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Ek Thi Daayan  : Dust Thou Art
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Friday, April 19, 2013
Kannan Iyer
Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin, Huma Qureshi
This one sure scares you...for a brief while. A young boy is so obsessed by witchcraft that he accuses his stepmom of being a witch. When he grows up to become a famous magician, his past comes back to haunt him.  

The plot: Master illusionist Bobo (Emraan Hashmi) has had a murky past where he lost his sister Misha (Sara Arjun) and dad (Pavan Malhotra) on the same day and he blames it all on daayan Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma), his stepmom. She has returned, it seems, and he’s all set to lose his success, his peace of mind and his love unless he can deal with it and change its course.

The good: Konkona Sen Sharma as the daayan-stepmother emits the right amounts of menace, innocence and laughter. Visshesh as the young Bobo and Sara as his sister Misha are outstanding. The first half works largely because of them and some heart-thumping scares. Huma Qureshi as the bubbly Tamara is pretty cute, but hey, she needs to knock off some of those generous kilos around her hips. Kalki Koechlin as the effervescent Lisa Dutt who enigmatically comes in post-interval, makes a mark in a 10-minute role. The film is peppered with witty dialogues (Vishal Bhardwaj) and an amazing background score (Clinton Cerejo) which actually take the story forward without hampering it. Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar work magic with fine musical compositions but the ace is Yaaram, sung fabulously by Sunidhi Chauhan and Clinton Cerejo. The backbone of the film is its strong and clear storyline (Mukul Sharma and Vishal Bhardwaj) which will grip you if you’re inclined towards the bizarre and the supernatural. There are ample amount of twists at short intervals which chill and thrill as you wait for the second half.

The bad: Emraan is effortless but it’s not a never-seen-before act because he almost looks like he’s strayed in from the sets of Raaz 3.  Even the climax down there is so Raaz 3-ish. It’s so typically seen-before Emraan that there’s even a smooch that just wasn’t needed there. It’s therefore hard to distinguish his performance from one film to another. A powerfully different story gets botched up in the second half because of needless theatrics, seen-many-times-before ‘witchy’ scenes and black magic that must be doused in the choice between good and evil. The special effects (Govardhan Vigharan) are not awe-inspiring – we’ve just seen better in Raaz 3 and some of it in Aatma too. The doctor’s death is a la Aatma where the pundit had to lose his life while combating evil. There is too much repetition – of daayans crumbling into dust, lizards dropping all over and long chotis that must be cut – which reduces the fear factor.

Overall: With limited appeal, what begins like an edge-of-the-seat scare-fest soon loses it spine-chilling quality.   

– Latika Mehta

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