Parnashavarir Shaap, Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s maiden web series as director for Hoichoi, is a horror mystery that keeps you more or less hooked through its entire runtime.
The story follows four friends — Amiyo (Gaurav Chakrabarty), Mitul (Surangana Bandyopadhyay), Titas (Anindita Bose) and Pallav (Arna Mukhopadhyay) — whose vacation in Darjeeling takes a sinister turn after a chance encounter with an ancient relic. Mitul is possessed by an evil spirit and begins harming herself. A series of mysterious deaths in the quaint hilltown also raises eyebrows.
Amiyo seeks the help of occult specialist Nirendranath Bhaduri, popularly known as Bhaduri Moshai (played by Chiranjeet Chakraborty), to help save Mitul. Using his powers, Bhaduri Moshai discovers that someone must have offered a human sacrifice to Devi Parnashavari, the goddess of nature, unleashing her destructive powers. Thus begins a hunt for the culprits, which leads to a spilling of secrets from the past.
In his OTT debut, Chiranjeet pulls off the look and charisma of someone who specialises in occult practices and can be depended upon to resolve the matter. He might remind you of the charm of characters like Ed and Lorraine Warren from the Conjuring Universe.
Parambrata efficiently introduces the main characters and their backstories, avoiding detours and jumping straight into the subject of possession and its subsequent exposition. There are comical moments to give a breather from the tension while exploring themes of superstition, faith, injustice and greed, adding a humane touch to the supernatural tale. Prosenjit Chowdhury’s cinematography captures the eerie feel of the hills with the forests, foggy terrains and ever-changing weather.
A standout element of Parnashavarir Shaap is its soundscape, crafted by sound designer Adeep Singh Manki and sound mixer Tanmoy Saha. The bass-heavy sounds, including chanting, create a sense of otherworldliness. Watching the film with earphones or a good sound system is highly recommended.