'Pari' is the third film to have been produced by Clean Slate Films, a company owned by Anushka Sharma and brother Karnesh Sharma, in four years. 'NH10','Phillauri' and now, 'Pari', the brother-sister duo seems to be inclines towards ideas that are unique and have not been explored earlier. 'Pari' has hardly been promoted; perhaps they wanted to keep the content of the film under wraps till the time audiences stepped in to the theatres to watch the film themselves.
Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee) and Piyali's (Ritabhari Chakraborty) parents arrange a meeting for them. While returning from the meeting in Kolkata, the family meets with an accident. Arnab's father, who is driving the car, hits a woman. Though they rush her to the hospital, she dies shortly thereafter. Arnab, along with the police, visits the home of the dead woman and finds her daughter Rukhsana (Anushka Sharma) tied in chains. Arnab and the police are shocked to find Rukhsana being kept in such an inhumane state. Arnab takes Rukhsana to the morgue where her mother's dead body is kept. Arnab finds Rukhsana's behaviour to be quite strange and abnormal. He feels that taking her back to where she lived would not be a wise decision. He takes her to his home and decides to drop her at an ashram the next day.
Prosit Roy and Abhishek Banerjee draw inspiration from folklore, myths and real-life incidents to write the screenplay. They incorporate some familiar topes from horror films and use them pretty well and create compelling milieu and atmosphere for the narrative to unfold. Despite all this, the film engages only in parts. There are some genuinely scary moments in the film but the script, despite offering some novelty, fails to bolster a film that would make for an engaging watch. The screenplay confuses the viewer on several occasions. The backstory of Ifrit or the spirit is not explained properly. The Professor (Rajat Kapoor) is portrayed as an evil and ruthless person but that does not come across effectively as, at the end of the day, he is trying to kill the child of an evil spirit who, he thinks, will create havoc just like the evil spirit. Some characters, like the one woman/spirit who can locate Rukhsana through her superpowers, do not register an impact. Thankfully, the climax salvages the film to an extent as it offers a twist that surprises and evokes emotions at the same time.
Anushka Sharma gets in to the skin of the character and comes out with flying colours. Despite being the titular character, it is a part that seems undercooked. However, one cannot blame the actress for that as she puts her best foot forward. Parambrata Chakraborty adds dollops of charm to the likeable and affable character he gets to play. Rajat Kapoor plays a character that has not been etched out well but he gets several scenes to shine and does very well as an actor. Ritabhari Chakraborty has a very good screen presence and performs well too. Dibyendu Bhattacharya leaves a mark as Kanai.
Prosit Roy makes a confident debut as a director. He has a very good sense of visuals and how to build he right atmosphere for the written material. His direction definitely takes the script to several notches higher. The screenplay leaves a lot to be desired and the next time, one hopes he comes armed with a better one. Technically, the film is a superior product. Jishnu Bhattacharjee skilfully plays with light and shadow; camerawork sets just the right mood for the film. The production design, by Meenal Agrawal, is top notch.
'Pari' is a fairly good effort by a first time director. The film has novelty and style but suffers on account of a half-baked script. Prosit Roy shows a lot of promise as a director and hopes he comes up with a better script the next time he sets out to make a film.