In Dybbuk, when a cop tells Father Gabriel (Denzil Smith) that he doesn't believe what he has heard from him and asks why the two protagonists are being targeted, the latter quips, "Inn sab cheezon ka koi logical explanation nahin hain". Well, this dialogue makes an appearance not once but twice in the film!
In a similar vein, one wonders why director Jay K chose to remake his own Malayalam supernatural thriller Ezra starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Priya Anand when he has nothing new to offer in its Hindi version barring a new cast and location.
Available on: Amazon Prime Video
What's Yay: Emraan Hashmi
What's Nay: Less of spooks, lack of novelty for those who have already watched Ezra
When the last living Jew Moshe Ben Asher in Mauritius passes away, an antique-seller lands up at his mourning house and quietly sneaks out a wine cabinet with Jewish inscriptions on it. Later that same night, a spine-chilling incident occurs at his shop. Meanwhile in Mumbai, a young interfaith couple Sam (Emraan Hashmi) and Mahi (Nikita Dutta) are all set to shift their base to Mauritius where the latter has to take charge of a giant nuclear waste disposal plant.
After the couple lands in the Island country, Mahi who is an interior designer by profession, decides to refurbish their new home. In Sam's words, "Charity begins at home". Later when Mahi goes shopping for some antiques for her abode, the same box from Asher's house catches her eye there. Unknown to her, her new acquisition holds a revenge-hungry dybbuk.
Slowly, as supernatural events start taking place in the house, Sam is forced to seek help from his guardian Father Gabriel, a local Jewish priest Marcus (Manav Kaul) and a cop. However, it is soon discovered that there's more than meets the eye behind the paranormal activities in Sam's house.
In 2017, when Jay K helmed Prithiviraj Sukumaran-starrer Ezra, the filmmaker was lauded for attempting something new in the genre of horror films in Malayalam cinema. Cut to 2021, the director presents the same plot to the Hindi audience by revamping it with a different cast and location. So, Emraan steps into Prithviraj's shoes and the backdrop shifts from Kochi to Mauritius.
Like Ezra, Dybbuk too relies more on the atmospheric horror rather than scary visuals. Its underlying theme of forbidden love across ages and the insights into Jewish culture is also the same. Does this work? Well yes, if you haven't caught the original flick! For the rest, this Emraan-Nikita starrer might send shivers down the spine only in a scene or two. Those looking out for jump scares and 'heart in the mouth' moments, Dybbuk might come across as a disappointment for you.
With Dybbuk, Emraan Hashmi returns back to his love- horror films after a long time and pulls off a natural performance. He is also one of the reasons why you stay glued to the film. The actor displays conviction even in the exorcism scenes. Nikita Dutta who essays the role of his lady love puts up a manageable act. Manav Kaul as the rabbi gets an interesting introduction but sadly, his role quickly fades into a predictable one. Denzil Smith puts up a decent show. Imaad Shah and Darshana Banik make most of their limited roles.
Satya Ponmar's camera work does add to the suspense in the film. He flirts more with the dull and muted shades to lend a certain grimness to the ambience. Sandeep Francis' editing is sleek.
Thankfully, Jay K doesn't fall into the trappings of unnecessary songs which might have diluted the narrative. Instead, he relies more on the background score to create tension in the air which works fairly well for the film.
We advise you to open this 'dybbuk' box only if you haven't watched Ezra or are excited to see Emraan Hashmi giving some chills and thrills.
Filmibeat gives 2.5 stars out of 5 for Emraan Hashmi-starrer Dybbuk.