Director Bhanu Pratap Singh has managed to give Bollywood a decent and logical horror film
When you watch horror films by Bhatt camp, you know what will be on offer. So you are in general already ready. Here, it’s fresh. For one it’s Dharma Productions. Secondly, Vicky Kaushal and his undying charm. And thirdly, the director who comes with no baggage. Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship is indeed one of the finest horror films in Bollywood. Not that it’s perfect. But what in the world is?
Prithvi (Vicky Kaushal) is a marine survey officer, a person good at heart. His wife and daughter are already dead and he often has hallucinations. One day, a deserted and dilapidated ship arrives out of nowhere at Juhu Beach in Mumbai. It’s his team’s responsibility now to investigate how it reached there and get rid of it. But seems like the ship doesn’t want to leave.
The story by Bhanu himself is layered, logical and edgy. Unlike the regular flicks of Bollywood where a girl residing in a lavish mansion has to be possessed by an evil spirit, here the film grips you with it’s unconventional approach. Although the film is inspired by real life incidents, the cinematic writing is just what you could ask for. The setting of the abandoned ship is thoughtful.
The writing is consistent. A fair amount of chills supported by good chunk of regular track of storyline running smoothly. The film balances these both. Overall the film for the major part keeps you guessing. Infact the suspense is revealed only in the last 15mins of the film and you are on the edges of your seat still then. Mind you, the suspense isn’t the one that bores you. You like to guess and draw conclusions.
There are also sub texts and a parallel track to keep your mind occupied while you watch the story unfold. The idea to give the lead a back story is also working wonderfully for the main theme of the film. So technically, the inner suffocation blends with the outer main theme of the film. Interesting.
The film is rather slow, not very ofcourse, but it takes time to grow on you. The screenplay here is intelligent, for it doesn’t bring in scary scenes randomly (barring only a few ones) and the actual terrifying moments appear as part of the larger frame work fo the story.
There is a part when there is a mantra recitation. It will have you frown. There is also an inclusion of the age old archetypes, pretty much disappointing you with the makers. Also, it’s not a film to shake you from inside out. But the one that has logical connotations. Now this is upto you to decide if this works for you.
Vicky Kaushal brings in a believability to the overall film. Saying that he is enough to fetch audiences to theatres wouldn’t be wrong. He lives his role well. Not a challenging role for him though. He does portray the emptiness of the character, his good hearted demeanour, and his heroism with equal conviction.
Ashutosh Rana has a small role and he is definitely under utilised. He is such a fine actor. Why did he have to do this role is a matter of concern. Meher Vij has her moments in a special appearance.
Akash Dhar has a good supporting role and he gives you a very good time. He also suits the role perfectly.
Bhumi Pednekar in a very very short role is just fine.
The film doesn’t have songs. Such a good thing. The songs would have hampered the narrative. Score by Ketan Sodha is reasonably good, could be better in some places. The sound design however compensates.
Camera by Pushkar Singh works very well for the positioning of the film. The spooky feel is achieved. The darkness is just right. Aditya Kanwar’s production design is also in sync. Especially the set for the ship interior is minimal but effective. Long empty corridors, various decks of different areas, and corners which speak dark language even in broad daylight have been created with great intelligence. It is because of this that the film finds its connect.
Editing by Bodhaditya Bannerjee is devoid of any dull moments. There is a certain thrill to the overall structure. A part of the audience might want things fast and chills in every scene. But Bannerjee has balanced the film as per its writing.
A good genuine horror to come out of Bollywood. Handful they are. This one adds with grace.