nipped in the Calcutta, Jan 14, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Promising acting careers getting bud is not really an uncommon phenomenon in Bollywood. While actors like Rahul Roy and Kumar Gaurav, after fine performances in their debut films (Aashiqui and Love Story, respectively) gradually faded away, the immensely talented Divya Bharati was taken away from us by a cruel act of fate. For the last couple of years, it seemed that Shiney Ahuja, another young man with considerable acting flair, would join this list of actors, who never managed to do justice to their histrionic talents. Ahuja, who had delivered a stirring performance in his debut movie itself (the brilliant Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi), was delivering box office winners almost at will (Gangster, Woh Lamhe, Life In A Metro), when there occurred a sudden, unfortunate occurrence (which is best not discussed here!), that seemed to put an end to his acting career. Putting our anxious anticipations to rest, however, the actor (who was once touted as the thinking womans sex symbol) has made a return to films with the Puja Jatinder Bedi-directed supernatural flick, Ghost. The movie, however, is hardly the ideal comeback vehicle for Shiney.Ghost starts off promisingly enough, with a series of brutal and perplexing murders taking place at the City Hospital. No signs of the killer can be detected and there are no apparent motives for these random killings either. Just when it seems that it would be impossible to find out when, or how, these murders are taking place, Dr. Suhani (Shayali Bhagat), the glamorous young recruit at the hospital detects something unusual. She feels the presence of a supernatural force, which manifests itself at night and wrecks havoc in the hospital, claiming the lives of innocent victims in the process. In a bid to end this tumultuous situation once and for all, the investigating force appoints the most talented officer from its ranks, Vijay Singh, on the case. Intrigued by the curious tale that Dr. Suhani has to relate, Vijay repeatedly questions her, searching for useful pointers that might help him solve the mystery on hand. The daily interactions with each other helps Vijay and Suhani form a strong bond of friendship with each other – a bond that soon gets transformed into a feeling of intense, mutual love.
Our evil, supernatural murderer, is, however, not stymied by the arrival of Vijay on the scene (why should a supernatural being be afraid of a mortal police officer, in any case?!). In fact, it embarks on a fresh killing spree with renewed vigour, seemingly challenging Vijay to try and get to the bottom of things. What follows is a series of disturbing plot twists, evil manifestations, revenge and deceit, that would go along to prove that, nothing is quite as it seems. Will the young officer, with the help of his aide and lady love, be successful in unravelling the mystery of this affair? Come on, we cant provide spoilers of such huge proportions here!
Ghost does not offer much in terms of novelty as far as its storyline is concerned. Like many other stereotypical Bollywood horror flicks, there is a seemingly haunted building (a hospital, in this case!), only one person who can feel the sinister presence of a supernatural being and several twists and turns, which, for the most parts, are rather predictable. The romantic track between Vijay and Suhani is undercooked and, frankly, is quite unnecessary in a horror movie. The mushy scenes between the leading couple of the film somehow break the sense of anticipation and foreboding that the movie strives, but generally fails, to achieve. Director Puja Jatinder Bedi is amateurish in her treatment of the story and her style of narration also requires polish. The movie also cries out for a better editing, which would have given the film a tighter screenplay and a much smarter overall feel. To her credit, the director does manage to deliver quite a few genuinely spine-chilling moments in the film. Some of the murder sequences are shot with real finesse and style and are, technically, at par with the best that Bollywood has to offer. Sadly, such sparkling moments are few and (very!) far between in the movie.
Horror flicks invariably rely upon strong performances from its entire cast in order to become successful (think Bhoot, Ragini MMS). Ghost falls short of the mark on that count too. Shiney Ahuja, as Vijay Singh is easily the best thing about the movie. He shows that, his forced hiatus from films has not diminished his acting prowess in any way. Shiney, however, still appears ill at ease during the romantic scenes. Shayali Bhagat, as Dr. Suhani, looks pretty, then frightened and then absolutely terrified – all in an artificial, plastic manner. Her dialog delivery requires improvement too. The former beauty queen needs to take up her acting capabilities by several notches to be even considered as a member of the A-list of Bollywood actresses. Tej Sapru sleepwalks through his role. Deepraj Rana and Tabrez Khan leave a good impact. Julia Bliss is adequate. The rest of the cast are plain ordinary.
Ghost suffers from the absence of even a single hummable track in the entire film. While it is not an absolute must for horror movies to have killer soundtracks, there was ample scope for music directors Sharib and Toshi Shabri to do a better job. The background music, by Raju Singh, is grating. Cinematography and special effects are, however, surprisingly good in Ghost, ensuring that, hardcore horror fans would find their moments of joy(!) in the film.
All in all, Ghost marks a decent attempt on the part of the director to delve into the supernatural theme. However, the movie is let down by inconsistent performances, unnecessary (read: romantic!) subplots and a general feeling of predictability. The movie is technically polished and has a few truly chilling sequences. However, the loose screenplay of the movie never allows it to become anything but a routine (and slightly boring!) Bollywood horror flick.
Shiney Ahuja may yet find his footing all over again in Bollywood. However, films like Ghost are not likely to help him in his comeback efforts whatsoever.
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