Rating: 2/5 stars (Two stars)
Star Cast: Aftab Shivdasani, Tia Bajpai, Vidya Malvade, Sharad Kelkar.
What’s Good: Some of the scares; some songs.
What’s Bad: The brazenly lifted horror scenes; performances; the jarring sounds.
Loo Break: Anytime in the first half.
Watch or Not?: Watch it only if you’re desperate for some uninspiring horror. Give it a rest otherwise.
It’s surprising that almost four decades after it was made, The Exorcist continues not only “inspires” horror filmmakers, but has scenes lifted exactly from it. The very poster of 1920 – Evil Returns reminds you of the classic, and the scenes in the movie attest it further.
The movie begins with Smruti (Tia Bajpai) trapped in her house because of an evil spirit. A servant brings her a blessed mirror that will help her escape the house and reach her lover Jaidev (Aftab Shivdasani) whom she had never seen or met, and who also thinks she is dead. As fate would have it, the evil spirit sabotages her journey and leaves her for dead.
Elsewhere, the loner poet/shayar Jaidev has taken to drinking believing Smruti will never return to his life. While searching for inspiration for his poetry, Jaidev finds Smruti unconscious on a riverbank and brings her home. Smruti has lost her memory and neither does Jaidev recognize her. Jaidev’s sister Karuna (Vidya Malvade) is sceptical of Smruti’s presence in the house and gets even more so when the keeper of the cemetery warns them of an evil spirit in Smruti.
But Jaidev is insistent on keeping Smruti at home since he feels a connection to her. Strange things start happening with Smruti vomiting iron nails and seeing ghosts in her room. On their way to see a doctor, Smruti gets completely possessed by the poltergeist. The only person Jaidev can turn to now, is the cemetery keeper.
Who is the evil spirit after? Do they save Smruti? Will Smruti and Jaidev recognize each other? And is someone else in the house keeping a secret?
1920 – Evil Returns Review: Script Analysis
Vikram Bhatt and Amin Hajee’s story is intriguing and it leaves a lot of space for you to connect the dots in the first half of the film. The mysterious bangle, love letters etc. are nice but it leaves a lot to be desired in the scare department. By the interval you’re already tired of shadows in the dark and white eyeballs. It doesn’t help that they have the ‘vomit’ and ‘crawling’ scenes blatantly lifted from The Exorcist.
Jaidev’s shayari is a nice touch, but when they do it in nail-biting scenes it gets annoying. Dialogues are alright.
1920 – Evil Returns Review: Star Performances
If the idea was to show Jaidev as a puffy alcoholic who forgot facial expressions as well, then Aftab Shivdasani fits the bill. But then, he looks the same in the flashback scenes. Aftab looks too blank at many places and he seems as eager as the viewer to get the movie over with. Tia Bajpai goes a little too saccharine with the good-girl bit but she does very well as the possessed Smruti. Vidya Malvade disappoints as Karuna and she looks she’s performing in a school play. Sharad Kelkar is aptly malevolent.
1920 – Evil Returns Review: Direction, Music & Technical Aspects
Bhushan Patel could have done a lot more with the script but he relies on the done-to-death scare tactics. The blank eyes, red eyes etc. are such old props that it’s unbelievable that it keeps getting recycled in almost every Bollywood horror film. The film does manage to pick up in the second half and even gives you goosebumps at times. Chirantan Bhatt’s songs are a bit of a saving grace for the film with some nice lyrics by Shakeel Azmi, Junaid Wasi and Manoj Yadav. Naren Kedia’s cinematography is ordinary. Kuleep Mehan’s editing is just okay. Amar Mohile’s background score gives you a splitting headache at times. The special effects are good in some places but terrible in others.
1920 – Evil Returns Review: The Last Word
1920 Evil Returns has nothing new to offer, but if you do want to watch a scary movie for the heck of it, then go ahead.
1920 – Evil Returns Trailer
1920 – Evil Returns released on 2nd November, 2012.
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