Cast: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajat Kapoor, Rithbhari Chakraborty
The last film Anushka Sharma produced was Phillauri, where she played a displaced ghost, a happy-go-lucky one at that! Despite the tanking of that film, she has boldly gone ahead and produced Pari- Not a Fairy Tale, which happens to be another ghost story, a horror film where she plays the title role.
Her strange fascination for the paranormal themes is the first thing that strikes a curious mind. Some well-crafted promos then stoke the interest further. So how’s film on the big screen?
What’s the plot?
Ridden by guilt over an accident, a quiet nerdy man (Parambrata Chatterjee) lets the accident victim’s lone weird daughter (Anushka Sharma) take shelter in his house. Found shackled by a chain in an isolated hut in the woods, this strange young woman with a deep sense of foreboding somehow finds comfort in the man’s company. The man too, finds himself drawn to her, despite being engaged to another woman (Rithbhari Chakraborty). But unknowingly his actions have unleashed some dark forces, far too powerful and far too complex. Truth, falsehood, loyalty, betrayal, good, evil…now everything will be twisted and tested to the limits!
• For the first 45 minutes, the film works as a moody, atmospheric tale, evoking an eerie sense of mystery and horror.
• The settings, lighting, cinematography and background music are cleverly used to create the supernatural feel.
• Anushka Sharma pulls out all stops to portray a battered, bruised girl with a strange past and a stranger present. A vulnerable vacant persona transforming into a wild, vicious creature in an instant….it is a bold and impressive portrayal.
• Parambrata Chatterjee brings sanity and sensitivity to the storyline with a sincere performance.
• Rajat Kapoor convincingly plays the grey character of a man trying to contain evil through dubious means.
• The standard horror devices are placed well.
• After a fine build-up of the horror theme, the film gets caught up in a dilemma as the director- (and co-writer) Prosit Roy decides to humanize and intellectualize the supernatural. This directorial approach slowly works against the film.
• The film is too lengthy and its pace slackens as it progresses. The demystification and the final resolution stages of the plot are not gripping or convincing. The message that says, ‘Every one of us has evil inside us’ is delivered clumsily.
Horror film genre hasn’t really been exploited well in Bollywood. Barring a handful, the Ramsay-Bhat-RGV-Ekta Kapoor brands of horror flicks have remained stuck in the clichéd conventions and commercial equations. Endowed with some fine performances and technical excellence, Pari had the potential to be a classy spine-chiller, breaking the mould. Unfortunately thanks to a confused approach, it ultimately ends up as yet another dissatisfying addition to the clichéd lot.