‘Pari’ Review: Not a Fairy Tale, But Not Really Horror Either
If you go in looking for a slew of shocks and spine-chilling sequences, Pari doesn’t have too many of them.
A good horror film is one that manages to send chills down your spine with its perfectly crafted supernatural elements. That said, a typical Bollywood film with a badly written plot can be just as frightening! While we look forward to the former, the latter is a constant threat that we’re always trying to avoid. Anushka Sharma's Pari falls somewhere in between these two extremes.
Pari has some genuinely hair-raising sequences, but the overwrought plot with its liberal use of gore makes it a difficult film to watch.
As has been expressly stated, Pari is not a fairytale. Prosit Roy gets the foreboding tone just right in his directorial debut. An eerie spot hidden deep inside a jungle, a young woman bound in chains, ferocious dogs and a looming threat of something sinister.
The film begins with a car accident, an incident that sets the frightening proceedings in motion. Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee), one of the occupants of the car, feels responsible for this now motherless girl Rukhsana (Anushka Sharma) and decides to give her shelter.
The first half moves at an indulgent pace. The ominous background score accompanying the many frightful sightings of women with rotting skin and scenes with scary satanic chants aside, nothing really happens to take the narrative forward.
Rajat Kapoor’s character is introduced in a parallel thread. He plays an exorcist from Bangladesh who, suspecting trouble, knocks at Arnab’s door to tackle the evil.
When we expect to be duly rewarded for our patience post-interval, we realise that this film isn't so much about horror as it is about gore. It's just too much blood and torture, gut-wrenching cries of pregnant women and Satan-invoking chants that make it a difficult film to watch.
There is even an elaborate scene where Rajat Kapoor is shown scooping out his artificial eye and dunking it in water. The plot doesn’t do anyone any favours –laboriously explaining to viewers, via old newspaper clippings and dusty books, about a cult that procreates to keep Satan’s bloodline alive. All of it is more talk than engaging action.
The actors do not disappoint. Anushka's death stare keeps us fully invested. It's a role that sees her climbing walls like Spider-Man and turning into a blood-sucking vampire. She also manages to evoke an authentic sense of displacement and vulnerability and she is expertly convincingly through it all.
Parambrata Chatterjee hones his nice guy vibe in an impressively measured performance, while both Ritabhari Chakraborty and Rajat Kapoor make the most of the screen time they get.
If you go in to Pari looking for a slew of shocks and spine-chilling sequences, there aren’t too many of them. Pari is more about blood, butchery and violence. An interesting premise let down by shoddy writing .
Despite all the greatness it was poised for, Pari remains an average affair.
2.5 Quints out of 5!
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