1921 (2018)

No matter how dumb and over the top, I have always enjoyed the Bhatt brand of horror. Some of their previous films were actually quite good. What I have always liked about their horror films has been the presence of an almost thriller-ish story that is in most cases difficult to guess at least till the halftime point. They dilute it in the end with some over the top resolution, but the stories have always had some meat in them to at least interest the audience. The story is the only redeeming factor in 1921 and when I say that I meant the film has nothing, absolutely nothing else to its credit.

The story revolves around a guy, Ayush (Karan Kundra) who is sent to England by his father’s employer after he is bowled over by his piano playing abilities. Ayush is supposed to look after the man’s palatial mansion as a caretaker and learn music at a nearby music school which, by the way, is funded by the man. Once in the house, Ayush starts experiences paranormal activities that he cannot explain. Helpless, He turns to Rose (Zareen Khan), a girl who has the ability to communicate with spirits. The rest of the film is about how the two uncover the secret behind the paranormal activities.

The film doesn’t have a shred of believability associated with it. The acting is so poor that not even a 5-year-old would believe what the characters are saying or doing. The visual effects and the character designs are so amateurish and poor that not even a kid would take it to be anything more than MS Paint created images. IF that was not enough the cringe-worthy and at many times laughable dialog proves to be the remaining nail in the coffin.

A horror film has to be edited well at two levels. One- at the shot level and two – at the sequence or story progression level. The idea is to withhold just enough information to create an atmosphere of intrigue but at the same time ensure that the final result doesn’t make the audience feel cheated. That is exactly how I felt after I was done watching this film. The film holds back important characters who assume key positions in the story without even showing us a hint of their existence when we tread their domains many times. That is not a good idea. However, that did help in this film to maintain an air of suspense but did result in the climax fizzling out. There were many junctures when the audience, where I watched this film, were laughing at the horror antics and at the dialogs between the two protagonists. After a while, I began understanding their reactions and I have to admit that there were a few moments here and there where I too gave in to that urge.

Vikram Bhatt has been in the industry for long enough to judge performances. I really don’t understand how come he couldn’t see through the terrible acts of all the major characters involved in this film. Karan Kundra has all but one expression throughout the film. He walks funny. He overreacts in situations and shares some of the worst chemistry that I have seen anyone share with his leading lady in a long long time. Zareen Khan is no better. There is no oomph factor involved with her character here and hence the only edge she has is taken away from her. Add to that her terrible dialog delivery, laughable effort at oozing dramatic punches and equally pathetic chemistry with Kundra and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. No other character in the film is even worth the mention.

1921 had an interesting story to tell but its lackluster execution, terrible performances, and horrifyingly bad special effects destroys whatever little chance the film had of making any impact. 1920 was a great franchise to start with but is increasingly becoming a pain in the neck with every successive film.

Rating: 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)




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