With 'Raaz 3D', Vikram Bhatt raises the bar for horror films in Bollywood, like never before. With some impeccable graphics and special effects that give the film it’s eerie, ghost-like voodoo sensation, we owe it to banners Fox Star Studios and Vishesh Films for delivering a commendable two and a half hours of worth.
This latest combo in 'The Raaz series' has more oomph and oo la la than we saw in 'Jism 2'. With background sound effects that will spoof you the next time you sit on the pot, 'Raaz 3D', and yes, the 3D version alone, is as effective as Indian horror has ever gotten.
The story follows an award-winning director, Aditya (Emraan Hashmi) his lady love-cum-black magic trooper Shanaya Shekhar (Bipasha Basu) and the third woman (and there always is one) Sanjana Krishna (Esha Gupta).
When all is lost for the god-fearing, pious Shanaya, she takes the help of conniving and soul-less, Tara Dutt (Manish Choudhary) and together they use Aditya to begin their quest to destroy the new actress in town - Sanjana. Things go haywire when Aditya disobeys and turns on Ms. Queen Bee Shanaya, who is not used to losing!
The story is unique, with an engaging, thoroughly Indian and religious plot, with several direct metaphors ranging from the might of Lord Ganesh, to the screams in a cemetery – all the clichés there could ever be!
The 3D graphics however, are marvelous, delivering some incredible mirror reflecting, hollow and depth filled scenes through water, smoke and glass, like Bollywood has by no means watched before.
Emraan Hashmi, the star we saw delivering his full potential, for the first time in the critically acclaimed 'Shanghai', out does himself yet again as a slain-puppy, lover-turned-superhero who eventually pulls off the walk of a Khan and the kiss of the original Hashmi, we first set eyes on in 'Murder'.
Bipasha Basu delivers her dialogues beautifully. With some of the best expressions and sequences, Basu is literally the queen of the film – swinging high between being a natural superstar and a manipulative villain. Hotter and smarter, Basu reminds us of the bold, two-faced woman she portrayed in 'Jism' and this time, goes even beyond.
The show stopper this time around though, is the fresh, dainty face of the month – Esha Gupta. Ms. Tall, skinny legs surpasses all newcomer benchmarks in terms of acting. With fierce expressions delivered to the 'T' and a hot-bod, Gupta carries herself through and through, with ease, fitting in as comfortably as a decade old star in B-Town.
Manish Choudhary plays an extremely fine, Gollum-like character, who is neither alive, nor dead. His voice is a show stealer in the film!
'Raaz 3D' follows a Hollywood-like, sophisticated story setup that can be listed as a combination of 'The Ring Series' – the water and Television, 'The Secret Circle' – a leach-man and transferring of witchy powers, and the life of a drooping actress in 'Sunset Boulevard' with Norma Desmond, in our case, Ms. Basu.
Nonetheless, what puts 'Raaz 3D' at a pedestal is Vikram Bhatt’s outstanding direction accompanied by a narrative sequence, with occasional, bold one-liners and spurts of abuses, written by Shagufta Rafique. After 'Jism 2' and 'Jannat 2', Rafique shows a new found potential for writing, in a language that is far more connected to the audience, than in any of her previous films.
Music Directors Jeet Ganguly and Rashid Khan do a just-above-the-average, fair enough job, which is pretty surprising, as Bhatt’s films have always been known for their out of-box, ear catching music – 'Ghulam', 'Kasoor', 'Raaz', 'Elaan' and countless more.
When a film like 'Raaz 3D', comes to town, you go in with little expectation and come out BIG!
With scenes that will make you jump in your seat, the film’s only claim to fame is its distinctive approach to horror. Otherwise, one - draggy in the early second half, two - a little extra jazz with Bipasha Basu’s ordinary, stiffling item song, three - a predictable, scary sequence with Mr. Clown and four - a disastrous ‘typical Indian’', shayari-filled finale, are the major low notes in the film. The film, however, despite its numerous loopholes, manages to keep your eyeballs glued to the big screen till the very end.
'Raaz 3D' does a noteworthy job in raising the Bollywood standards of horror-thriller filmmaking, but it stands as an 'in-the-face' reminder of how much we still lack in terms of concept and delivery. With an epic hero sequence, sweltering effects and great cinematography, the film doesn’t even touch 1/10th of the standards of say, 'The Exorcist', 'The Omen' and myriad films under such a genre, that were created over 5 decades ago.
Well! For starters, at least Vikram Bhatt sets our local filmy bar SKY HIGH!