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‘Durgamati’ Movie Review: Bhumi Pednekar’s horror-thriller is no scare-fest

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Directed By
G. Ashok

Produced By
Vikram Malhotra, Bhushan Kumar, Akshay Kumar, Krishan Kumar

Cast
Bhumi Pednekar, Arshad Warsi, Jisshu Sengupta, Mahie Gill, Karan Kapadia, Prabhat Raghunandan, Ashok Sharma, Ada Singh, Shoeb Ali, Shubhendra Gupta, Chandan Vicky Roy, Amit Behl, K. Durga Prasad, Muskan Lalwani, Anant Mahadevan

Bollywood Bubble RatingDurgamati Movie ReviewWhat’s It About
A bureaucrat (Bhumi Pednekar) is imprisoned in a haunted house for interrogation by a CBI Officer (Mahie Gill) and her team (Jisshu Sengupta, and others) to find evidence against a politician (Arshad Warsi), who is a suspect in an ongoing idol-stealing racket. However, things take an unexpected turn when Bhumi Pednekar gets possessed by a spirit in that haunted house, and she starts considering herself as Queen Durgamati. Is he faking it all? Or is she actually possessed? Will the CBI and police be able to get some incriminating evidence against the politician from bureaucrat? Or will he go scot-free? Well, for that you’ll have to watch the movie.

What’s Hot
Even though Arshad Warsi has the least of the screenspace amidst the four protagonists of the movie, he manages to walk away with the lion’s share of the praises. For all who’ve always seen Arshad Warsi in a comic avatar and wanted to see him in something more serious after ‘Asur’, this is a fine example. He plays an ideal politician who manages to help the poor and needy and make sure that he gets their blessings in return. But is he all that it seems from the exterior? Well, that fine line which Arshad has drawn between the good and the bad is something that’s worth a watch.

Jisshu Sengupta comes up with another noteworthy performance as a police officer who’s bowed down by the CBI officials above him but also manages to make the right choices whenever the time comes. The innocence in his performance is hardly something that’s seen in actors of today’s times. Even though his character is hurt, he makes sure he plays it subtly even when confronted by the person who caused the hurt.

The story by G. Ashok and Ravinder Randhawa is something that’s been really nicely woven with intricate plot points at necessary junctions. The climax of the movie, to be precise is something that’s brilliantly written. As the story finally unfolds and you slowly get to know as to what was actually happening all through, you are left in a state of shock. The screenplay by Shweta. J. More is something that’s to be credited for the same.

What’s Not
Bhumi Pednekar tries to pull off a ‘Monjolika’ from ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ but sadly, it’s a pale copy in some scenes whereas, in most others, she just looks like a woman screaming in a huge lonely mansion wanting to be heard by people. Bhumi is the sole person carrying the film on her shoulders, but even then, her performance is something that you were hoping to get some more. As a big fan of her previous works, I feel, she is the biggest let down of this movie.

I am still not sure what Mahie Gill was trying to pull off. A CBI officer who speaks fluent Hindi except when it comes to some of the sentence endings, just to show that she is a ‘Ganguly’ and thereby inherently Bengali. She fails. Also, as a CBI officer, she starts off strong when she asks one of her team members to get out of the room just for praising Arshad Warsi, but slowly, down the line, the character loses out on that gritty side of a CBI officer and goes into being a more caring and thoughtful woman. So much so that in the last scene of the movie, she is shown sporting a saree, without any justification, just to cater to that motherly-caring and womanly side of her. Nothing wrong with it, just that the graph of the character just feels mellowed down.

Karan Kapadia may be the typical tall dark handsome, but if you’re hamming your lines, you better stick to such smaller roles only and not go to the extent of doing a full-length role. Karan’s screaming and shouting did make sense in some of the scenes, but when you see that happening in pretty much wherever he is with an adult, it just makes you wonder why!

Moving over from acting to the cinematography, Kuldeep Mamania’s work behind the camera isn’t that great. I can understand that scenes in a horror movie would be dimly lit, but when you compare ‘Durgamati’ to a ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ or a ‘Tummbad’ you just know how bad the DOP work is. The scenes don’t have adequate lights in order to see the fine detailings, which at times are very important in a horror movie. For a viewer who would have probably watched the film not in the night and in broad daylight, half of the dark scenes would have just passed off without giving a single scare. Not pardonable!

The film’s music was composed by Tanishk Bagchi, Naman Adhikari, Abhinav Sharma and Malini Awasthi while lyrics written by Tanishk Bagchi and Dipti Misra isn’t something to remember. None of the songs or even the background score is something that you’ll remember after you finish off the film.

Lastly, the direction by G. Ashok is something that amateurish as per Bollywood standards. There have been numerous plot points which have been left uncleared even at the end. For example, there was an old man who was seen in a few scenes at the start, but somehow it was never cleared who or why he was spending time in the house.

Verdict
Bhumi Pednekar had a winner at her hands with ‘Durgamati’ but sadly, some lacklustre performances and amateurish direction make this AVOIDABLE. It’s not a scare-fest. I am going with 1.5 stars.

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