Starring Adil Hussain, Sandhya Mridul, RajshreeDeshpande
Written & Directed by Vijay Jayapal
An expectably polished performance from Adil Hussain, which conveys deep echoes of Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining, cannot salvage this weak atmospheric eerie misfire about an Assamese boatman serving a ‘debt’ sentence in the chilling tranquility of Manali.
Once we get to know that the guests arriving at the inn are not what they seem to be, the narrative merely seems to be making all the noises that we associate with a ‘classy’ horror film. Some of it, like a very well-shot ‘grief’ encounter between the boatman-turned-watchman Jogi and a mysterious woman(Rajshri Deshpande, trying to inject some sense into her illogical role) at the inn shot in a tight corner of a cottage conveys a building pressure.
Alas, such scattered moments do not add up to anything substantially intriguing let alone scary. Writer-director Vijay Jayapal plays it by numbers: a man in traditional Assamese mask roams the Manali forests, a secret drawer in a cupboard that just won’t open, sounds of animals pounding against the roof in the dead of the night….what does it all mean? Does randomness in afterlife have to be conveyed in screen with such convenient randomness?
Some of the intended horror turns out to be unintentionally funny. Sandhya Mridul who seems to be the only normal character around, soon begins to act strange. Her eyes turn zombie like and she seems to be doing a poor replica of the walking dead.There is even a shared kiss with another woman. No idea why the two women were suddenly kissing. Probably just got bored.
Holding on stoutly and preventing the wobbly boat from capsizing is the ever-dependable Adil Hussain. From his impeccable Assamese accent to that elegant Bhaonadance(again , brought in just to be exotic) distant haunted stricken look in his eyes… Adil’s performance conveys a lot more than the script had bargained for.With a bit more care polish and fleshing out of characters , and a bit less randomness in the writing , Nirvana Inn could actually have amounted to something relevant in the sadly neglected genre of Horror in Indian cinema.