By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Darna Zaroori Hai"; Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Riteish
Deshmukh, Arjun Rampal, Bipasha Basu, Makarand Deshpande, Anil Kapoor,
Mallika Sherawat, Suniel Shetty, Riteish Deshmukh, Randeep Hooda, Manoj
Pahwa, Rajpal Yadav; Producer: Ram Gopal Varma; Rating: ** 1/2
A demented insurance sales agent (Rajpal Yadav) barges into a
couple's afternoon love-making and creates horrific havoc, a wannabe
actress (Mallika Sherawat) hitches a ride with a hot shot director who
wants to switch from family films to the horror genre, a professor
(Amitabh Bachchan) looks into the mirror to see an eerie
Ram Gopal Varma's film is every bit as scary as you want it to be.
There are chunks when you fall off your seat. Elsewhere the doddering
ghoul material topples over under the weight of grim pointlessness.
Fortunately the scare-snare is laid out with loads of
tongue-in-cheek Hitchcockian humour...For example, the fat man in Sajid
Khan's story watches "Darna Manaa Hai" in an empty theatre....
Ram Gopal's scare fest could've been far more frightening if it had
not tried to pack in so many stories into one scoop of eye-scream.
Devil knows there're elements of genuine horror in the presentation.
Apparent ghosts turn out to be human beings, while apparent human
beings turn into ghouls before the final fadeout of each short story.
The sense of ongoing ambiguity is the narrative's main asset.
The pick of the lot is the Mallika Sherawat-Anil Kapoor story
(directed by Jiji Philips who directed Anil in the whodunit "My Wife's
Murder" some time ago). Anil is a hotshot director called Karan Kapoor
(??) who picks up a sexy hitch-hiker (Mallika). The girl plays mind
games with Anil all the way to Khandala. This segment is funny and
scary. And also rather tragic.
Two of the stories end with their protagonists, Manoj Pahwa and Anil
Kapoor, dying of heart failure after being scared by pseudo-ghosts.
Just goes to show, shiver at your own risk.
Humour in fact runs through all the stories. Whether it's the
furiously tongue-in-cheek prelude directed by Sajid Khan where a fat
man (Manoj Pahwa) gorges his way through a screening of Ram Gopal
Varma's "Darna Manaa Hai", then is scared out of his life in a
Even the Bipasha-Arjun episode (the two look so well-matched
together) has its moments of mirth. But the ghoulish element - the
raison d'etre for these stories - get way out of hand with kids
dropping dead as an old woman sits them down to tell them stories. Kids
getting bumped off isn't fun. Horror films are at the end of the day
(or night) meant to assuage your fear of the unknown.
What the film's seven directors do is to bring a kind of compulsive
cohesiveness to the tale of the unknown. Lamentably the segment
directed by Ram Gopal Varma featuring the mighty Bachchan falls
short... and hardest. Though Riteish Deshmukh stands up admirably well
to the formidable competition.
Many of the other actors surprise you by their presence... Bipasha's
smouldering sensuality, Randeep Hooda's startling intensity (as a man
possessed), Rajpal Yadav's manic portrayal of working-class dementia,
and of course Mr Bachchan as a man who imagines he's being stalked by
an invisible entity.
At the end of the scare fest you're looking at a film with a
profusion of talent. But not enough proof of the talent's
Bollywood.com Rating: 2