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Haunted 3D 2011 Hindi Movie Review

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Banner:    Dar Motion Pictures, BVG Films
Cast:    Mahakshay, Chakraborty, Twinkle Bajpai, Achint Kaur, Arif Zakaria
Direction:    Vikram Bhatt
Production:    Vikram Bhatt

With the ground being set at the very beginning of 'Haunted', you find yourself on the edge of the seat within first 15 minutes itself as Vikram doesn't waste anytime whatsoever in establishing his characters and the plotline. With a gripping start that has regular elements like creaking doors, shrieking noises and those sudden scares in the night, 'Haunted' still continues to engage you because of Vikram's treatment.

It is a travel back in time for Mahakshay takes when he realises that the mansion for which he is trying to break a Rs. 200 crores deal is actually haunted by two spirits, one of which is that of a tormentor (Arif Zakaria) and other belonging to the tormented (Tia Bajpai). Hence the fight becomes different here as he doesn't have to fight off a 'bahatakti aatma'. Instead he has to save one 'aatma' from another, and that too by going back in the 1930s, something which is not just surreal (in true sense) but also seemingly impossible.

Also, though this is not a conventional love story in the making, you are still interested to know how it all unfolds as you join the journey of Mahakshay in his endeavour to save Tia. What accentuates this journey are the visuals that are vintage Vikram Bhatt.

The biggest USP of the film is 3D and it is well used with most of the scenes showcasing the kind of 'depth in frame' that one expects in a film with this technology. However how one wishes there were more 'jumping on you from screen' moments that would have made it all the more appealing. Moreover the climax could have been a tad better with more edge of the seat moments. In case of 'Haunted', after a terrific built up involving Achint Kaur (when she runs through the forest in the air after the lead pair), you would have expected the hunt for Arif to be a few notches up.

Also, one wishes music was used more effectively with the songs being longer than just playing for a few seconds in the background, hence also bringing on a relief element. Having said that, a small scene featuring Mahakshay and Tia where former shows her a cell phone (an unknown entity in the 1930s) and the latter is truly amazed, is done well, looks cute and brings in a smile especially in the time when the going is tough.

Mahakshay shows a vast improvement over his 'Jimmy' days and it is hard to believe that he is the same young man who seemed just so clueless in his debut effort. He makes his presence felt in 'Haunted' and though this film required him to keep a sad expression throughout, one waits to see how he does in his next outing that could require him to be 'full-on' hero. Tia is good in her debut and shows maturity as an actress. In this film she may not have presented as a true blue Bollywood heroine but given her looks, she can be expected to be noticed. Arif is as usual in his hamming while Achint as well as the man playing 'sufi baba' (Sanjay Sharma) are quite good.

As an overall package, 'Haunted' works as it is far better than many a horror films that have released between Vikram's own '1920' and now. Here the emphasis is on the thrill element and the storyline rather than set horror pieces here and there. Those who have loved Vikram's horror/dark films like 'Raaz', '1920' and even 'Kasoor' can well see his stamp in every shot of the film with everything from effective cinematography to 'just apt' background score coming together to make 'Haunted' turn out to be the kind of film that one always expected.
Go, give this one a chance as you munch your popcorn.
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