Cast: Akshay Oberoi, Parvathy Omanakuttan, Dipannita Sharma, Arunoday Singh, Rajesh Sharma, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Hussain Dalal, D. Santosh
Direction: Akshay Akkineni
What a shame that Pizza 3D is Adults Only. There are some teenagers at home I'd love to take to watch the film just so I can spook them out at night by serving them half-eaten pizzas.
Pizza is good. In the scary department it's 4 on 10, and in the cool department it's 6 on 10.
I watched the Tamil original, written and directed by Karthik Subbaraj (2012), without subtitles. According to reports, the remake rights were bought by producer Bejoy Nambiar for Rs 1.5 crore, the actual budget of the original version.
While I’m not able to say right now whether the Tamil film was better than the Bollywood remake, it needs to be noted My Lord that Bollywood has the unique skill of taking everything and anything that is rooted -- characters who have a context and fit naturally in a story -- and uprooting them. End result is that we get synthetic creatures who smell and taste of nothing. In fact, Your Lordship, if these creatures were burnt they’d leave nothing but a dancing plume of white smoke.
These creatures, born and nurtured in Bollywood Bubble, seem to have no feet, no footprint. They have no place of origin, are not affiliated to anything -- class, caste, region -- and simply float from one film to another. The only identity these rent-a-jeans&T-shirt characters have is their gender. Unfortunately, very few of these creatures have the ability to take Bollywood's sketchy stories and claim them. Most remain alien to them.
This, your honour, is my main complaint with Pizza Hindi, as opposed to Pizza Tamil. Otherwise, I rather enjoyed what was served.
Kunal (Akshay Oberoi) is a pizza delivery boy married to Nikki (Parvathy Omanakuttan) who is a struggling ghost story writer. They are hard on cash. To get into the mood of her plots and characters, Nikita has created a spooky atmosphere at home, so we are told. We, however, find the house breezy and very regular. But the spooky atmosphere spooks out Kunal and he often dreams of getting stuck in lifts while delivering pizzas and meeting dead men in pajamas.
He blames his nightmares on Nikki, because bhoots don't exist. She says they do. She's met one, Anjali, her college mate, and says to Kunal, “Wait, your moment will come.”
Next to me someone shuddered.
Kunal is the most unlikely pizza delivery boy. His personality, house and the job does don't gel. Yet here he is, at Slices, delivering pizzas.
One day his boss, Kapoor Saab (Rajesh Sharma), sends him to deliver a box of chocolates to his wife, Priya. She's pregnant and she's possessed. By Anjali. Omkar Das Manikpuri, i.e. Natha from Peepli [Live], hovers around Kapoor Saab, pretending to be a bhoot-pishach baba.
Then Nikki gets pregnant. Kunal and Nikki fight and make up. Kapoor Saab gives Kunal another box of chocolates to deliver to his possessed, pregnant wife. But Kunal has to make a pizza delivery first, to another pregnant woman. The nightmare begins when he says to her, “Ma'am I don't have change.”
Pizza is a delightful bhoot-bhootni thriller that scares us, tricks us, and then reassures us -- bhoots really do exist, you know.
It drops hints of Rosemary's Baby till it isn't what we thought it was. And then it isn't what Nikki and Kunal thought they were dealing with.
Sadly, I don't spook easy. Yet I love horror films. The scarier the better.
Pizza has all the horror paraphernalia -- dead bodies with axe embedded in their heads, little girls with dark circles calling out papa, chaabi-waale eerie toys, doors that slam shut, phones that are dead. Even a red doll. But it’s all restrained, controlled and not hysterical.
All of Pizza’s scary stuff is spiked with humour, and it's easy on special effects.
The screenplay, by Akshay Akkineni, unfortunately, leaves many unanswered questions that render his twist a little forced, fraudulent. Also, there are several moments in the film that left me grappling with mundane questions.
But director Akshay Akkineni more than makes up for his patchy script by his craftsmanship and interesting touches. The film's opening credits, in comic-strip style, are cool. Music by Mikey McCleary is very good, and the background score by K is effective. He doesn't want us to go deaf.
What, however, helps the director the most is Akshay Oberoi. He puts in a well calibrated shudder-and-squirm performance.
Dipannita Sharma and Arunoday Singh, who play Mr and Mrs Bhoot, are good. They didn't scare me though. But those half-eaten slices of pizzas did make me squirm.
Watch the trailer here: