Manohar (Madhavan) with his wife (Neetu Chandra) shifts to a new address with his entire joint family comprising of his brother and his wife, their two kids, mom (Poonam Dhillon) and a college going younger sister. All the female folks in the family are hooked on to watching daily Saas Bahu soaps on TV. But bizarre things start happening to Manohar after shifting there – 13B like the lift never works whenever he boards it alone, his mobile phone clicks distorted images of his self, his bathroom bulb constantly lits up despite putting it off and a simple nail cannot be hammered in the room of his house walls. While he experiences such weird things, the opposite happens to his family members who have personal gains in all possible ways.
Just around that time the female folk in his house start following a new daily TV Soap called Sab Khairiyat. The show comes daily at 1300 hours at channel number 13 in his 13 B flat only. Manohar soon realizes that the things happening in the TV series resemble his own family life as well. It is almost as if, his life"s daily events are being dictated by the TV series. This drives Manohar literally mad as he tries to find answers to it. He seeks the help of an old friend, Shiva (Murli Sharma) and what unfolds next forms the rest of this shocking thriller.
An innovative plot that steers clear of the typical Bollywood horror cinema cliches like Tantric Baba, Sanskrit shlokas, and badly made up ghosts, 13 B scores on many counts. The setting is very relatable to anyone staying in urban cities and the script makes good use of daily happenings. Even thing as simple as a lift and mobile phone are smartly used as a prop to scare you. It"s a tough job scaring the daylights out of the audience by showing things taking place on screen in broad daylight but 13 B succeeds very well in doing so.
Debutant director Vikram K. Kumar who has penned the screenplay and the dialogue deserves full marks for all inventive efforts in making a gripping thriller that has you on the edge of the seat most of the time. Also, the back story which reveals the suspense behind Madhavan's weird experiences is very convincing. Vikram has also made good use of camera by employing lot of handheld camera moments which give you just the right feel of the character"s helplessness. The background music by Tubby-Parik succeeds in elevating the tension.
The only thing that is a downer is the film"s running time which is 2 and a half hour. Also, the sensous dream song between Madhavan and Neetu was just not needed especially when sufficient time was given for their bedroom act a few minutes before it.
The film is a must see for Madhavan"s superb act. He brilliantly conveys the dilemma he faces and his vulnerability in handling the bizarre situations around him. Neetu Chandra in a less make up look gives him able support. Murli Sharma's black humour is superb and gets some really good lines to give you the much needed comic relief. Poonam Dhillon has made a comeback of sorts after over a decade . Sachin Khedekar as the family"s trusted doctor does a fine job. In a small part, Deepak Dobriyal impresses a lot.
Just don"t miss 13 B, it not only engages you but also gives you the right chills and thrills just when you don"t expect them. It is one of the most intelligently made thriller in recent times in Bollywood. Go watch it.
13 B: Is an intelligent thriller
Rating: 3.5 out of 5*
Starring: R. Madhavan, Neetu Chandra, Dhritman Chatterjee, Poonam Dhillon, Murli Sharma and Sachin Khedekar.
Director: Vikram K. Kumar