Dobaara movie review: You won't want to mess with Huma Qureshi, Saaqib Salim’s mirror

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Jul 18, 2017 07:54 AM IST

Dobaara See Your Evil is a sleek supernatural thriller. Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem play siblings who have a tough opponent in a mirror. Here’s our movie review.

Dobaara See Your Evil
Cast: Hume Qureshi, Saqib Saleem, Adil Hussain, Lisa Ray
Director: Prawaal Raman
Rating: 3/5

Dobaara See Your Evil is one of the better supernatural thrillers produced by Bollywood in recent times.
Dobaara See Your Evil is one of the better supernatural thrillers produced by Bollywood in recent times.

Whatever is done can be done again. There is nothing new in this world.

With this prophecy arrives a possessed mirror that can manipulate your mind even before you sense it. It has happened many times before and it’s going to happen again. Your natural instinct is to destroy it but the mirror knows how to trick your subconscious. It’s a self-defence tactic it has mastered over centuries.

However, this time the potential victims, Natasha (Huma Qureshi) and Kabir (Saqeeb Salim), have braced themselves with the latest gadgets and a plan. They might not have realised it yet but the audience knows where they are headed.

Based on Mike Flanagan’s supernatural thriller Oculus (2013), Dobaara is the re-imagination of startling events that took place in Natasha and Kabir’s childhood. Their parents, Alex (Adil Hussain) and Lisa Merchant (Lisa Ray), are going through a bad marriage and Alex is fast losing touch with reality.

There on, it’s a see-saw between minds and you witness it with bated breath and tightly clutched seat handles.

Director Prawaal Raman knows the usual reasoning the average movie buff does around such films. Also, we are long past the era of the Ramsay brothers and even Ram Gopal Varma’s ghost theories. So, Prawaal doesn’t spend much time in establishing mostly anticipated backstories. He states them in a matter of fact tone with the help of sepia-coloured images and a voiceover.

But he successfully establishes an eerie atmosphere which stops you from laughing it off out rightly. He appears on the weaker foot initially but it’s a ploy that works tremendously in his favour. He is slowly making you realise the full potential of this otherwise simple looking story.

Unlike most supernatural stories, he prefers to tread a non-linear path and keeps inter-cutting between different time zones.

Dobaara is 105-minute long.
Dobaara is 105-minute long.

Dobaara gradually begins to acquire pace. You don’t meet new characters but they peel off their minds. The picture perfect family fades right in front of your scared eyes. You secretly want it all to turn out a farce but the cat is already out of the bag. Think of preventive measures now than simply burying head in the sand.

British author Ian McEwan’s book on the shelf doesn’t help either. The atheist writer’s presence on the frame doesn’t stop us from believing in black magic and witchcraft. We decide to go along Prawaal’s way, who wants us to take notice of his narrative style.

His techniques are simple but need solid acting chops. His two leads, Huma and Saqib, keep reminiscing in the past. Their chemistry is fine tuned. One looks vulnerable and the other provocative. And then they switch their roles. Somebody is definitely messing up with their intelligence. With bone chilling moments thrown in between, we are in for a surprisingly sleek film.

Dobaara is a faithful remake of Oculus.
Dobaara is a faithful remake of Oculus.

Barking dog, hypnotic eyes, whispering beautiful models, gloomy cellars, masks and a life-size mirror. All the conventional elements are there in Dobaara and are used judiciously and in right proportions.

Then there is Adil, who never drops an expression. His Jack Nicholson (The Shining) inspired rumblings send shivers down the spine and authoritative figure provides a blanket creepy tone to the film.

The sad part is that the other actors don’t reach the same level of commitment. Their expressions flicker when the viewer demands a final call. Sometimes the logic of not leaving the dangerous spot fails to convince. At other times, actors take it too casually and do not look scared.

Prawaal knows his strength and focusses more on jolt-giving scenes, but two scenes need a cohesive factor. However, Dobaara’s 145-minute duration saves him to some extent on this front.

It’s a faithful remake of Oculus and can make your hair stand at times. Hindi filmmakers rarely achieve such finesse in mostly predictable paranormal stories. Feel the chills.

Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha


    Rohit Vats is a film journalist who loves to read in between the lines. He can spend hours watching films and cricket matches. Also a script consultant.

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