Dobaaraa movie review: Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu's time travel thriller is an engaging and complex brain teaser

Published on Aug 18, 2022 03:35 PM IST

Dobaaraa movie review: Anurag Kashyap's Taapsee Pannu-starrer thriller is one that needs you to pay attention closely but keeps you hooked from the first frame to the last.

Dobaaraa is a time travel thriller starring Taapsee Pannu.
Dobaaraa is a time travel thriller starring Taapsee Pannu.

Adaptations and remakes can also be riveting if you make them with a motive to engage and entertain your audiences. Anurag Kashyap's latest directorial outing, Dobaaraa, starring Taapsee Pannu and Pavail Gulati, is an engrossing and gripping tale that keeps you hooked from the first to last frame, barely giving you time for popcorn and loo breaks. Call it fortunate that after long, we get to see a film that calls for all your attention and requires you to activate your brain cells to be able to concentrate, sometimes a bit too hard to understand the events unfolding on screen. Also read: Dobaaraa celeb reviews: Kubbra Sait, Elli Avram, Ridhi Dogra blown away by story

A remake of 2018 Spanish film Mirage, Anurag Kashyap's adaptation is set in the 1990s when an electric storm hits one night. Then tragedy follows as a teenage boy Anay, who happens to be a murder witness in neighbour Raja Ghosh's (Saswata Chatterjee) house, is killed. Cut to 25 years later, we see Antra Awasthi (Taapsee Pannu) now living in Anay's house with her daughter Avanti and husband Vikas (Rahul Bhat). Coincidently, Antra's track also starts on a night with a similar wild storm and that connects her to Anay's story via an old TV set and a video camera.

How Antra manages to travel to the past and save Anay's life and what consequences these turn of events have on her present life, is what Dobaaraa tries to explore. In between, there's DCP Chandan (Pavail Gulati), who tries to help Antra and solve her case and even his story is connected to all the happenings.

Anurag Kashyap on the sets of Dobaaraa.
Anurag Kashyap on the sets of Dobaaraa.

I won't call Dobaaraa a typical time travel film neither it's sci-fi or horror but it has elements of various genres and to a large extent, that works in its favour. While Kashyap is a great storyteller, I loved that even at retelling a story — considering this is the first time he has directed a remake — he has done a very effective and impressive job. Sometimes, a complex narrative is what engages you more than bland storytelling without any edge-of-the-seat moments. Writer Nihit Bhave’s adapted screenplay does justice on this front and offers you an immersive experience. Even the editing is done in a manner that events don't appear too predictable and editor Aarti Bajaj does a good job at crisply and cleverly cutting scenes to make them for an intriguing watch.

The director doesn't waste time in character building and straight dives into exploring their stories and incidents that connect them to one another. Though a dark and intense story with well defined character arcs, I liked how the film has peppered some humour here and there to break away from any monotony from setting in.

That being said, the film needs you to focus and remain alert through most part. Distractions can ruin the experience and then you can't get back at joining dots of why and how this happened. At two hour 15 minutes, the film isn't too long, but a slight shorter length could have made it just perfect.

A good story can work wonders if it's backed by some convincing performances and Dobaaraa gets it right for most part. Taapsee's dilemma and helplessness are beautifully portrayed on screen. She flawlessly gets into Antra's skin and owns the character. The scenes where she's absolutely perplexed trying to understand the ambiguity of the situation are wonderfully written and performed. It's as realistic as it gets.

Pavail's character is layered and has its nuances, which he picks quite effortlessly. He looks quite comfortable despite all the complexities and questions his character is dealing with. Rahul turned out to be a surprise package, and though there's nothing funny about his character graph, he is the one dropping all funny lines and he's quite good at that straight-faced humour. Saswata, I felt, was the least convincing of all in the script. His story might be strong but in terms of performance, he doesn't seem to bring the finest of his acting chops on the table.

Dobaaraa has a lot that's unsaid and needs to be understood and that's where the complicated and complex plot works. Even if it's a scene-by-scene adaptation of a Spanish film, it has its own hold on the story and makes for an entertaining watch.

Dobaaraa

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Rahul Bhat, Saswata Chatterjee

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