Review: Bhumi Pednekar’s ‘Durgamati’ Is Dull and Disappointing
Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Durgamati doesn’t scare or engage.
Review: Bhumi Pednekar’s ‘Durgamati’ Proves to be Disappointing
Turns out it’s not the horror films that are scary but the the ones pretending too hard to belong to the genre that one should truly be afraid of. Durgamati ranks right up there with Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii in this regard. Was the coronavirus and this sad year not bad enough that we now are being made to sit through terrible remakes of South Indian films?
Durgamati, a remake of the Tamil and Telugu bilingual Bhaagamathie has this uncanny ability to make you realise that you have made a mistake in the first 10 minutes itself. Not that anything drastically bad happens, but witnessing characters who do not talk to each other and instead shout at one another as if for the viewers to hear them and react always makes us look at any film uneasily. The dubbing only gets stranger as Durgamati progresses.
Since the story, screenplay and direction is by G Ashok, that’s where we have to park most of the blame. I haven’t seen the original so there’s no yardstick for comparison, but Durgamati on its own is painfully boring and stupid. Like a cliched horror film, we have a bunch of disobedient people who will go to the exact “sunsaan” haveli that people have asked them to never set foot on. And the opportune time will also be post sunset and never during the day when we know bhoots generally have their afternoon siesta and one can be rollicking around without dying - literally.
Bhumi Pednekar is an incarcerated IAS officer Chanchal Chauhan who is taken in for questioning by CBI joint director Satakshi Ganguly to an abandoned haveli (of all places) that has the reputation of being haunted. We need a vaccine to just survive Mahie Gill’s ridiculous Bengali accent in the film. There are also disappearing murtis from pracheen mandirs and a neta, played by a bespectacled Arshad Warsi, who has a disconcerting air about him. All these things apparently have a connection.
The chudail and her tale of revenge is a given and a trope we know too well will be used but it’s when Durgamati tries “establishing context” that it can make us weep. Chanchal’s relationship with police officer played by Jisshu Sengupta (ACP Abhay Singh) is established through some flickering flashback shots where we also see Karan Kapadia playing an activist bellowing most of the time. The whole sequence of Chanchal being possessed seems more like a rigorous home workout video where the body is seen twisting into unbelievable positions than anything remotely scary. You would be thinking about why Arshad Warsi agreed to do a film that does little justice to his talent, but it’s difficult to hear one’s own thoughts over the loud background score .
2 hours 35 minutes long, Durgamati just doesn’t have enough heft to pull through since the plot was always wafer thin. So, in the last 30 minutes when we are burdened with a series of shocks and twists, it’s more a testimony to the makers desperation than a creative outcome.
Rating: 1 Quint out of 5
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