Star cast: Swini Khara, Aditya Shrivastav, Aditya Lakhia, Paintal, Sheela Sharma
Director: Wilson Louis
Plot: A bus carrying eleven passengers has to take a detour through a haunted village. A blood-thirsty witch attacks and kills them, one by one.
What’s Good: Nothing.
What’s Bad: The boring story; the morose witch; the average performances.
Verdict: Kaalo is a poor fare. It will meet with a poor response at the box-office.
Loo break: Anytime.
Beyond Dreams Entertainment and PEN Entertainment’s Kaalo is a horror film about a bus-load of people who are threatened by a witch in a deserted village, somewhere in a desert.
The film starts with Sameer (Aditya Shrivastav) boarding a bus en route to Kuldevi. Sameer has a gunny sack filled with dynamite that he is going to use to blow up a well in his village. On board the bus, he meets a peppy and talkative young girl, Shona (Swini Khara) and takes a liking to her. Meanwhile, a voice over and animation sequence informs the audience of the age-old practice of witch-burning. It further tells them that a witch called Kaalo, who preyed on young girls, haunts the deserted village of Kulbhata. Surprisingly, Kaalo finds freedom after construction workers dig at the place where she was buried. She is now revived and hungry for young blood.
Kaalo attacks a family that is waiting for the bus and creates a crevice in the middle of the road. When the bus finally arrives, the driver (Hemant Pandey) is at his wits’ end. Someone suggests that he take the route through Kulbhata, to which another passenger, Panditji (Paintal) protests. But Panditji’s wife (Sheela Sharma) convinces him otherwise, and the bus enters Kulbhata. Within minutes, one of the tyres of the bus goes flat and the passengers get out as it has to be repaired. Kaalo’s first victim is a group of rustic young passengers, who are spending their time smoking chillum. Then she attacks an NRI photographer (Manoj Tiger) and his muse (Tripta Parashar). After everyone gets inside the bus, Kaalo starts attacking the bus and looks at Shona for a long time. Sameer and the others discover that what Kaalo really wants (and we have been told this a hundred times already) is Shona’s blood. Everyone wants to give up Shona to the witch to save their lives, but Sameer wants to protect her. He even has a plan to kill the witch. Will he succeed? Or does Kaalo’s blood thirst consume one and all?
Wilson Louis’ story and screenplay have no novelty and fail to excite even one bit. The film is based on the age-old formula of a group of travellers being confronted by a creature or supernatural force, something that one has seen time and again. Even in this, the screenplay writer fails miserably to create even a moment of horror on screen. A 12-year-old girl travelling alone in the middle of a desolate desert road seems unrealistic. Sameer carrying with him a bagful of dynamite, a few young lads having drugs, which muddles their vision, these seem all too contrived. Dialogues by Sumeet Aroraa are clichéd.
Just like the story, the performances have nothing to write home about. Swini Khara (of Cheeni Kum fame) is sweet and she tries to act scared, but has obviously been mis-directed. Aditya Shrivastav makes an earnest effort that comes to naught. Paintal is good. Aditya Lakhia, Hemant Pandey, Manoj Tiger, Tripta Parashar and Sheela Sharma are just okay. The rest of the cast — Satish Sharma, Amit Sinha, Pradeep Kabra, Abhijeet Satam, Raj Arjun, Madhurima Tuli and Prashant Kumar – do average jobs.
Wilson Louis’ direction is poor. He fails to give the film a build-up and spills the story in the first two minutes itself! After that, it’s all a mess. If only he had paid more attention to the story and the way he told it, Kaalo could have been at least an average watch. But he fails the audience. Cinematography by Pushpank Gawde is good but uses too many age-old camera tricks. Accompanied by the loud and jarring background score (Rahul Ranade), it adds to the audiences’ woes. The visual effects are average. Prosthetics, by M Dinamani, are quite bad. The witch’s make-up reminds one of yesteryear’s films. Editing (Avinash Walzade) is okay.
All in all, Kaalo is a horrific tale, not in its telling, but in the watching. Flop!