Mayank Shekhar's Review: Help!
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Mayank Shekhar's Review: Help!

The violent woman in this movie suffers from OCD, when her psychotic symptoms include insulating herself from the world, screaming, furiously painting with charcoal on walls, books, everywhere. Read the full review.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2010 14:10 IST
Mayank Shekhar
Mayank Shekhar
Hindustan Times

Direction: Rajeev Virani
Actors: Bobby Deol, Mugdha Ghodse
Rating: *1/2

Most would recognise obsessive-compulsive as a fairly mild anxiety disorder. About everyone I know suffers from some form of OCD or the other: it could be an obsession with repeatedly washing your hands, playing with eye-brow, shopping for shoes, watching bad films....

The violent, oldish woman in this movie suffers from OCD, when her psychotic symptoms include insulating herself from the world, screaming, yelling, furiously painting with charcoal on walls, books, everywhere. This diagnosis should, in no way, discredit the filmmaker’s grasp of psychology and medicine though.

They have after all a special, wheel-chaired Dr Motwane (Shreyas Talpade) on their rolls. He’s what they call a “para-psychologist”, at University of Mauritius, no less.

Epilepsy, hallucinations and other psychiatric problems, Dr Motwane says, are merely symptoms of a body possessed by a disturbed aatma (soul). Neuro-science is all bunkum. This process of possession, he patiently lectures, takes place over five steps. One, “manifestation”: when the disturbed soul eyes the victim. Two, “infestation”: when the soul makes its presence felt. Three, “oppression”: when it isolates the victim. Four, “possession”: when the soul enters the victim’s body. Five, of course, death: when the soul kills the victim off, its purpose served.

Since no visuals in the film will scare you while a doorknob loudly creaks like a mooing cow, the filmmakers hope a PowerPoint presentation on their picture’s premise should help induce some fear of the devil. For God’s sake, the 'aatma' is always around us after all. We constantly doubt its existence like dum dums, because the 'aatma’ itself likes it that way. Point well taken. The source’s google. The hero types in “unexplained” demonic possessions on the search engine as if they come in “explained” varieties as well. His wife (Mugdha Ghodse) is evidently between the fourth and the fifth stage of possession.

The menacing soul has been placed before you not to spook the living daylights out of anyone, but so we can figure its source, history, origins and motives. This is a suspense thriller. No s**t, Sherlock, you didn’t quite enter the wrong theatre.

While we’re at it, let’s give the devil its due. This remains the only film admittedly of the horror genre that still manages to squeeze in a full-on, slick music video: hero broods, grimaces, dreamily stares away, the camera admires his poses in montage shots. He plays a super-star, literally! They even upturn a car as for an action flick to befit his precious presence. And you know a picture is sweetly polished when not even a dead body is spared: it appears decked up, with make-up on, cleavage showing, laid up in the coffin.

They couldn’t have timed their date of release more perfectly either: the ominous Friday, the 13th. So what exactly are you doing tonight? If you’ve had a ‘fried day’ at work, I suggest you walk into this film. Compare what your day was like to the dumbness on the screen. If the latter seems harder to take, you know you should keep your job. This is really a feel-good flick that way!

First Published: Aug 14, 2010 10:55 IST