Vantage point

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Darna Zaroori Hai - A Review

Darna Zaroori Hai is a disappointment. It is disappointing to see that one of my favourite film-makers, Ram Gopal varma, actually took a backward step, committing the mistake most other monochromatic film-makers would. That of putting the concept of a sequel above all else, even story.

As simplistic as it may sound, the lifeline of a movie is its storyline. The screenplay, treatment, portrayal, performances, special effects are all secondary. While they are all useful elements that go into making a good film, the story is of paramount importance. And it is in the story department that DZH disappoints the most.

Horror is a petty tough genre to handle, especially if you are targetting discerning audiences. Horror stories will be of two types. One, which begin with a paranormal premise. And the other which begin with a "rational" premise and attribute the seemingly paranormal occurences to a perfectly logical and often coincidental explanation. Both sorts of stories can be entertaining. It depends on how you write them and take them to a conclusion rather than the premise itself. DZH has them both, totalling 7 in number. Most of them do not pass muster, at least packaged into a single movie.

The main reason for this is an obsession with the "twist". A twist in the plot can be very exciting, and can raise the estimation of a story many notches. Especially if the twist is mind-boggling, and turns the entire story upside down. But a twist should be used as a surprise element and not a stock element. When you have a movie with 7 stories, most of them relying on the twist factor, then it gets a tad predictable. And when the said movie is a sequel of another such collection of stories, half of which themselves relied on twists, it becomes downright tedious. I mean seriously, which person who has seen DMH and has an average intelligence will not be able to guess the ending of the Bipasha-Makrand-ArjunRampal story? Or for that matter the AnilKapoor-Mallika story? They were just downright yaaaaawn.

The Amitabh-Ritesh story which replies on paranormal and depends on the "creep" factor ends too abruptly and inexplicably. Now usually I am all for open-ended conslusions to stories which leave scope for the viewer's imagination. But this story's end was a little too open-ended. The other paranormal-based story is probably the most competent of them all, starring Randeep Hooda. But just about, sinceit is one story which does not bore you, even though it does not enthrall you. The opening story, starring Manoj Pahwa is also decent, and sets the tone for the movie very well.

The only reality-based story in the movie is the one with Sonali Kulkarni and Suneil Shetty, and it is absolutely lame. It wastes the talent of actors such as Sonali and Rajpal Yadav thanks to a forcibly-written plot.

And the background story, with the old lady and the kids was as excruciating as it gets. I don't see why a background story is so necessary if the film is basically supposed to be a collection of shorts. While making the third part in this series, which apparently Varma is planning, he would be well-advised to do away with such a concept and just show the stories one by one.

By the time the end credits roll and you see that 7 different directors worked on each of the 7 movies, the movie turns out to be nothing but an excellent illustration of the adage - too many cooks spoil the broth.