Director: Bhushan Patel
Cast: Karan Singh Grover, Bipasha Basu
Rating: 2 stars
If leave-your-brains-at-home comedy is a real thing in Bollywood, then Alone is its horror counterpart. To be fair, it stays true to its genre and can send a few chills down your spine, but in totality, we’re not so sure. A love triangle between a pair of conjoined twins Sanjana and Anjana (played by Bipasha Basu) and Kabir (Karan Singh Grover), Alone is a quintessential Bollywood love story set against a scary background. We use the words ‘quintessential Bollywood’ seriously here, because contrary to what one may expect, the horror film has songs — romantic songs — apart from a hero, heroine and a negative character that wants to pull the two apart.
But let’s get to the core plot — the horror. The film nosedives into the scare story from the first scene — with creaky windows, strong winds and the whole shebang, just in case the rest of the film doesn’t give it away. It follows the story of Sanjana and Kabir, a couple in a big city running away from the ghosts (literally and figuratively) of the past. A phone call however, informing them of an accident that the former’s mother has had, forces them to return to a haunted house in Kerala where Sanjana grew up. Needless to say, the house is situated on a solitary plot that requires one to cross a lake to get to it, and has no semblance of a neighbourhood — just two house helps. While the mother (Neena Gupta) recuperates from a paralytic stroke that keeps her from recounting the accident to anyone, the daughter and her husband walk deeper into a web laid out by Sanjana’s twin Anjana who allegedly died during an operation that was meant to physically separate the two. From there, the film follows a path travelled by most films of the genre. The ambush, the possessed spirits and finally, exorcism.
It all starts when a tarot card reader warns Sanjana that something or someone that she has lost, comes back to her. Why the tarot card reader spread out a pack of playing cards on the table and curiously picked up the queen to predict this particular detail, is something the director Bhushan Patel is best equipped to explain. There’s quite a bit of explanation to do if we’re at it. Like this particular scene where Sanjana’s pet dog Leo, barks at her, sensing some paranormal activity. What was most intriguing about the situation is not the dog’s “super sensory vision” as we’re told in the film, but the presence of the dog in the first place. Having had no role to play in the entire film, he turns up only to abruptly bark at his supposed owner — no questions asked.
After a trying few days that involves the couple struggling to fight the demonic powers with spiritual practices and psychological sessions, the couple is partially successful in getting back to normalcy. Why partially, is something you’d rather watch for yourselves.
Neena Gupta, despite having no dialogues in the film (thanks to the paralysis) except for a few gasps and stunned expressions, delivers the best performance. Karan Singh Grover has for his part as a debutant, delivered a satisfactory performance much like Bipasha, now getting increasingly seasoned in the horror genre.
Overall, the film gives a few thrills and chills that a horror film does, with its eerie background score and more often the impression of an ambush lurking in the crannies. There are however slip-ups that defy logic and continuity of script. So if you’re one that doesn’t care too much for details and are happy teasing your senses with horror tricks and shocks, this leave-your-brains-at-home horror may appeal to you.