EK THI DAAYAN-REVIEW

Ek THI DAAYAN Had The Potential To Be An A-grade Horror FILm.

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Ek THI DAAYAN A film that boasts of an incredibly talented star cast- Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin and Huma Qureshi – will most definitely leave you in awe, for they have, till date, delivered performances that leave you asking for more.

First-time director Kannan Iyer sets up the film nicely, introducing us to our protagonist Bobo (Emraan Hashmi), who appears to have everything – a successful career as a magician, a supportive fiancée, Tamra (Huma Qureshi), and even a young boy they have chosen to adopt. Yet, Bobo is haunted by hallucinations of his dead sister. When he delves into his past through hypnosis, he must confront his memories of the mysterious woman, Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma), who was hired to babysit his sister and him as kids.

The daayan is an ancient figure in Indian mythology. Wikipedia says a secret society of women with some supernatural powers was formed in the 15th century in Harangul, a village in Latur district in Maharashtra, India. Society resented them. Daayans are part of folklore and TV soaps. In some states, including Jharkhand and Bihar, the belief that a daayan has evil powers lead to witch hunts, leading to ostracization and murder of these women.  

Ek Thi Daayan is another Hindi film-maker’s reiteration of how popular culture and prejudices have long coloured the daayan—to be reviled and feared. In Vishal Bhardwaj’s writing and Kannan Iyer’s direction, witches and witchcraft are startlingly devoid of mystery, fun or complexity.

A disclaimer at the beginning of the film says it does not intend to stereotype women as daayans, possibly because of the outrage expressed by India’s most famous practitioner of witchcraft Ipsita Roy Chakraverti over the way the film portrays witches.

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Story- The movie revolves around the character Bobo (Emraan Hashmi), India’s leading magician. But unknown to even his girlfriend Tamara (Huma Qureshi), Bobo’s life is falling apart. His constant hallucinations leave him with no option but to seek psychiatric help. Going through regression hypnosis, a terrifying story about his childhood surfaces involving a sinister power called Daayan who has not only destroyed his family but also promised to return to haunt Bobo. He chooses to ignore it and move on with his life. Just when his career and love life is at full throttle, enters the irresistible Lisa Dutt (Kalki Koechlin). Bobo is convinced that Lisa is the daayan. But is she, really? Or is he just losing his mind?

Ek Thi Daayan has some terrifying, spine chilling moments. There are high, gripping moments in the film, especially the first half, it’s hell scary. Come to think of it, India’s horror cinema may have become slicker, with cool production designs and healthy budgets, but it’s still toddling towards attaining maturity. The formula of ‘thodasa romance, thodasa screams and sorcery’ still has to reach the next level. Kannan Iyer’s is a commendable try, but that’s it.

The music score is in the typical Vishal Bharadwaj-Gulzar groove, which is not to say that’s a bad thing. But the songs are nowhere in the ‘Omkara’ league. Entirely different genres, it can be argued — but come on, these just don’t have the same drive and energy.

Ek Thi Daayan had the potential to be an A-grade horror film but it’s an opportunity lost. However, I would love to see Diana get her own film and I’m very curious about what Kannan will do next. So if you want to  know  more about this movie Going to cinema and  watch this movie……

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