404 Plot: Rajvir Arora doesn’t believe in the paranormal, just like his professor (Nishikant Kamath) in the medical college. But he encounters a ghost. Is the ghost for real or is it a figment of his imagination? Is he suffering from bipolar disorder like his professor? Find out more in the full review below:
Business rating: 1/5 star
Star cast: Rajvir Arora, Nishikant Kamath, Tisca Chopra, Imaad Shah, Satish Kaushik.
What’s Good: The performances; some horror scenes.
What’s Bad: The confusing screenplay; the abstract ending; the attempt to debunk the theory that ghosts exist.
Verdict: 404 will win critical acclaim but not box-office rewards.
Loo break: Not really.
Watch or not?: Watch it for the novel subject.
Imagik Motion Pictures’ 404 (UA) is a psychological thriller with horror thrown in in fair measure. Abhimanyu (Rajvir Arora) is a new student studying in a prime medical institution. He defies his seniors who rag him and other juniors. He also decides to move into room no. 404 of the college hostel although it is taken to be haunted by the ghost of Gaurav, an ex-student. Prof. Aniruddh (Nishikant Kamath) is impressed by Abhimanyu’s rationality and tenacity.
Prof. Abhimanyu believes only in science and considers that the para- normal simply does not exist. He is, in fact, writing a thesis on the non-existence of the paranormal and insists, it’s all in the mind. It soon emerges that Prof. Aniruddh is himself a victim of the paranormal and suffers from bipolar disorder because he can see and talk with his dead mother. It also emerges that Gaurav first and Abhimanyu now were guinea pigs used to prove Prof. Aniruddh’s theory of ‘It’s all in the mind’. He seeks the help of Chris (Imaad Shah) to psyche Abhimanyu in such a way that he (Prof. Aniruddh) can ultimately prove to himself and to the world that there is no paranormal and we see what we believe.
404 Review – Script Analysis
Prawaal Raman’s story about the paranormal and whether it exists or not is intriguing, but his screenplay is confusing not just by its very nature but also because a lot of things have not been explained properly. While watching the film, the audience gets the impression that a lot of what Prawaal Raman probably wanted to say is in his mind when actually it should’ve been on the screen because the audience can see what unfolds on the screen but not what’s in the writer’s mind. Also, in a country where people believe in ghosts, spirits and the paranormal, a subject which tries to prove that all of these do not exist would not be digested by the majority. Probably, the open-ended climax will only make matters worse for the viewer who would’ve preferred a conclusive and definite ending.
While some horror scenes are scary and send a chill down the spine of the audience, the abstract nature of the subject dilutes the impact greatly because it wouldn’t be understood by a large majority of the audience, especially the masses.
404 Review – Performances & Direction
Rajvir Arora makes a fairly confident debut, performing ably and with a reasonable amount of conviction. Nishikant Kamath delivers a splendid performance and gets into the skin of the character of Prof. Aniruddh who is suffering from bipolar disorder. As his wife, Tisca Chopra underplays beautifully. Imaad Shah is effective and does a natural job. Satish Kaushik has his comic moments. Mukesh Bhatt lends good support. Ritika Silas is fair. As the two friends of Chris, Vinay Sharma and Prabhat are effective. Aditya Banerjee and Amod Burande perform quite well as the two juniors who are ragged with Abhimanyu. Ruchir Raj (as Gaurav), Lawrence Pospma (as the principal) and Sara (as Prof.Aniruddh’s daughter) are good. Others lend the required support.
Prawaal Raman’s direction, like his script, caters only to the intelligent audience which is a thin minority of the cinema-going public. Savita Singh’s camerawork is appealing. Pradumanya P.K.’s action scenes are quite realistic. Background music is okay. Editing, by Sarvesh Parab, is true to the drama.
404 Review – Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, 404 may be liked by a section of the audience but that won’t be enough to take the film to even the average mark. Its lacklustre title, ordinary promotion and poor opening might actually see it remaining a non-starter.