such occult forces.
Debutant director Kannan Iyer got ample support from producer Vishal Bhardwaj as was evident from the dark frames used,which are trademark of Vishal.The film opens with shadowy blue & black frames with Rekha Bhardwaj rendering her voice to the infesting, creepy "Lautungi Mein" which sets the mood of the film.Bhardwaj's screenplay is taut & we are straight away introduced to Bobo's problems in life.With Bobo being hypnotized back to his childhood the audience is in for some creepy ride.With sharp editing by veteran ShreekarPrasad & tilted camera angles by SaurabhGoswami (few long shot to substantiate the lonely creepy feel) did the trick.ClintonCerejo's background score set the atmosphere perfectly.Kudos to Iyer for the extra effort he invested in setting each & every props at Bobo's place and psychiatrist Dr RanjanPalit's chamber. It is one of the rare Hindi films that doesn't use any gimmicks to scare but resorts to characterization & atmosphere to bring out the spooky element which lingers long after the film gets over.The film keeps a realistic feel even within its surreal limitations.The dialogs add in to the proceedings with age-old myths seamlessly getting merged into urban existence. Bhardwaj-Gulzar combo again succeeds in bringing a winning track which complements the narrative."Lautungi Mein" reminds the yesteryears songs from Mahal,Gumnam & with semi-classical tone evokes a earthy horror feeling."Yaaram" is a brilliant composition & these proceedings following the song sequence accelerates the speed towards the somewhat bizarre climax.
Till the climax I was mumbling to myself that ETD is indeed a classic but then cliché final confrontation reminded me of those run-of-the-mills Vikram Bhatt films which made me ponder what would have forced Kannan Iyer to cater to the gallery at the penultimate sequence.The good-versus-evil finale looked misfit in otherwise smart film.Also the big twist at the end could have been foreseen in the first half itself.
Iyer had the opportunity to work with the finest talents in Bollywood & it paid-off successfully.The actresses in the film had made a striking impression especially Konkona(Diana).The role offered her was something which is diametrically opposite to what she had been doing till now & she did complete justice to it.The role will be long talked about in years to come.Huma Qureshi showed her potential with GOW, LSTCK and she continues to impress in this film too.With perfect blend of good looks & talents she will be the one to watch out for in near future.Kalki Koechlin is always dependent & there is no aberration here.Being introduced post-interval her character breaks the monotony of the narrative & brought in fresh angles to the quest to find the 'original' witch.It is heartening to see talented veteran actor Pawan Malhotra, in a meaty role of Emraan's geeky professor father.He exudes the right emotions making the character expressive.Rajatava Datta(a fine actor & a big name in Bengali cinema)excels as Dr Palit,the psychiatrist,who is suppose to act most rational,seems confused about his believes in myths of witches & is as eager to learn the truth.Visshesh Tiwari is marvelous as young Bobo.His histrionics were flawless-an excellent actor in the making.The child actress who played bebo's sister had the charm and innocence to hook the audience to the screen. .And the leading man Emraan Hashmi who has been criticized by critics for his choice of roles till he bounced back with "Dirty Picture",'Shanghai","Ek th daayan" (& now upcoming "Ghanchakkar").In each of the films he explored varied characters & wooed us with his acting abilities.As psychologically disturbed Bobo with a haunting puzzling past Emraan grasped the nuances of the character & delivered a top-notch performance.
ETD is a great attempt in Hindi celluloid albeit a mediocre climax.The entire team should be applauded for the effort to concatenate ancient myths with modern existence & deliver a hardcore entertaining creepy horror film.Good to see concepts like folklore,zombies are explored thus giving us break from the bland taste of formula based Hindi movies.
