Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that the Indian brand of horror still has a fan following. The leaders of the pack, the Ramsays are considered industry leaders – and are one of the rare families on which a book’s been written. Current pop culture has time and again taken to this kind of film-making. Whether it’s a Miss Lovely or a Meri Pyaari Bindu, the Indian brand of horror is always there, right, front and centre.
So, when Varun Thakur decides to create Shaitaan Haveli using all the ingredients that made the Ramsays, the Harinam Singhs and the Vinod Talwars and their brand of cinema tick, it already has an audience. Here’s our review of the new Amazon Prime Original, Shaitaan Haveli
An out of luck director, Hariman is forced to make a horror film after his last film tanks and an underworld don wants his money back. Hariman Singh comes up with a plan. He convinces the gangster to let him direct the gangster’s son, Monty’s launch vehicle. Monty’s girl-friend, Julia, is part of the deal. While all this is going on, Hariman decides to cast an out of luck actor, Mukesh, but as the main villain. Now, Mukesh wants to exact his revenge for his humiliation. Add to this Rahul, a struggling actor who’s cast as one of the hero’s friends, along with Prathana, a TV heroine that’s out of luck – and we have a entertaining rid on our hands.
What’s WOW? There couldn’t be a better ode to the magic of the horror films of the eighties. Varun Thakur has got all of it right – the scenes and the mannerisms will remind audiences of a Deepak Parashar or a Javed Khan or a Mohnish Bahl. And add to this the similarities of the heroines to the yesteryear starlets like Aarti Agarwal. Of course, what’s an 80s horror series without the main antagonist reminding people of Anirudh Agarwal, who played the demon in all the Ramsay films?
Varun hasn’t relied on only the ‘intrigue’ factor. He has come up with a good enough script and a screenplay that’s the backbone of this absurd comedy cinema. The performances are spot on and makes for interesting viewing. We’d call the concept pulp, with enough twists and turns to keep the audience interested in the outcome. Director Ajay Singh is spot on with paying tributes to some of the actual sequences from such films – right down to the camera angles.
What’s Blah? There’s nothing much wrong with the series for the younger generation. The production values are good, there’s this humor aspect that’s spot on, so on and so forth However, it seems a little superfluous to the audience who’s watched this kind of cinema.
Parting Shot: Shaitaan Haveli is a great ode to the cinema of a forgotten era of film making.
Director: Ajay Singh
Cast: Varun Thakur, Bhupesh Singh, Neha Chauhan
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