Huma Qureshi, Saqib Saleem, Adil Hussain, Lisa Ray, Rhea Chakraborthy, Madalina Bellabriu Ion
Disclaimer: reviewer is extremely petrified of the horror genre. While it makes her the perfect audience, she is a little wary when it comes to discussing the technical nitty-gritties. With that off my chest, I am about to subject myself to the horror of reliving, DOBAARA ‘once again’.
The makers of the film already told us that they are making Mike Flanagan’s OCULUS. They were well aware that there is a chance that the member of the audience has already seen the Hollywood flick and are sitting there to see if the Indians have matched up to the standards. The fact that they are prepared, shows! DOBAARA makes you forget you have already known the gist of the story, while it makes minor adjustments to the script to acclimatize it to the Indian marquee.
DOBAARA starts with siblings Natasha (Huma Qureshi) and Kabir (Saqib Saleem) pulling cards against each other. The manner in which the two siblings are throwing the others’ deepest, darkest secrets in their faces and using it to get around to doing what they want can be deceptively casual. You tend to overlook the depth of depravity of innocence from their childhood. Suddenly, you are back with them in their past, a comfortable looking house, inadvertently looking rather intently at all the mirrors around (simply because we have seen OCULUS, other wise Raman doesn’t give away the story). Natasha is convinced that the fateful night when their lives turned upside down has something to do with the mirror in their house. Through her anxiety we are made to understand that there are a lot of gaps between their once happy childhood turning into a nightmare! What is it that turned their father, Alex (Adil Hussain) to give into an ‘extra-marital affair’? What was going on in the mind of their mother Lisa (Lisa Ray) while she tried in vain to protect her children? Did little Kabir really kill his father or was there more to it than meets the eye.
While Natasha has made up her mind, Kabir still has been able to look at that night objectively. Yet, they are back at the house wanting to destroy the mirror. The only problem in the seemingly perfect plan is that the mirror doesn’t want to be destroyed. What happens is a series of horrifying events that leave you scared, very scared! Given that Oculus’s Mike Flanagan is the executive producer of the film, tells you that the makers of the film have left no stone unturned to make the film befitting its Hollywood original. Cinematographer Anuj Dhawan does need a special mention simply because he has kept a rather casual, cosy even, room and turned it into a grotesque scenario at the blink of an eye. It is amazing, the way he has worked on the visuals of the film. His support to Raman does make a huge difference.
Which brings us to the key players of DOBAARA, the actors - Raman had some of the best actors at work (sans Lisa Ray, who like always was only added to the film for her looks it seems) he could have made something much more terrifyingly grand in this film. There are moments which are predictable which spells doom for a horror film. Adil and his transformation as a person is a must see, as his Saqib’s acting. Huma seems confused at times, she cannot decide if she wants to look gorgeous or scared! But those are just a few times here and there, otherwise she delivers a decent performance. With all his trump cards in place, Prawaal Raman has made a good film, but it’s not a great one. Given the canvas they were working on, it disappoints slightly.