An agoraphobic young woman, traumatized by past events, finds herself trapped and terrorized in her own home.An agoraphobic young woman, traumatized by past events, finds herself trapped and terrorized in her own home.An agoraphobic young woman, traumatized by past events, finds herself trapped and terrorized in her own home.
After the opening credits, we see that Mehak has become a nervous wreck consequent to the rape and is being administered Virtual Reality therapy to cure her of Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces). When the therapy makes little progress, Shaan rents out an apartment and moves her there to recover. Rest of the film plays out in the claustrophobic confines of this apartment, whose former tenant, a stewardess named Jiah, has mysteriously vanished into thin air. Spooky things start happening. Mehak's traumatised mind plays tricks on her and the director plays tricks on our mind. There is a black cat and a black spider, both important symbols in case you want to psychoanalyse the film later.
Just when you feel that the director has pulled out all stops and you have sorted out all the conundrums, the film shifts to a different plane. Some extremely subtle hints are dropped, so fleeting that you will miss if you blink. Phobia is an extremely clever film; it is revived miraculously from the precipice of an almost hilarious ending. Director Pawan Kriplani goes for the jugular, just when your muscles were beginning to relax. Radhika Apte more than lives her part. Background score works non-intrusively on the subconscious.
The film ends with a red dot (Bindi?) being applied on Mehak's painting to indicate that it is sold. Phobia works at multiple levels. At the visceral level it is a solid thriller with a potential to wet your pants. But at the psychological level, it makes you think long after you have left the cinema hall.
- May 29, 2016