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Film review – Raaz 3

by Jitendra Mathur

A Comedy of Horrors

A number of movies have been made in Bollywood under the title –Raaz (mystery). The first one was made in 1967 which was a suspense-thriller starring debutants – Rajesh Khanna and Babita as the lead pair. The second one was made in 1981 which was a traditional murder mystery starring Raj Babbar and Sulakshana Pandit in the lead roles. More than two decades later, the Bhatt Camp of Bollywood made a movie under this title in 2002 which was a horror movie with admirable music appeal. The hero and the heroine of this movie were not debutants but they had only one movie (separate movies) to their credit prior to that. Hence this Raaz was only the second movie of the respective careers of the hero – Dino Morea and the heroine – Bipasha Basu. A good script inspired by (or stolen from) the Hollywood movie – What Lies Beneath (2000) coupled with the fresh faces and above all, the melodious and touching songs composed by Nadeem Shravan resulted in its unexpected box office success. And in all probability, the makers (the Bhatts) got carried away by that success.

They made another Raaz in 2008, using the title as their brand for horror movies and made the audience to believe it to be the sequel of the first Raaz which it was not. But despite the poor quality of the movie, the pre-release hype led to its commercial success, convincing the makers that they could befool the public again by making one more movie under this title.

And so here comes Raaz 3 (though its predecessor was not titled as Raaz 2) in which the makers have not only cast Bipasha Basu again in a significant role (the negative one but the meatiest among all the roles in the movie) but they have also used the same names (Aaditya and Sanjana) for the romantic pair of the movie as they were in the first Raaz made by them. And finally, they have entrusted the responsibility to direct this movie to the director of the first Raaz (Vikram Bhatt) only.
The makers thought that by repeating the same actress and the same director as well as some titillating scenes, they would be able to earn lots of money again because the prospective audience would expect this movie to be on the lines of the original Raaz that had come a decade back and herds of spectators would approach the theatres to watch this movie. Hence they did not make any sincere attempt to produce a quality movie. Naturally, the spectators (including the writer of this review) who approached the theatres under the impression that a movie of the quality of the Dino-Bipasha starrer Raaz of 2002 would be shown to them, felt conned by the moviemakers.

The premise is good. It’s professional jealousy in the cine-world. Professional jealousy is there in every field and to get better of the competitors, all kinds of strategies are used by the players in the fray. In the cine-world, the aging stars are not ready to accept that their time is over and they have to pass the baton to the generation next. They try to stick to their position by hook or by crook, keeping their eyes shut from reality. Raaz 3 tells the story of such a Bollywood heroine who uses evil magic to pull her younger competitor (who also happens to be her half-sister) down.

But this good premise has been marred by poor treatment. Neither the script has been written logically, nor the picturization of the horror scenes is up to the mark. The horror created is childish as it used to be in the reign of the Ramsay Brothers of Bollywood during the seventies and the eighties. Except the character of Bipasha Basu, none of the characters has been developed properly. That’s why many activities by them do not stand to logic.

The hero of this movie (Emraan Haashmi) is notoriously popular in the cine-circles as a serial-kisser who has got typed for the roles demanding kissing and lovemaking skills the most. No wonder, this movie contains a handful of such scenes. But these scenes also not been kept logically in the script and hence the objective seems only to titillate the public and enhance the commercial value of the movie (considering the penchant of the Indians for sex).

And let me tell you that at many horror and sex-soaked scenes of the movie, I could not prevent myself from laughing out loud in the theatre. Besides, I was not alone to be in such a mood. I found many such spectators. In a dialogue, Bipasha says to Emraan – ‘If you love me, you can be stupid for me’. Well the makers may be thinking this way, the audience may not. The standard of the remaining dialogues of the movie is no better (actually worse than this one).

There are a couple of good songs in the movie but overall, the music is no match for the original Raaz whose album is highly popular even today and reminds of the melodies of the seventies. Technically the movie is very poor and the horror scenes make a ridicule of the supernatural element of the story, venting out all the horror that might have been embedded in them.

Performance wise, Bipasha might be able to relate to the role assigned to her (because after spending more than a decade in the industry, her age is not on her side and she has been facing fierce competition from the newcomer girls for quite some time) and therefore, she has pulled her heart out for this role. Definitely, not only the diehard fans (including me) of Bipasha have admired her but the critics also. The same cannot be said for the other actors of the movie including Emraan Haashmi and Esha Gupta (who has played the role of the younger competitor as well as the half-sister of Bipasha in the story). They appear to be sketches, not real.

If you want to relax yourself, then I’ll advise you to read or watch the classic Shakespearean work – The Comedy of Errors so that you laugh out loud instead of watching this ‘Comedy of Horrors’ which has served ridicule in the name of horror.

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