Director: Karan Dara
Cast: Ali Fazal, Gurmeet Choudhary, Sapna Pabbi
Rating: 2 stars
Cheesy horror flicks often have a bunch of naïve characters that ignore obvious hints to walk into a trap laid out by an evil spirit. Khamoshiyan may differ a little in that respect, because here the characters waltz their way into a sloppily spun web. They take up rooms in rickety old hotels with no employees and guests but one owner, they accept invitations from total strangers who offer them free stay and wine, indulge in banter with strangers who are mysteriously insightful of their lives, etc. Short of holding out an ID, the demonic forces do everything to make their presence felt, not once raising suspicion from their victims.
It all starts when writer Kabir (Ali Fazal) ventures into the hills to find inspiration for his next novel. He checks himself into an old manor that has all the curious makings of a haunted house and gets friendly with the owner Meera (Sapna Pabbi) who is dressed to the nines at any given hour despite never having any human contact. She is also the only visible person in and around the hotel’s vicinity. The two grow to like each other, but can’t get together because Meera has an ailing husband Jaidev (Gurmeet) who she must attend to – despite her reluctance. Kabir tries to unravel the reasons of his newfound love’s morose existence and in the pursuit, stumbles upon skeletons –literally and figuratively- from her closet.
Gurmeet Chaudhry who makes his Bollywood debut with this film makes an appearance only in the second half and the three, Meera, Kabir and Jaidev sink deep into a paranormal love triangle that often takes comic turns-albeit unintentionally. During this sequence, the film resorts to the classic horror clichés such as swaying curtains, gramophones with a mind of their own, fireplaces that light themselves up etc. Not to forget, people treading into isolated spaces in the darkest hours as if they were in a Disney film where things can never actually get dark. Unlike other Bollywood films however, that turn to exorcism to eliminate the evil, Khamoshiyan turns to some methods that can be best explained by supernatural forces themselves. The demonic force unlike most films, hosts itself not necessarily in a human body, but in animals, zombies and potentially a centaur-like being from a painting. The film is generously sprinkled with logic-defying moments and unnecessary romantic tracks that could actually prove to be a respite given the scattered narrative.
Performances by all three actors are satisfactory with neither deserving a special pat nor pointed criticism. However, the film does offer some shrieks and shocks if you keep aside rational thinking, and if you’re a horror junkie who’s in it only for the chills, you may walk out sufficiently spooked....