While it is heartening that Anushka Sharma wants to build a brand producing out of the ordinary content, merely the thought, noble though it is, isn’t enough. She must whet her projects more carefully. An idea that might have sounded decent on paper, Pari, directed by Prosit Roy, ultimately makes for dull and even silly viewing barring its odd genuine scary moment or two.
Actually, Sharma, isn’t bad at all as the last in a line of the descendants of the devil, whose main work is to reproduce and spread more of his ilk in the world. Sadly however, the film, which connects witchcraft, occult and mumbo jumbo between Kolkata and Dhaka in Bangladesh, is tedious, takes much too long to set up its story, gives us an unconvincing explanation and ‘moral’ (love ultimately conquers all evil), and is generally bereft of too many thrills. Some effective on location filming and the occasional successful creation of a chilling atmosphere cannot help a long winded narrative that is anything but an edge-of-the-seat experience. You give up trying to piece the mystery together and by the time the revelations come in the second half, you are beyond caring.
Sharma aside, Parambrato Chatterjee does what he can as the befuddled hero, Arnab. He tries to make sense of the events occurring around him after his family, with whom he is travelling, accidentally kills Rukhsana (Sharma)’s mother in an accident. He feels obliged to look after this supposedly naive child woman due to his own guilt with his family managing to hush up the case as a suicide. Ritabhari Chakraborty, however, gives a weak performance as Piyali, Arnab’s fiancée. Rajat Kapoor as the tireless crusader fighting the devil and his cult is adequate enough.
The technicalities cannot save the film. Ultimately, they are secondary to engaging content, and this point comes through strongly as ever through the film’s 136-minute running length.
As a fellow reviewer has noted, a pretty ghost (Phillauri) and now a descendent of the devil have not quite hit the bullseye for Anushka Sharma in her last two outings as a producer. Maybe she just needs to play a normal person for one. She couldn’t be more right. After all, simple human stories are often the best ones to tell. Just ask Clint Eastwood.
Hindi, Thriller, Color