With a flurry of below par and sometimes unfathomable(read Bhoot Returns) horror films swarming the Indian moviegoer, the very title of Ek Thi Daayan drawing stark parallels to Ek Tha Tiger was putting me off. I thought it would unquestionably turn out to be one of those “lets spook you out of your seats” drama with the Kissing King Emraan Hashmi hammering in some of his trademark smooches. The question was how many of the three heroines would get assaulted. But then something happened and I came to know that it was actually written by Vishal Bharadwaj and Mukul Sharma. I was interested. Vishal Bharadwaj has never disappointed me with his movies and now for me, Ek Thi Daayan deserved a view at least.
Bobo(Emraan Hashmi) is a magician living a happy and fulfilling life with his girlfriend Tamara(Huma Qureshi) who starts feeling a strange presence around him and seeks out the help of a psychiatrist. As the doctor sends him into a hypnotic sleep, the viewer make their way guided by Bobo into his sinister past. A past which is marked by the shocking arrival of Dayna(Konkona Sen Sharma), a creature from hell, which Bobo believes exists in every building, deep down in its core. Dayna gradually makes her way into his family and wins over the heart of his father. Bobo fights tooth and nail to prove his point but the creature outsmarts him at every stage finally accomplishing its motives.
Bobo however has the last say and vanquishes the evil but now after so many years and so many tears he starts feeling that, the evil that had destroyed his life and happiness is finally back in the form of Liza Dutt(Kalki Koelchin) to haunt him again. soon Bobo finds the love of his life being threatened by Liza but is helpless in the face of her evil guiles. What happens next, forms the crux of the story.
Ek Thi Daayan, for once, works big time. the first half is packed with meat and loads happen. The initial cast and credit sequence sets up the mood for the rest of the story to follow. The track “Loutungi main” by Rekha Bharadwaj will suck you into an orgasmic feel of evil beauty lurking just round the corner to converge on you and suck you in. Its hauntingly beautiful. The visuals complement the track cut for cut and the hues used have been wonderfully thought out. The proceedings quickly take motion and the story moves at a leisurely but engrossing manner. If the story moved any faster the beauty of the narrative would be lost.
There are plenty of spook moments and some of the scenes will seriously scare the shit out of many. I never thought a lizard could be such a potent weapon of fear until I saw Ek Thi Daayan. I feel the urge to mention a few scenes here but that would seriously take away the fun from those who are planning to watch this one and hence I will pass. The introduction of Konkona Sen Sharma lights up the proceedings further. She is portrayed as this subtle and harmless human being who knows only to love and care and yet beneath that mask she holds an evil desire. The way she looks at Bobo and her kid sister tells us volumes about her desires.
The second half introduces us to Kalki Koelchin who is this flamboyant and chirpy fan of Bobo who wants to have her hands on his house. She never looks or act like the evil that Bobo sees her to be. That brings us to the lone weakness of the film. The climax will go down as common and beat-up without any novelty whatsoever. If the rest of the film is path breaking and unique inn every way possible, the climax brings down the wow! factor considerably and I believe it to be the primary cause of the film garnering only moderate success.
Huma Qureshi(the Gangs of Wasseypur fame) has a substantial role and does complete justice to it. The child artist Vishesh Tiwari playing Bobo’s younger self is a revelation. his performance complimented by the artist playing his sister really makes the chills and thrills of the first half work. The horror is transported to the audience through the actions and expressions of these actors primarily and they had to be immaculate in order to make it work . Both of them do an astounding job.
Overall, Ek Thi Daayan is an engrossing watch. it has a novel and original concept which could have been better thought out. The climax plays the spoilsport but still that doesn’t take away the wonderful things that it does leading up to the debacle. Ek Thi Daayan may not be the scariest horror movie that you have come across but it sure is spooky and novel. It surely deserves a viewing.