Producer: Jack Manjunath
Director: Arun Bhandari
Cast: Kiccha Sudeep, Jacqueline Fernandez, Nirup Bhandari and Neeta Ashok
Platform of Release: Theatrical
By Jyothi Venkatesh
Made in Kannada and dubbed in Hindi, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam, Anup Bhandari’s dark fantasy adventure (in 3D) has an eerie atmosphere as well. However, the director struggles to find a direction and dimension to justify his story. It starts off like a children’s fable, then moves to being a supernatural-horror thriller, then a mystery, and a western and to put it in a nutshell, it tries to be a lot of things, confusing you profoundly.
The half-baked story lacks a proper timeline as well. The first half wanders aimlessly in and in and drags on forever with practically no character or plot development. All we see is the cigar smoking, badass new cop in the ghostly town setting out to try his level best to crack the puzzle and hunt down those responsible especially when everyone including himself is a suspect.
Kiccha Sudeep with a smouldering hero look gallivants in slow motion with a jarring background score that never lets the fear creep in, all the time maintaining a poker face. Out of the blue, Jacqueline Fernandez comes on for an item number in which her athletic bosom bounces leaving nothing at all to the imagination. The backdrop is strangely a fictitious village in an undisclosed era with mysterious sightings as one by one; all the children go missing, making you wonder whether the culprit is a man or devil in disguise.
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Four years in the making and shot even during Covid, visually, the film tries its best to live up to the genre’s ambitious scale, but sadly has absolutely nothing new by way of novelty to endear the masses. Your patience wears thin with the story going absolutely nowhere and the makers weave a random love story peppered with random songs further to eat into the screen time and digress from the plot.
The only saving grace in the film is Kiccha Sudeep who delights you with his adrenaline raising action quotient, though he draws a blank as far as registering his emotions is concerned. The less said about Jacqueline Fernandez the better as she is mandatory in every Salman production like Vaani Kapoor is in every YRF film these days, whether you like it or not. Neeta Ashok shows promise while Nirup Bhandari is just about average.
On the whole, the film is an overtly told horror whodunit which is told in a very loud and over the top style, lulling you to sleep instead of scaring you. At best, the film is designed only for the diehard fans of Kannada super star Kiccha Sudeep and will draw a blank in all the languages in which it has been dubbed and released