P.S:For all horror lovers do watch the 2012 Tamil film "Pizza" which is a landmark in this genre for its execution & novelty.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Ek Thi Daayan' is probably the first psychological horror film I have seen recently that is subtle and deftly handled and at the same has an intriguing story that manages to grip viewers for 2 hrs 15 min effortlessly. The initial twenty minutes of the film makes you wonder whether the film really has a well bound script or not because the introductory sequence of Bobo the magician (Emraan)is far from unique and visually appealing.Such sequences have been seen a dime a dozen before. However, no sooner does Bobo start looking back at his past through hypnosis than we see what a beautifully crafted film this is!In his past, we are introduced to his father,sister, and a mysterious saree clad woman with murderous hazel eyes Lisa Dutt who young Bobo thinks is a Daayan. His suspicions are confirmed when the Daayan murders his kid sister while playing a deathly game of hide & seek. The Daayan promises to return. Till interval this flashback is almost flawless. Post interval, Bobo settles down with his girlfriend Tamara and adopts a boy Zubin. History plans to repeat itself with the advent of the Daayan again in another form, but the question is-who is the Daayan? Bobo's suspicions are aroused when another Lisa Dutt enters his life. Till his quest is on for the Daayan, Bobo's journey is memorable and unique. However, when the Daayan is finally revealed in the climax, I am shocked but nevertheless disappointed due to the over-dramatization which wasn't required. Kannan Iyer makes a confident directorial debut. Emraan as Bobo is suitable for the role and does well. Konkona Sen Sharma deserves a standing ovation for her dynamic portrayal of Diana and this movie belongs to her. Kalki Koechlin surprisingly had a half baked character and didn't get much screen time but nevertheless was very natural and effective in her portrayal. Huma Qureshi looks stunning and she does splendidly as Bobo's girlfriend Tamara. However, she does not do justice to her best scene in the film where she could have proved her versatility. Overall this is a deliciously stark film which satisfies my appetite for a visual treat at the cinemas!
I saw the first show of Ek Thi Daayan in Dubai yesterday. It was one of
the most ingenuous horror movies that I have watched in a while.
The movie is based on the concept of witchcraft and has been dealt in a deft and creepy manner. While there are many things that stand out in the movie, some of the prominent ones are - Konkona Sen's creepy characterization, Junior Emraan's innocence and mannerisms and above all, the mind blowing climax.
The movie starts with the protagonist, a magician who fails in an act and injures his colleague. There are visions that occur to him, which seem unusual for a while in the movie but as the movie unravels, everything makes sense. To say anything more about the movie would be to spoil the enjoyment. I would actively recommend it to every Horror lover.
I was eagerly waiting for Ek Thi Dayaan since last one month and had to
struggle to watch it on Friday night in a Multiplex in Mumbai after
clearing a hectic schedule of prior commitments. Well, it was a sense
of relief as the film didn't disappointed me. So go ahead and read it
to decide if you want to watch this movie or not.
Emraan Hashmi, Bobo, the magician is in a live-in relationship with Tamra, a beautiful girl played by Huma Qureshi. He has a wonderful life as he is a successful magician, has a beautiful girlfriend and the couple want to adopt a lovable orphan kid. But wait; there is a haunting past which keeps knocking every now and then in front of Bobo as he remembers his childhood life; when he had an adorable father, a sweet little sister and his step mom Diana whom he hated her.
The story swings between Psychological Thriller, Paranormal and Supernatural situations forcing the audience to keep guessing on what lies behind the spooky events that unfolds every now and then in the film.
The events no doubt are scary and chill the bottom of your seat and even force you to jump out of your seat once or twice. The scenes where he thinks that the lift of his building goes to the hell where all the creepy people of his building who did sins in their life now stay in the hell of the building after their death scares you like hell. The mystery behind spotting a witch through the help of a book on Witches makes you think whether the witches are a reality. After a long time I get to see the right kind of haunting cinema from the Bollywood which is different from the usual Vikram Bhatt movies.
Enters a psychiatrist who had counseled Bobo earlier and then he hypnotizes him to go back to his past and reveal on how his father and his sister died. But the beauty of this revelation lies in the fact that whether this is a real revelation or just a story cooked up the disturbed mind of the magician Bobo. His fiancée Tamra, with whom he gets married forces him to sell his old flat where he stayed as a kid to another character by the name Lisa Dutt played by Kalki Koechlin. There is a mystery around the character Lisa Dutt and Emraan Hashmi goes on to unlock this mystery.
This is where the film loosens a bit and the climax goes on to follow a typical Vikram Bhatt or Ramsey style cinema.
Emraan Hashmi has matured as an actor and has a proved screen presence. Huma Qureshi is bold, sensuous and acts well. She is one actor who will go a long way in Bollywood. Konkana Sen Sharma as the Stepmother does well in her Grey shades. The supporting cast played by Pawan Malhotra who plays the father of Emraan Hashmi also plays his part well. I really liked the role of Psychiatrist played by Rajatava Dutta and of younger Emraan Hashmi played by Vishesh Tiwari.
Kannan Iyer as the débutant director gets a thumbs up as he tries to break away from the typical thriller and horror movies that are being made in Bollywood. He manages to scare his audience and entertain as well. The script and screenplay is good and Vishal Bhardwaj stands up to his name. Not to forget we get to see the magic of Gulzaar Saab lyrics again as we can't stop hearing, humming and appreciating the song "Yaaram" from the movie.
