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Monday , March 22 , 2010
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No chill, no thrill

Six reasons why Shaapit is a horror fest — and we don’t mean that in a good way...

1) It just doesn’t end! One needs to take a page out of Hollywood and know that for maximum chills, the thrills and spills should come thick and come fast. But at two hours and 25 minutes, Shaapit just goes on and on and on… From a haunted library to a dilapidated movie hall to an ancient jail to a museum to a palace, the viewer is taken on an agonisingly long journey that is interesting to begin with, but ends up being a huge bore. The reason for this meaningless cross-country ride? Aman (Aditya Narayan) can’t marry ladylove Kaaya (Shweta Agarwal) because for the last 300 years, her family has been under a curse that doesn’t allow its girls to marry. Instead of calling it quits and going their separate ways, the couple decide to seek out the buri aatma and end the curse so that they can marry. They obviously haven’t ever heard of living in!

2) From Aman who goes on and on about how much he loves Kaaya to Kaaya who goes on and on about how much she loves Aman, everyone here simply loves the sound of their voice. At the top of the heap is Professor Pashupati (Rahul Dev), a paranormal expert who goes on and on about bhoot pret and bhatakti aatma, so much so that you almost feel like giving a two thumbs up to the evil spirit when it finally bumps off the Prof!

3) There’s too much mumbo-jumbo about curses and spirits, about exorcism and avenging souls. Director Vikram Bhatt does try an X-Files by hurling terms like psychometry and parapsychology here and there, but in the end it’s good ol’ Indian tantra-mantra that makes the spirit beat a hasty retreat. And it just doesn’t end there — a soul who talks through a telephone, a spirit that gets ‘trapped’ in the pages of a medical journal (yes, you read that right) and a bathtub through which one can time travel, Shaapit has it all.

4) The 18th century backstory, which takes up a substantial portion of the film, makes you happy that you aren’t living in that era. From the clothes to the Arabian item number (yes, they had a Rakhi Sawant back then too), it all screams tacky.

5) If nothing else scares you, the acting in Shaapit sure will. Shweta Agarwal looks and acts the same — when she is in coma and when she is not while Rahul Dev gets on one’s nerves after a point. To be fair, Aditya Narayan does have screen presence, but tends to overdo it in the enthusiasm of his first film. And that gummy smile does remind one of Aftab Shivdasani — scary!

6) The death knell? The corny dialogues. What does Professor Pashupati get after a spirit takes possession of his body? “Sir, aap theek toh hai na?” And our personal favourite — when Aman sees a ghost in a photograph at Shweta’s birthday party, he asks innocently: “Yeh bhoot party mein kya kar rahi thi?”

Stay away.

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