Ek Thi Daayan (2013) – A Journey into the Underworld

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The daayans from Bollywood made their star-studded entrance into the foyer of cinema biz last Friday (April 19, 2013), in what was one of the most anticipated moments in the Bollywood calendar. With the witchy sultriness of some of Bollywood’s top actors, Ek Thi Daayan arrived with a riveting aura surrounding it—something unique, something classic. Helming the motions, Emraan Hashmi stars as Magician Bobo—not just any other magician, but a born magician whose roots lied dug under the coils of unspiritual sorcery. Aided by the striking, mystical, and—watch your eyes—the witchy sanity of Konkona Sen Sharma (Diana aka Lisa Dutt), and Huma Qureshi who lends her talent as Tamara, while the mysterious vamp, Kalki Koechelin, adds her paranoiac point-of-view to the thrills of this movie. Together these first-rate actors pledge to construct a magical piece that would immortalize Daayan-wood as a trendy pattern in film folklore as opposed to the horrific illustrations of the ear-to-mouth transmitters of witchcraft and black magic.

Emraan Hashmi plays the character of a psychologically defeated magician whose past seems to be very alive in his present. Tortured to pits by revelations of past hobbies, Emraan decides to show his mental agonies the exit door through a trial in hypnosis. While in this fantasy state, the viewers come across Bobo, aged 11 (Vishesh Tiwari), reading a fanatic scripture, a know-it-all book on Witches and the Devil. This young Bobo has his little sister around, Misha—cute and adorable. Young Bobo’s thirst for knowledge of all related to the world beyond the cemetery is what takes him to the Devil’s workplace—from where, subsequently, our Queen of the Dark appears, the striking soon-to-be half mother of Bobo and his sister Misha! From that juncture, the movie takes a steep turn and strikes upwards in the graph towards y-axis—with the stage set for a dramatic, incredible culmination of a saga of paramount mystery, Ek Thi Daayan.

In this thrilling drama, the acts until the interval (a Bollywood trademark) were cyclonic. One could not have excelled any further than director Kannan Iyer did with his direction and Vishal Bhardwaj/Mukul Sharma did—with the screenplay. The first half of the movie was gripping, interesting, paced well, and wonderfully expounded. The rising action from the hypnosis until the dramatic midpoint twist on February 29, before the interval left one bamboozled in mental anguish. The second half started in an intense tone, with the elaborations of the first half—needing dramatization and the consequence of Young Bobo’s actions awaiting a grand finale, the face-off against the devil in a grand twist, yet to be mended. The pulses were high, as Bollywood had discovered a unique supernatural thriller, subsequently in a tone of anticlimax, Ek Thi Daayan hit downwards towards the negative y-axis—almost the pace of a 0-60 mph for a BMW. What started as an electric supernatural thriller transformed into a melodrama, a brooding prostitute who has no place to go but the brothel.

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When the eventuality occurred, Ek Thi Daayan glorified itself as a movie that could have become a cult but somewhere along the mark, missed the one point towards perfection. A story of a typical good vs. evil could have become a historic take on the folktales surrounding the witches in South Asia. In the call of fairness, the best portions of the movie involve Young Bobo, Misha (Bobo’s sister), Diana, and Bobo’s father—the session of hypnosis, the shock of past burials. The standout performer in this magical show, undoubtedly, Vishesh Tiwari, as he produces one rollercoaster exhibition of thrills—in a movie packed with powerful characters. Ek Thi Daayan—for the thrills and spills in the truest manner—is a movie worthy of watch for any Bollywood follower in thirst of originality. The song Yaaram is a beautiful melody for a true Yaaram.

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