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'Puraani havelis', 'creaking doors', 'women dressed in white saris' and 'evil men wearing horrendous makeup'; Anushka Sharma's Pari steers clear of these Indian horror films staple and instead churns out an engaging story with oven-fresh treatment.
The screamers released prior to the film built up a sense of mystery around the plot. We promise we won't mar the fun for you by sneaking in spoiler alerts!
Pari opens with Aurnab (Parambrata Chatterjee) subjecting himself to an arrangement set-up. Unfortunately on their way back, their car, driven by his father, hits an old woman and instantly kills her. On conducting further investigations, the cops reach the deceased woman's house in the forest where they discover Ruksana (Anushka Sharma) chained and battered. Feeling pity on her sorry state, Aurnab decides to offer refuge to her. But beware, this isn't a fairy tale! Will Arnab realise this before it's too late?
Helmed by first-time director Prosit Roy, this devil-mortal love story offers something new on the platter when it comes to horror genre in Indian cinema. Beware, it doesn't go easy on gory and has some disturbing visuals which might not be every one's cup of tea. What works for Roy is that he gets the atmospherics spot on right from the first frame itself. The unabating ashen hue with thunder and heavy rains throughout the film sets the right tempo in this scary tale. Under the guise of a horror film, Pari has a beautiful and unique love story as its core and that's what makes it different.
On the flipside, the sluggish narrative gets a tad tiresome at some places and leaves you restless in your seats. The melodramatic touch in the climax dilutes the spook and leaves things a litle off track. Minus the clutter in the last twenty minutes and Pari has all the ingredients of an impressive supernatural story.
Kudos to Anushka Sharma for portraying a gamut of emotions and be all game for a bloodied avatar. Ditching the make-up look, the actress is at her basic best with cold-blue eyes which have secrets hidden in them. Like a chameleon changing its color, Anushka is at once vulnerable, repugnant and vicious.
Parambrata Chatterjee is in top form and despite Anushka's commendable presence, he too manages to leave behind his own charm.
Rajat Kapoor is eerily spooky and one wished we had more of his sinister presence in the film. Mansi Multani and Ritabhari Chakraborty put up a fine show.
Pari's cinematography is top-notch and paints a perfect picture to send shivers down the spine. Special mention for Ketan Sodha's haunting background score which lingers with you for a long time.
In a nutshell, Pari manages to frighten you purely with its superlative performances and spine-chilling visuals. To Anushka Sharma, 'We love you, too' for stepping out of your comfort zone and giving us a supernatural film that succeeds in avoiding the deep pit of cliches. This is not one for the faint-hearted ones!