Amavas movie review: Nargis Fakhri, Sachiin Joshi's tepid horror film is eclipsed by mediocrity

An incredibly ungainly lead pairing, Fakhri and Joshi have more chemistry with the tattered talking doll than they have with each other in Amavas.

Udita Jhunjhunwala February 08, 2019 14:52:04 IST

1/5

Do not brush your hair at night. These are the foreboding words that are supposed to send a chill down your spine. As Sachiin Joshi says these words to a skeptical Nargis Fakhri, you wonder what part that hairbrush will play in this two-hour film.

Amavas movie review Nargis Fakhri Sachiin Joshis tepid horror film is eclipsed by mediocrity

Nargis Fakhri and Sachiin Joshi in a still from Amavas. YouTube

Joshi (who also produces) plays richie rich Karan Ajmera, who brings his girlfriend Ahaana (Fakhri) to his family’s neglected summerhouse on her insistence. None of the family has been to that cobwebbed house for eight years during which only a lone caretaker has been poking around its haunted interiors.

Goti (Ali Asgar) is a butler, caretaker and lame attempt at comic relief rolled into one toothy character. The first hour is a series of songs and late nights visits by the ghost. Creaking doors, locked rooms, things that go thump in the night — all the tropes are in place.

The body count begins post interval, after the story behind the abandonment of the house is revealed. Ahaana’s brush with the supernatural (pun intended) intensifies. New characters are introduced — a psychiatrist (Mona Singh), two friends from Karan’s hostel days (played by Vivan Bhatena and Navneet Kaur Dhillon) and a hapless matron.

Karan has migraine attacks and suffers from a sort of paranoia. His therapist reassuringly says, “Calm down” and prescribes doubling his dose of medication. Ahaana is blissfully unaware of his condition. She is more interested in playing hide-n-seek in the spooky grounds.

Director Bhushan Patel unimaginatively locates the events in a misty old house. Of course, the lights do not work and the visitors do not think of going home when things get hairy (okay, so that pun just slipped in unintended).

Every now and again the narrative takes a break to slip in a song. Yawn. Jody Medland’s story and Tanya Pathak’s screenplay check every trick in the horror genre book: a bhatakti aatma (restless spirit), decapitated heads, spirit possession, ringing temple bells, a bitten off tattoo (oh yes!) and a blazing grave.

The most frightening thing about Amavas is not the ghostly apparition floating around the darkened corridors of an eerie English manor house. It is that this couple that knows nothing about each other’s past and talks about nothing real, thinks they have a shot at a future as a married couple. An incredibly ungainly lead pairing, Fakhri and Joshi have more chemistry with the tattered talking doll than they have with each other.

As for the significance of the title, spirits get stronger during an eclipse, we are told. Watch this total eclipse of the art at your own peril.

Rating: *

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