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Amavas Movie Review: Never Judge A Bhoot By Its Kabr

Subhash K . Jha

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Amavas

Starring:  Sachiin Joshi, Nargis Fakhri, Mona Singh, Asgar Ali , Vivan Bhatena

Directed  by Bhushan Patel

Rating: *** ½

 The immovable tropes  of  the horror genre in  Bollywood, move!  Well,  somewhat.  For  a  very long time I watched Amavas with  growing apprehension that  it won’t move beyond the  known terror tactics. You know,  the  creaky doors, clanging bells,  corpses banging from down under, women in  negligible  negligees running for their lives.

Death is indeed a ‘grave’  matter in Hindi horror, what with the graveyard  being a favourite haunt of  horror.  Amavas doesn’t visit  any graveyard but  a grave plays an  important  part in the rites  of exorcism. The film  presses  all the right buttons,  ticks all the   boxes.

 Sachiin Joshi (who also  produces  the film) and  Nargis Fakhri are a couple facing some  problems because…well, he  hears things. You know,  like  a schizophrenic.But don’t panic. He is seeing a shrink. Mona Singh as the resident  psychiatrist(she has only one patient, and the paycheck , if  that patient is Sachiin Joshi , is enough to  pay  all her bills, and then some more) gives  the  most credible  performance in a  shiver giver that has more meat towards the  end than the genre generally  permits.

 For most of  the  film, Joshi and Fakhri  look  very unhappy with one  another. Before perceptive critics jump in  with cries  of ‘no chemistry’ let me hasten  to  point out that a crisis from the horror  hemisphere  comes tumbling out  only when there  is  tension  between the lead pair.Don’t ask my why .It’s just one of those  ghostly things that people make up as life gets boring. For example, in this film  a girl named  Maya(Navneet KaurDhillon) who thinks it’s fun to wear  masks of her  friends’ faces   and scare people,  informs us that women should  not comb  their hair in  the  night as this  invites  ghostly visits.

 Imagine the  number of women who get  night  visitors  if that were true!  Amavas fuses  rationale  with   a cornucopia  of  cock-and-bull. The synthesis actually generates some fine horror of the  skin-jump kind.If you  like films where a ghoulish apparition with a face that resembles  Donald Trump  after he hasn’t slept  for two  nights hunts down cowering  women  trying to hide in  religious  shelter-zones, then this  is  the  one for you.

Hari Om. And  don’t bother to  hurry home.  Amavas shot in scenic Europe(I specially liked  a romantic duet in dreamy Venice) takes its time to   unravel its chilling karma.

While Nargis Fakhri’s dubbing seems to have been  undertaken by  the same  voice that does all the  Sunny Leone films(the voice that sounds like  a yankee drawl drawn into a provincial brawl) Sachiin Joshi and  Vivan Bhatena  negotiate  the man-bann(be  a man) with  a mix of sterile sternness and  resonant  terror.

Ali Asgar who shot to  fame on the Kapil  Sharma  Show, provides the  comic relief. Rather, his prosthetic buck-teeth are meant  to  bring the house down. But the in-house  lady ghost beats the buck-teeth  in creating  distractions. She  strolls around  restlessly like she had  just watched Tumbbad in  a loop.

The climax has Mona Singh and Nargis  Fakhri  speed-running towards a  ghoul’s  grave to  burn  it.

Talk about judging the  bhoot by its kabr!

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