Phobia movie review: A psychological thriller that will leave you petrified

Radhika Apte's expressions are flawless and tends to leave the audience wide-eyed and in awe of her performance.

Director: Pavan Kripalani

Cast: Radhika Apte, Satyadeep Mishra, Ankur Vikal, Yashaswini Dayama

Have you ever seen a person suffering from acrophobia? Well, if not in real life, you would have surely seen one on-screen. Remember 1993 cult film ‘Damini’ that starred Meenakshi Seshadri? The story takes form when an unfortunate incident (where she sees a girl being raped) changes her life forever. She is even deemed mentally ill by the lawyer played by late Amrish Puri. The subject of Director Pavan Kripalani’s Phobia deals with the issue where a person has an extreme or irrational fear that causes panic attacks and keeps the person away from their loved ones.

Mahek Rao (Radhika Apte), an artist by profession, suffers from acrophobia. One of her symptoms portrayed in the film is an intense and irrational fear of the things around her. Her boyfriend Shaan (Satyadeep Mishra) and sister played by Nivedita Bhattacharya, come to rescue her and take Mahek to a therapist but to no avail. Soon after, Shaan shifts Mahek into his friend’s apartment where she starts living alone to overcome her phobia. Later, Mahek discovers that her ex-flatmate Jiah, was brutally killed by her neighbour Manu (Ankur Vikal) who still lives next door. With the help of another neighbour Nikki (Yashasvini Dayama), the two set out on a mission to find out the truth behind the murder, but there is a shocking twist to the story to the story that will surprise you.

Directed by Pavan Kripalani, ‘Phobia’ has all the elements of a psycho-thriller, enough to leave you second guessing everything, but it tends loses grip in a few scenes. Keeping in mind that his previous flick ‘Ragini MMS’ (inspired from the Hollywood flick Paranormal Activity), managed to send shivers down your spine; ‘Phobia’ is a sincere effort at making a ‘psycho flick’ with a chilling storyline. One might get a sense of dejavu while watching this film, as certain scenes are strikingly similar to the film ‘100 Days’ where Madhuri Dixit could foresee things which will happen to her in the near future and Ramgopal Varma’s thriller ‘Kaun’ featuring Urmila Matondkar who lives alone in a bungalow and turned out to be a psycho killer.

Screenplay by Pavan Kripalani and Arun Sukumar is slightly slow in the first half, but has enough to keep you glued to your seat till the last frame. Dialogues by Pooja Ladha Surti are woven nicely with the psychology of a girl who is dealing with acrophobia. The background score is commendable. The VFX and makeup is good, especially in one scene where her finger gets cut off and Satyadeep keeps in the ice box to preserve it.

The film’s ‘chill factor’ rests on the shoulders of Radhika Apte, who’s expressions are flawless and tends to leave the audience wide-eyed and in awe of her performance. Her act in the climax which leads to a bloodbath shakes you to the bone. Her no make up look is just perfect and is close to the reality. Satyadeep Mishra has done a fabulous job as a friend cum admirer in the film. The pain he feels for Radhika’s character is believable. Supporting cast Nivedita Bhattacharya, Yashaswini Damaya and Ankur Vikal, have all done justice to their respective roles.

Pavan Kripalani’s ‘Phobia’ is a good pick this week unless such psycho thrillers are not your cup of tea.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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