Despite being a prolific industry that churns out several films a year, one of my major grouses against the Hindi film industry is that it does not really explore a wide variety of genres. Encouraged by the success of a bunch of horror films over the last decade and a half, some filmmakers ventured into this genre but most of them resorted to incorporating clich?s and cheap thrills to woo the audience, as a result of which horror, as a genre, failed to make its mark as a mainstream genre. I watched director Mike Flanagan's 'Oculus' a couple of days back. While I quite enjoyed the film, I hoped director Prawaal Raman would bring in a few corrections in its Hindi remake 'Oculus', which stars real life siblings Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem.
Kabir Merchant (Saqib Saleem) is released from a detention centre after being arrested as an eleven year old on the charges of murdering his father. Though Kabir was in denial for several years, he brings himself to believe that he, indeed, killed his father. His sister Natasha (Huma Qureshi) refuses to buy this and insists that it was a mirror, possessed by an evil supernatural spirit, which was behind the death of their parents. Kabir finds this notion to be ridiculous and asks her to accept the fact that their father killed their mother and Kabir, in a fit of rage, murdered his father. After a lot of deliberation, Kabir agrees to be a part of a plan conceived by Natasha which she feels would bring the fact to the fore that the mirror is behind all the havoc created in their lives.
The original film did not throw any light on the origin or the motive of the spirit in the mirror. Prawaal, who has written the adapted screenplay, weaves a small backstory for the spirit besides making a few more additions and alterations in the original screenplay (Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard) some of which do work well for the film. How one wishes he had worked on a couple of weak areas as well. It is a little difficult to digest the fact that a young woman, who has gone through so much already, would decide to put an end to the menace of a spirit which comes across as invincible. Given the mirror's history, which she has researched upon herself, one fails to understand as to what gave her the idea she could destroy it all by herself.
While the spirit's backstory (introduced in the opening credits itself) gave a nice touch to the plot, the first half should have been crisper. The conversations between the siblings seem to be never-ending and there is too much information being given to the viewers, a lot of which was unnecessary. The second half has a much faster pace and the scares are quite aplenty.
The relationship shared by Huma and Saqib comes across well on the screen. The performances by the child actors Rysa Saujani and Abhishek Singh help a great deal in establishing the dynamics of the relationship shared between the grown up characters. The father's character has been etched out better than it was in the original and Adil Hussain does a splendid job especially in the portions in which he is possessed by the spirit. Lisa Ray goes a little overboard in a few scenes but overall, delivers a decent performance. Madalina Bellariu Ion delivers a suitably petrifying performance as Anna.
'Dobaara See Your Evil' is a faithful remake of a horror film that was never great in the first place but managed to shiver down your spine sporadically. The Hindi remake succeeds in doing the same to a good extent.