1920 London is plagued by the same problem and has the same things going in its favor as every other horror film from the Vikram Bhatt stable. The list is rather long. 1920 (2008) Shaapit (2009) Haunted – 3D (2011) Dangerous Ishq (2012) Raaz 3D (2012) Creature 3D (2014). If you look at all these films, there is a possession or paranormal attack to start with. There is generally a creepy house or a farm or an enclosed environment in which the story unfolds. The hero or heroine enters the picture after the possession has been completed. He/she then tries to unlock an ancient mystery and release the tortured soul. In doing so he/she is generally helped by an old man or a cripple.
Each of these films is exposition heavy and all the explanation is done either by the old helper/cripple or through some letter or other correspondence which the protagonist lands his/her hands on. There is always a point in the film when the odds will occur insurmountable and then something will happen which will show a rather far-fetched way of solving the problem but it will be done in the end. Thus it can be said that the Bhatts are telling the same story again and again only in different context and setting. Does it make their films boring? No. Does it make them repetitive? Yes! To a certain extent. 1920 London is written by Vikram Bhatt and as you will watch this film you will know that it exactly follows pursuit of the same story arc with one minor change in the repertoire. If I reveal that here the film will have nothing more to hold on to your attention so I will refrain.
The story revolves around Shivangi, a princess who is married to another Prince in London. They are blessed with marital bliss but the arrival of a gift from India brings ruin to the household. The prince is possessed and no medical treatment can cure him. Desperate Shivangi returns to India where she is forced to take the help of a simpleton known as Jai who also happens to be an exorcist from Rajasthan. Jai and Shivangi go back as once they were in love but Shivangi betrayed him and framed him for assault which resulted in Jai being imprisoned for 5 years. He still loves her and decides to help her out. Jai arrives in London.
The film like always as an interesting plot. The story is well fleshed out and a breezy runtime helps. The music is great. Each of the songs, even though not always welcome, is soothing to the ears. The background score, the visual effects and the technicalities are as good as they can be. The green screen rendering is however horrific. If you don’t understand what I mean, you need to see the flashback sequences between Jai and Shivangi. The green screen is all too evident. However apart from those momentary lapses, the film remains firmly in control of the visuals. The picturization of the songs is beautiful and since the music works, the visual can be enjoyed.
Now for the flaws. Sharman Joshi was a really bad choice to play the role of Jai. He has absolutely no feel for the role. There is neither a sense of urgency nor the feel of horror that was mandatory to make his character believebale. Once his character fails, the rest of the story crumbles. Meera Chopra is equally bad. She is such a cry baby throughout that at many junctures you will hate her character and cheer for the ghost. She is also one heartless brute who didn’t even bother telling Jai why she framed him. Instead she goes around singing songs with her new trophy husband. Even towards the end she remains a pathetic crybaby who can do nothing but get scared and cry. Her husband played by the Splitsvilla dude Vishal doesn’t act. He shakes. He shakes his whole body, he shakes his eyes and he shakes his bed. He also makes Baba Ramdev Like poses but with less finesse. He is joke in this film.
That’s another major problem with this film. After a while and a few expositions later it becomes funny. It doesn’t help if you have a comic actor essaying a dead serious role. Also the expositions have absolutely no swagger or shock value like some of Bhatt’s better horror films like Raaz and Haunted. Thus the effect is liquidated and you have in your hand a film which can be chilling at times but is highly dis-satisfactory overall.
Overall, 1920 London falls short of expectations. It is just about average and will clock 2 stars out of 5 in my books. The stars are for the technical finesses and the occasional chills. The music will also get some applause.
Rating : 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)