Raaz Reboot
A: Horror-thriller
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Cast: Gaurav Arora, Kriti Kharbanda, Emraan Hashmi
Rating: 1.5 stars


Well. Now, this mangalsutra is broken. Damn. And then it goes missing altogether. Which is simply catastrophic. A newbie (Kriti Kharbanda) — fairly pleasant face for the screen if you ask me — plays the wife, who’s possessed.

But who’s the husband? Fans of this franchise, and Emraan Hashmi in general, ought to be warned. This isn’t by any stretch a Hashmi picture. He’s hardly there. And whether he kisses or not is just so passé to make mention of anymore. The hero (Gaurav Arora; again a debutant, I presume) looks like a cross between a pauper’s version of Prince (the singer), and Karan Singh Grover (Bipasha’s husband).

There is much English-speaking going on in here. This is slightly odd since the main target audience for “supernaturals” is quite often the Hindi hinterland. The film is set in pristine, sanitised Romania. The married couple lives in a haunted mansion that could ideally house a hundred-odd Romanians.

The wife’s already attacked the husband with a kitchen knife. But the husband, like all disbelieving candidates in a horror show, can’t see how his wife could be under the influence of a foreign body living within. “Do you still love her,” his friends ask him. “More than ever,” he tells them.

In a fine statement on inclusive secularism, the characters employ Christian exorcism, Hindu sacred text, clairvoyant, tarot-card reader, and one “psychometry” specialist to get rid of the ghost, encompassing alongside a whole bunch of bread-and-butter horror pictures you may have seen in the past. Most of them quite often owe their origins to the good old, unholy trinity: Omen, Exorcist and Poltergeist series.

This one, of course, is the fourth installment of Raaz. It’s called Reboot, I’m told, because of some copyright issues.

Besides a couple of ‘Raazes’, one loses count of how many such pictures Vikram Bhatt has filmed in the past — Intehaa, Aetbaar, 1920, Shapit, Haunted etc. etc. Sure, it’s predictable stuff. But that’s to do with the genre, which like mindless comedy, is fairly easy to judge or appreciate.

There is a meter ticking inside your head that registers how many times you’ve felt fear inside the dark hall. That’s pretty much it. And I’m sorry, I felt nothing. To be fair (up until a fine climax), they don’t try too hard to scare us much either.

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