Finally! We made it to a movie last weekend! Our first movie since we went for the stupendous Gravity in November. We had a tremendous choice laid out in front of us in the form of Philips and the Monkey Pen, Thira, Punyalan Agarbathis etc. that looked promising and were showing nearby. But no, we had to pick a movie that had been playing for three weeks and that too in a theater 25 kilometers away! But then, we had to after this encounter!
Priyadarshan's Gitaanjali (sic) had a lot of hype attached to it, especially that of a Priyan-Lal movie after a loooooong time, "Dr. Sunny" coming again and the debut of Keerthi, Menaka's daughter. One's natural inclination is to compare it with that magnum opus Manichitrathazhu. Yes, Gitaanjali comes a very poor second there. So let us drop such a comparison and look at it as a standalone horror movie.
The plot: A young techie couple decide to tie the knot, but just before the engagement, the bride's mother has a fall and is paralyzed. The couple stay at the girl's home which is said to be haunted by the girl's dead twin sister who committed suicide. The girl pooh poohs the idea of the haunting, only to have a rude awakening....
If you enjoy the kind of horror movie in which drowned girls with dripping hair and decayed faces jump out at you at regular intervals, this is YOUR movie! Unfortunately I happen to hate them! Right after the first scare in which Ani shrieked and I barely suppressed my scream, we both spent the rest of the movie in one seat, keeping our eyes firmly closed whenever the specters threatened to appear and peeking out only in the "safe" scenes. At one particularly grisly part, when the theater was relatively quiet, Ani asked loudly, "Amma, should I cover my eyes or my ears?" Well, I had to then cover his ears for him too.
There were a lot of flashbacks to Manichitrathazhu - it seems Dr. Sunny's patients always manage to study in schools conducted by nuns; there were echoes of Thilakan's character in Nazzer's (why would De. Sunny still need a mentor-like figure?) and of course Innocent was there to provide the laughs - which are very few and far between. As a "whodunit", there are no surprises as I had guessed the truth in the first half hour. The climax scene was good - even I forgot to close my eyes, decayed specters notwithstanding.
Nishaan and Keerthi have done well in their roles - Keerthi shows promise in her debut and looks so much like her mother in some shots that one is hit with a sense of deja vu at various points in the story. Dr. Sunny - alas! Mohanlal does not have much to do here.
I always imagine that the best pieces of real estate must be available only in movies. Where else would a piece of property in Kerala have winding roads through a rubber plantation in the front and a picturesque beach behind it? It was too funny for words. Although Manichitrathazhu was shot in two different palaces that are as different as chalk from cheese, there was a cohesiveness that made the transition smooth. Yesterday there was a rerun on TV and I realized that at times the location changed back and forth 3 or 4 times during a period of 10 minutes - must have been a continuity headache to shoot! But the results!!!
Ah well, it seems as much as I would have liked to avoid comparing the movies, that is EXACTLY what I have done! Hee hee....
So final verdict: Nyaaah... judge for yourself!