Movie review – Phobia – Unconventional? Yes. Interesting? In parts
By Joginder Tuteja
One wonders how the core plotline of Phobia would have been put together. Really, it is a very difficult subject to have been actually conceptualised, leave alone being executed for screen. The film brings together elements of quite a few genres. Phobia, horror, supernatural and some more – there is a lot happening in this Pawan Kirpalani directed affair. At times it is very interesting, at times it keeps you on the edge of the seat, at times it makes you jump off it and at times it makes you lean back and wait for something really exciting to unfold.
Though it is a tad flat in the first half while the culmination too makes you a wonder if all dots have actually been connected, one thing you have to give it to the makers is sheer originality that Phobia brings with it. Really, you haven’t seen anything like before in a Hindi film at the least. Guess that’s the core value that producer Viki Rajani brings with him, as evidenced in his earlier films like Table No. 21 and 3G as well. Former was superb, latter wasn’t and now Phobia falls some where in between.
The film gets to the point right inside first 10 minutes. Radhika Apte finds herself struggling with a phobia after a horrific incident and her friend Satyadeep Mishra tries to help her out. While they shift to a new apartment, strange things begin to happen. A nosey neighbor, an earlier occupant and a freaky girl come into Radhika’s life and begin to make a difference to how her next few days unfold. While a lot seems to be happening around her, Radhika struggles with her own demons, only to realize that there is a lot more to her mental state than what meets the eye.
Of course, this also means that there are some stock horror elements thrown in. Long walks down the corridor, creaking doors, muffled sounds, jolting moments – all of this is thrown in equal measures, hence reminding of many a horror scenes seen on screen in the past. However, there is a strong element of suspense that is build alongside that keeps assuring one that there is a lot more that Kirpalani has withheld from the audience than what he has revealed.
While the second half too has some exciting and some flat scenes to begin with, it is the last 20 minutes that hold your attention the most. A new chapter opens up at this point and completely changes the dimensions of the film. While all seems to be going in the right direction towards the big reveal, somehow the last 5-7 minutes don’t quite hit you like a thunderstorm. The edgy moments just before that are somehow diluted as Radhika takes that long walk towards the culmination.
That said, her performance cannot be faulted at all and she proves yet again that she is the one who can be relied upon for the most complex of roles. Others, including Satyadeep, fit in the bill well and play their parts convincingly. However, and as stated earlier, some of the loose ends don’t really tie up which makes one feel that the film just fell short of being a must watch.
Do give it a look if unconventional cinema with a dose of horror and supernatural peppered with dark edgy drama excites you.