Business rating: 2.5 stars
Star cast: Mahakshay Chakraborty, Tia Bajpai, Achint Kaur, Arif Zakaria.
What’s Good: The 3D effects; some horror scenes.
What’s Bad: The lack of emotional appeal in the story; the length of the film.
Verdict: ‘Haunted’ will score because of its 3D version.
Loo break: A couple of them in the second half.
Watch or not?: Watch ‘Haunted’ for the 3D effects.
ASA Productions & Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Dar Motion Pictures and BVG Films’ Haunted (A) is a horror film made in 3D. Set in Dalhousie, it revolves around the sprawling Glen Manor, a mansion with a past which haunts the present.
Rehan (Mahakshay Chakraborty) visits Glen Manor to complete its sale initiated by his father. But he soon realises that the house is haunted. Strange things happen and he hears the cries of a young woman in the house. He probes further and gets to the root of the secret past.
Meera (Tia Bajpai) used to live in the mansion with her family. Her parents had gone out of Dalhousie and so, she was alone with the attendants of the house. She used to learn to play the piano but the piano teacher (Arif Zakaria) tried to act fresh with her one day. In a fit of rage, Meera had unwittingly murdered the teacher while trying to resist his rape attempt. The teacher’s ghost then tried to rape her and terrify her. The ghost even murdered all the others in Tia’s house, including her caretaker, Margaret (Achint Kaur). Left all alone to fend for herself, Tia had committed suicide.
Rehan learns that he can free Tia’s spirit, which haunts the mansion, by saving her in her lifetime. In other words, he has to save her from the rapist and not let her die. While he sets out to do the impossible, he realises that the piano teacher’s ghost has entered Margaret’s body so that it appears as if Margaret’s ghost is troubling Tia.
Does Rehan succeed in his mission? Is he able to save Tia from being raped? Is he able to prevent her from ending her life? The film’s climax answers these questions.
Haunted Review – Story & Screenplay
Amin Hajee’s story is quite confusing as the audience is unable to understand how a man can save a dead woman. In other words, the very novelty of the subject is its most confusing part. Even if the audience would reconcile itself to the fact that it is possible for Rehan to save the dead woman, Hajee’s screenplay gets long-winding and repetitive in the second half. The climax, especially, is just too long.
Perhaps, the biggest drawback of the screenplay – in the context of the Indian viewer – is that Rehan is not saving Meera because he loves or loved her. That is to say, he is not trying to save his love. In fact, he doesn’t even know the lady he is supposed to save as he has never met her. While one way of looking at this is that he is a selfless guy, the Indian viewer is bound to feel that Rehan’s actions would’ve been worth their while if they were used to save his own love.
The film’s first half is quite interesting but the same can’t be said of the post-interval portion. The emotional appeal of the drama is almost nil because there is no connection between Rehan and Meera. However, the aforementioned drawbacks of the script pale into insignificance when compared to the 3D effects which are superb.
Haunted Review – Performances
Mahakshay Chakraborty does an average job. He needs to concentrate more on his facial expressions so that they don’t look similar in the different scenes. His dubbing (by Vikram Bhatt) is good. Tia Bajpai makes an ordinary debut. She looks fair but needs to improve on her acting. It must be mentioned here that scenes of Mahakshay running and of Tia screaming are so many that it appears as if that’s all the two are doing in the film! Achint Kaur is effective. Arif Zakaria also does a fine job. Mohan Kapur has a very brief role but he performs ably. Sanjay Sharma is okay. Krishna Bhatt is good.
Haunted Review – Direction
Vikram Bhatt has done a neat and impressive job of the three-dimensional shooting because the 3D effects are visually appealing. But his direction, limited as it is by the script, is not of the kind which can hold the audience’s interest throughout the drama and make an emotional impact on the viewers. There are scenes that chill and thrill but they are few and, more importantly, they aren’t novel. Computer graphics are of a very good standard. Pravin Bhatt’s cinematography is very nice. Action scenes, choreographed by Abbas Ali Moghul, are okay.
Chirantan Bhatt’s music is alright but the songs haven’t been popularised. Also, the haunting element in the music is missing. Lyrics (by Shakeel Azmi and Junaid Wasi) are ordinary. Technically, a superior product. Production values are alright.
Haunted Review – Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, Haunted is an ordinary fare with excellent 3D effects. It will do very good business in cinemas showing it in the 3D version but its 2D version will not do half as well.