Overall, the movie is a good watch and takes you on a drive to the mystery world of witches, hell, hallucination and horror.
Good work done by KANNAN IYER.and well written by Vishal Bhardwaj.The
story is like our childhood's witch tail told by many many times but
the presentation is good.In the first half of movie you will see an
very good combination of DRAMA,HORROR and ACTING.Imraan Hasmi (Beejoy
Sharad Mathur a Magician aka BOBO) and Konkana Sen Sharma did justice
to their roles.Some very good magic tricks are also watchful. When
Gulzaar and Vishal Bhardwaj come together results a very good music
album.Song "TOTE UD GAYE" and "KALI KALI AANKHON KA" are
awesome,overall a good music.
Second half of movie is an un-necessary twist,in fact movie should end in first half itself.you will see nothing new happening in second half yet you can watch it for twist and happy ending like always happen in Hindi cinema.
Overall somebody telling witch's story in Hindi cinema first time with very good background music,with very good songs but with an very ordinary climax.
When two diverse personalities such as Ekta Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj
(along with Gulzar) join hands together to produce a horror film based
on 'Witchcraft', then its got to be something out of the ordinary and
special. Thankfully EK THI DAAYAN largely passes this expectations test
as far as the novelty factor is concerned. Yet it falls short of being
a thoroughly enjoyable entertainer due to an uninspiring finale,
ruining the fine build up & suspense element continuing in its second
Beginning on a shaky note, the film soon starts delivering some well directed, stunning sequences once the flashback is there with two innocent kids portraying their characters superbly. The child actors particularly the boy, Vishesh Tiwari, keep you hooked on to the screen till the intermission and one feels like witnessing a fairly engaging tale with something new to offer, talking about witches & magic instead of ugly ghosts and cruel betrayals. Post interval the grown-ups take up from the innocent performers like a relay race and continue coming up with some fresh interesting insertions like Kalki. But sadly as it all starts heading towards the end, ETD fails to raise the bar further and finishes on the same familiar notes without making any kind of shocking impact on the viewer as seen in its first half.
In straight words, ETD is one of those films which both starts and ends on a sour note but surely has got the content which is much ahead then all those clichéd Vikram Bhatt horror films, repeatedly made for a certain section of viewers, quite regularly. In fact this is not a horror film in the typical sense but a fine script based on a 'Supernatural Theme' related with witches coming back after decades in a leap year to strengthen their individual powers. Therefore as its first merit, you have a new subject here in an Indian mainstream film which can easily be rated as one of the most original ones tried rarely in Hindi cinema till date. Incidentally one might recall MAKDEE, which was again a Vishal Bhardwaj (Children) film released in 2002 revolving around the myth spread among the villagers about a scary mansion. But since Vishal is the producer here in ETD too, so it clearly suggests that the talented soul does have a personal liking towards this unusual subject of witches for sure.
The second highlight of the film remains its performances wherein the 3 ladies score the most after the child actors. Konkona Sen Sharma excels in the first half and Huma Qureshi does the same in the second. Kalki Koechlin plays her short role well post interval and Emraan Hashmi is just fine playing the common male related to all the three. Though he doesn't get much scope to show his skills here, but his choice of scripts strongly indicates that he has now rightly understood the importance of new subjects very well. Supporting him, Rajatava Dutta as the doctor impresses andPavan Malhotra once again showcases his underrated talent playing the unaware father.
Music in a Vishal-Gulzar film has to live up to its reputation and that's exactly what can be said about the songs of ETD too. Though as usual the tracks are all forcibly inserted into the narration, still one enjoys watching "Kaali Kaali" (for the romance) and "Totey Ud Gaye" (for the dance) providing the casual relief moments. However "Yaaram", despite being good, hinders the pace of the movie, which could have been avoided. The DOP tries to maintain the mood of the film throughout, mixing the dark frames with the lighted ones. But in the process makes it mostly dark which becomes annoying at times. Background score deserves a special mention here for its innovative tones but the same words cannot be used for its special effects department, sadly.
In all ETD mainly impresses due to its inventive & original subject, adapted by the debutant director Kannan Iyer, who confidently proves that he has got the talent to deliver a perfect entertainer soon. The film steps on to the next level with its enjoyable performances & screenplay but could have been a real killer with a different culmination providing the missing shock. Its final moments did remind me of a scary masterpiece ROSEMAY'S BABY directed by Roman Polanski in the late sixties. And with a more imaginative climax it surely could have become an attempt to be the ROSEMARY's BABY of Indian Cinema, arguably.
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