Direction: Vikram Bhatt
Actors: Emraan Hashmi, Bipasha Basu, Esha Gupta
What do film stars with waning mojos do when they fail to win awards? Swig whisky on the rocks and wallow in self-pity? Raaz 3’s megalomaniac, mantra-reciting, tacky-costume-wearing heroine Shanaya (Bipasha Basu) plays out those clichés, in front of a giant photograph of herself no less, before she seeks out the devil. But instead of the sell-your-soul-for-wishes route, she walks the twisted path — spook out the new girl (Esha Gupta as Sanjana) who’s taking your place. A totally foolproof plan, if there were just two actresses left in the world. Then again, logic and character motivation aren’t really the cornerstones of a Vikram Bhatt film. So, the ‘aatma’ called Tara Dutt (Manish Choudhary wearing too much kohl) agrees to help her, for no apparent reason. Maybe he runs a dial-an-aatma service, who knows? After reciting some gibberish that sounds vaguely Arabic, he hands her a jar of evil water that will be Sanjana’s nemesis.
The theory of the water causing hallucinations would be perfectly credible. But logic is killed and hanged from a fan when Aditya also sees the paranormal forces.
But you might forgive all of this in a horror film with impressive visual effects and scary make-up. Unfortunately, the grunting ghost covered in maggots belongs in a Ramsay Brothers franchise (they had less technical help in the ’80s) and the computer graphics imagery, or CGI, appears dated. The 3D is up to the mark (it’s not the dark, upconverted variety), but just ends up taking the tackiness to another level. As usual, Bipasha gets to show more skin than acting prowess, but is startlingly better than Esha, who competes with cleavage but forgets to emote altogether. Add to that every available cliché in the book — Ganpati to the rescue, ganga jal as a weapon — and it’s more likely to scare you away than scare you.