Another week……another big ol’ stack of DVD’s roll in from overseas…..this week among them was the Hindi horror offering from director Aku Akbar, “Gauri, The Unborn”.
You all know how Hindi films can be….right? Loooooong……. with too many subplots…… and that terrible need to make every single film a musical. (Even if they don’t need to be … or even should be….)
Well I’m happy to say this one comes in at a reasonable 94 minutes in length….and has only one song.….
Seriously. there’s just one song in the narrative, a lullaby, and it actually is woven in as part of the plot…..just like they should be. Given all of these pluses, I had to give it a try…..so how was it you ask? Well…….
Lets start with the synopsis….“Sudeep (Atul Kulkarni), an architect, lives with his wife Roshni (Rituparna Sengupta) and their daughter Shivani (Rushita Pandya). The family decides to go for a holiday to Mauritius, but .a spirit enters Shivani and she demands her parents to take her to their ancestral house in the village. The parents reluctantly agree after witnessing her tantrums. There the spirit takes over Shivani completely and Sudeep and Roshni don’t know what to do. It turns out that the spirit is none other than Gauri, the fetus which was aborted by Roshni when she and Sudeep were not ready to have a child some years earlier. Now she wants revenge on her parents. “
Sounds like a winner… but wait….. there’s a catch. Turns out this whole film is mostly a rant against the evils of abortion….. sigh….. instead of a actual horror film.
It isn’t even as scary as its nearest competitor for that particular niche, Turkey’s “Araf” either. There are no actual fatalities in this one at all….. except for poor Gauri the ghost/ baby/ spirit/ thingee…… and not even any close calls.
All the traditional lead-ups to real horror are present….. weird noises…. spirit possessions…… dark gloomy houses in the middle of nowhere…. even the obligatory thunderstorm to help set the mood.
But nothing here truly works…..
The story itself had promise…… but the family unit here is terrible….. I’m hoping real families aren’t like this in India. They spend most of their time whining at each other to get their own way….. they are overly obsessed with success and what it can buy….. not the most flattering view of family life.
Don’t even get me started on the whole “social message” on abortion….
Retuparna Sengupta and Atul Kulkarni are merely bearable in their roles, but I felt the houseboy, Beem Singh, played by Praanav had more charm. The only actor who impressed me was little Rushita Pandya as the dual role of Gauri/ Shivani, and who handled it with an amazingly effective bit of acting.
All in all….. this was a well executed film from a technical standpoint. This attempt to do it without the usual crutch used to make other Hindi films commercial was truly appreciated.
But….. Neko wishes they’d have put just a wee, lil’ bit more horror in their horror movie.
Neko-chan gives it a disappointing 2 “Meows” out of 5 and a shiver of annoyance for its preachy tone….. better luck next time India.
As always, I leave you with the trailer…. courtesy of our Youtube thingee, so you can catch a glimpse for yourself.