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Pari  : Unusually Gory
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Friday, March 2, 2018
Prosit Roy
Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee

The horror genre has many takers. The audience likes a good scare once in a while. But writer-director Prosit Roy needs to know the difference between scary and gory. A dingy, dank basement, young women in labour screaming, forced deliveries in a bloody bathtub, strange, forbidding men reaching for something between the women’s legs. Tortured screams, blood and dead babies.


It’s a nasty world that Prosit Roy creates, uncomfortable because it’s so bloodthirsty, brutal and savage. He makes even nail-cutting into a devil’s art.


One has to tell Roy that there’s also a difference between a red herring and purposely misleading the viewer with a false characterisation.A red herring is a clever ploy to distract the viewer. But out here it’s pure misleading with an entire narrative centred around a vile and wicked professor, the fulcrum around whom a dark cult functions.He has a strange connection with tortured young girls thrown into a heap, dead babies hitting the headlines and wicked spirits called ifrit.


And then it moves to pleasant young Arnab allowing traumatised Rukhsana, a raw, young girl from the jungle into his house. But the mystery that comes with her involves an Islamic cult with satanic djinns and Koranic prayers that stop the ifrit in its tracks.


When you finally get the confused storyline sorted out, you realise the director has intentionally portrayed one important character misleadingly, even giving him superhuman strength in one shot where he lifts a security guard dangerously.


It is an unusual story which is welcome. However, it’s the telling that repulses.


Much of the 2 hr 17 min indulgence is spent on tropes, on creating the right atmospherics, creaky sounds, torrential rains and a forbidding background score that almost always ends up in something tame. Almost till interval point, nothing really happens.When it does, there’s confusion. More of flashbacks to the bloody bathtub and dead babies, and hooded djinns screaming, ‘Spread his bloodline, spread his bloodline.’


The saving grace is the camerawork by Jishnu Bhattacharya which gets the ambience of foreboding bang on. Parambrata Chatterjee is likeable as Arnab even though one would wonder why a shy man like him continued to give shelter to Rukhsana.  Anushka Sharma is of course comfortable playing any role. Rajat Kapoor as the professor has prosthetics and menace around him as the man who knows the cult.


But Anushka Sharma as producer follows up her strange Phillauri with a bloodied mess that’s as confusing as it’s disturbing.


For a scare-fest that requires too much of a leap of faith into a black world to sit through and unravel, Pari gets a 2* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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