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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Film review: 'Pari' flies between fairy tale and horror

While some horror films bring blood and gore, director Prosit Roy's debut moves with purpose - until the climax

Pari is Prosit Roy's first film as the main director and Anushka Sharma's first movie release since her December wedding to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli. Universal Pictures
Pari is Prosit Roy's first film as the main director and Anushka Sharma's first movie release since her December wedding to Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli. Universal Pictures

With Pari, an A-list Bollywood actress has decided to both produce and star in a horror film, so what are the results?

Pari is the first movie of Anushka Sharma to be released since her high-profile wedding to Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli. Co-produced with her brother Karnesh Sharma, Mrs Anushka Virat Kohli's latest project ventures into experimentation with the horror genre. It is tastefully done, although lacks slightly on the fear quotient.

It is difficult to explain the following statement without revealing the plot, but Pari's strength is that it overcomes some of the weaknesses of the experimentation of horror films in the past.

However, in trying to be different, Prosit Roy's directorial debut fails to deliver at the end, even after having plotted and connected the dots well throughout the film.

Roy was assistant director to Anushka in Phillauri, a comedy film in which her character had a supernatural touch. Roy has done well with this horror, with each scene nicely shot and edited to make every second count when it comes to adding to the suspense and plot.

The irritating overuse of darkness and unnecessary eerie music typical of the genre has been avoided. Or rather, should we say, the story has been developed accordingly. The lush greenery of Kolkata, rustic houses, the character of a morgue assistant (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) and a Bangladesh connection all blend in well.

In Anushka's character – a frail fairy of dubious origin who yearns for love - there is not much scope for a supernatural flexing of muscles. But all these elements accentuate the fact that the horror part of the film is compromised. To its credit, compared with horror films usually characterised by mindless blood and gore, Pari moves along with purpose. Until the bland climax.

Anushka is outstanding right up until the final act, with able support by the ever-dependable Rajat Kapoor and Parambrata Chattopadhyay. Kohli applauded his wife's work after a screening on Thursday, calling it her best work to date, and he's not far off the mark.

Pari

Produced by: Clean Slate Films (Anushka Sharma, Karnesh Sharma) & KriArj Entertainment

Director: Prosit Roy

Starring: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Ritabhari Chakraborty, Rajat Kapoor, Mansi Multani

Three stars

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