Creature 3D review: It's Bipasha vs Brahmarakshasa and the audience is the loser
When it’s Basu versus Brahmarakshasa, you can’t help feeling she’s seeing more Bhatt and less CGI because her fear isn’t convincing (but then neither is any other emotion she attempts).
“Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
In the year 1943 my grandfather, Shri Vijay Bhatt made a film by the name of Ram Rajya. The unique distinction that this film had was that it was the only film that Mahatma Gandhi saw in his entire lifetime and 70 years later I, Vikram Bhatt, his grandson, am the only filmmaker to have the distinction of making a film that has its main villain entirely generated by computer graphics imagery. The film is called, Creature 3d.”
This is from an actual open letter that director Vikram Bhatt wrote to the Indian prime minister, requesting Narendra Modi make time to see Bhatt’s new film because Bhatt hopes that seeing Bipasha Basu hunting and being hunted by a CGI creature will make Modi’s heart fill with patriotic pride.
Leaving aside the minor issue of how Bhatt’s latest offering is actually titled Creature and not Creature 3d, it’s a stellar idea to organize a screening of this film for the prime minister. Creature offers an insight into contemporary India that can only be described as unique.
The prime minister would see how difficult it is to run a small hotel in India, which is what Ahana Dutt (Basu) does. Suppliers don’t send things on time, chefs are cranky egoists, guests are annoying little twits and as if all this wasn't bad enough, there’s a humanoid monster with a spiky tail that’s roaming around her backyard and eating people like they’re appetizers. Oh, and banks are meanies. Ok, so there’s a man-munching monster running around the property. Is that any reason for a bank to pull its money out of Ahana’s hotel and call it a failure?
That’s not all. Creature offers a nuanced look at the balance that must be struck between environmental needs and progress. The reason this creature is on a rampage is because someone cut down an ancient peepul tree that had a red string tied around it. That was all it took to keep the creature leashed. But then all these India Shining types wanted a highway, so the peepul was cut. Ergo, Creature on the loose.
At first, Ahana is told by the Forest Department that the creature is a man-eating panther. So Ahana hires a hunter, who returns victorious, with a trussed up “panther”. The hunted animal is yellow, with spots and looks distinctly like a stuffed toy cheetah that’s been trussed up and made to hang upside down from a wooden frame.
The real creature, as you may have guessed from trailers and hoardings, is not a stuffed toy. A professor (Mukul Dev) tells Ahana that this creature has a name: it’s a Brahmarakshasa. Here’s what we can tell you about it, without giving away any spoilers.
It’s a cousin of Davy Jones, from The Pirates of the Caribbean.
It could have been a b-boy, given how it does the crab-walk at every opportunity.
It has very bad skin.
If you aren’t an annoying honeymooning couple, the creature is quite supportive of romance. It helpfully stays away while Ahana is cosying up to one of her guests.
Legend has it that a curse turned a person into a Brahmarakshasa. This involved losing one’s family jewels and getting a massive, swishy and spiky tail instead.
Incidentally, Bhatt’s voice and facial expressions are what “gave life” to the creature. Tragically, over its running time of a little more than two hours, Creature has too few moments of the kind of inventiveness that we’ve hoped to see from Bhatt ever since he made Haunted (which had a scene in which a ghost raped another ghost).
There’s one gorgeous moment in Creature when out of nowhere, out pops Mohan Kapoor – from Saanp Seedi to Creature, now there’s a story that deserves telling – and explains how the Brahmarakshasa can be killed. The only weapons that will work against it are those that have been dunked in the pool at the Brahma Temple in Pushkar on Karthik Purnima. Why? Because to tackle a Brahmarakshasa you need the help of Brahma. Duh!
Another point that brought out the giggles was when Ahana’s boyfriend (credits suggest this role is played by an actor named Imran Abbas, but from the complete lack of expression on the face, we’re inclined to believe that it might be the name of a mannequin) says this line:
Apne andar ke rakshas ko marne ke liye yeh Brahmarakshasa mera marna bahut zaroori hai. [To kill the rakshas inside me, I must kill the Brahmarakshas.]
It’s worth noting all this young man had done was sing a few songs (badly) and hugged Ahana tightly on one occasion.
Most people watch Bhatt’s films expecting a comedy and although Creature has some moments of delight, there’s only so much of Bhatt’s CGI snarl that you can take. Bhatt hopes that the audience will at least feel anxious for Ahana because the creature gobbles up pretty much every man that catches its eye. However, especially when it’s Basu versus Brahmarakshasa, you can’t help feeling she’s seeing more Bhatt and less CGI because her fear isn’t convincing (but then neither is any other emotion she attempts).
However, Basu does look fitter than everyone else in the film. It’s no wonder she can outrun and outjump even the creature. For one thing, her balance isn’t hampered by that ridiculously oversized tale.
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