Directed by: Vikram Bhatt
Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Bipasha Basu, Esha Gupta
All pictures courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com
It is easy to dismiss a Vikram Bhatt film, where necklines head south to the navel and hemlines rarely go below the mid-thigh as sauciness,silliness and screams but thankfully Raaz 3 also contains a secret of its own which is using the sublime to stage a battle of wills between opposing forces. In other words, look beyond the heavy petting and regular rest stops at clicheville and we actually have a rather interesting film at hand. Using the Hindi film industry as its backdrop, Raaz 3 assures itself of the initial premise in the first installment, where the supernatural actually becomes an extended metaphor for battling with one’s own inner demons.
It doesn’t always work – the half sister storyline is weak as are some of the dialogues which belong in a what not to say in a horror film guide (“I’ll lock the door and be right back”) or my personal favourite, shagging the evil out of the possessed person (though that is how I imagine Emraan’s on-screen persona deals with most things). But the idea of insecurity and uncertainty driving evil, exacerbated by superstition in a modern setting makes for an interesting debate as does the whole science versus religion strand which is clumsily handled but works well. I also liked the way the battle for Sanjana’s soul was represented – though it may have been by numbers, it still makes for an entertaining climax to the film.
The biggest ace card in Raaz 3’s bag of tricks is the performances. Emraan plays his role super straight, with no embellishment and it works, as he is able to step up when the script calls for it and be conspicuous by his absence at the same time. Esha also does a very good job, giving her all to the role and finding her space – she especially shines in the emotional scenes, managing to evoke empathy rather than irritation from the viewer. However, this film belongs to Bipasha Basu, who undergoes a cartharsis of sorts, really unleashing a raw energy that surprises and shows further promise in the right hands. Whilst Raaz 3 is perfectly within Basu’s brand remit as a glamazon, a reinvention and surge forward has long been on the cards and it seems Bipasha is rightly taking those first tentative steps.
Inspite of my cynicism, I did enjoy Raaz 3. I saw it in 2D though I can see how the 3D would have added value to the film. Having said that, a good film should work regardless of the format it is presented in and when Raaz 3 gets the balance correct, it makes for a good film that shows that this franchise still has some life left in it. Though not unmissable, I recommend watching this with the view that it is a guilty pleasure, a film one shouldn’t really enjoy but does. Well, that’s my secret out of the bag then….