Friday, April 16, 2004

Krishna Cottage 

By watching B horror flicks from Hollywood, our directors have picked up all the external trappings of the genre, but still don’t know how to use them intelligently.

Horror does not mean that the screen is semi dark all the time, or that the camera never stays still, the soundtrack screeches and thuds hysterically non-stop, and storms arrive any time and out of season! Even in the illogical standards of the horror film, there has to be a certain logic.

In Krishna Cottage, by director Santram Verma (moving from TV to big screen), there are just too many whys and hows left unanswered. Like why do all the characters in the film live alone in huge, eerie housed? Why is the college campus in the film used like a railway station where students traipse in and out at any time of the day or night? Why do characters never run out of the house or towards a crowd when in danger, but stand around waiting to be killed or run into dark jungles? How come a ghost drives a car and gets admission into a college? If a book kills whoever reads it, why isn’t it destroyed to begin with? There’s more, but the questions will give away the suspense, such as it is!

Manav (Sohail Khan) and Shanti (Natassha), are getting engaged while still in college—though they and all their friends look like they should have graduated many years ago! Trouble arrives in the form of new student Disha (Isha Koppikar), who seems to have an inexplicable hold over Manav, which drives Shanti insane with jealousy.

Bizarre things happen when Disha is around— chandeliers falls, a car crashes into an ice wall that appears at the end of a tunnel, car tyres explode, spooks appear in a deserted house. The spirit causing all this havoc turns increasingly malevolent, and a tantric Sunita Menon (Rati Agnihotri) attaches herself to the group to protect them, muttering mantras under her breath.
The climax is predictable, though not quite convincing.

In such a film, visual and sound effects take precedence over script and performance. All the actors are required to do is look
suitably terrified; the girls have also to scream and weep.

Some scenes are well shot, some of the special effects are also good, Anu Malik’s music is very hummable (specially the Bindaas and Bepanah pyar numbers), but the film is still tough to sit through, despite its relatively short running time.


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