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Bobo is a popular and talented illusionist, but he is haunted by his past. When disturbing hallucinations cause him to become distracted during his stage show, he seeks the help of a psychiatrist. Through hypnosis, he is able to recall suppressed memories of his childhood. In his youth, Bobo suspected the nanny who cared for him and his younger sister to be a Daayan -a demon who practices witchcraft and devil-worship. Now as an adult, Bobo is paranoid that the reincarnated witch is returning for him...Written by
TITLE: An illusive Stratum whirling Belief & Disbelief !!
'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 witches 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) Let 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
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