WBRi Movie Review - Raaz 3 (2012): Vikram Bhatt's Back with Bipasha Basu Horror Sizzler

Raaz 3 (2012) Hindi Movie Outdoor Poster in Kolkata

Kolkata, September 8, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) It has been a long time since director Vikram Bhatt, one of the most prolific directors of Bollywood horror movies, actually made a good film. While Haunted-3D, which released last year, did manage to do decent business at the box-office, it could hardly be termed as a genuinely spooky flick. That was followed by the much-hyped Dangerous Ishhq, which turned out to be one of the biggest duds of recent times. Bhatt now tries to bounce back to his original form, as he returns to the helm of ‘Raaz 3’ – the latest installment of a highly successful horror franchise. With sequels generally doing big business at the theaters (think Don 2, Murder 2, Jannat 2, Houseful 2), this was also expected to be uniformly liked by the audience. Does Raaz 3 manage to live up to its promise and scare the living daylights out of you? Almost, but not quite!

In ‘Raaz 3’, we meet the hugely successful cine star ‘Shanaya’ (Bipasha Basu). Shanaya is used to get public adulation and accolades at all times, and cannot quite come to terms with the fact that her career is steadily moving downhill. Her boyfriend, ‘Aditya’ (Emraan Hashmi), is a movie director, and ‘Shanaya’ tries to take his help too to revive her sagging career – but all to no avail.

The declining fortunes of Shanaya have much to do with the rapid rise to fame of a much younger colleague, Sanjana (Esha Gupta). Jealousy, quite inevitably, rears its ugly head, as the former starts resorting to distinctly underhand means to jeopardize Sanjana’s career. This is where the spookiness of Raaz 3 kicks in, with Shanaya performing a varied assortment of ‘kaala-jaadu’ (black magic) and ‘jaadu-tona’ to bring her rival down. She even goes to the extent of using Aditya as bait for Sanjana. However, as the wretched luck of Shanaya would have it, her boyfriend falls for the charms of the younger lady. What happens next? Can the evil ways of Shanaya actually manage to become successful? Catch the movie (preferably in 3D, for it is rather well done!) to find out!

RAZ 3 (2012) Hindi Film Poster

Bipasha Basu, as the sultry, scheming, and gradually fading superstar, is the standout actor in Raaz 3. While her oomph factor has always been one of the high features of all her movies, Bipasha also brings a delectable mix of insecurity, nervousness, lust for vengeance and evil treachery to the character of Shanaya. Hers is the role that looms the largest in the film, even in the frames where she is not there. Bipasha has not had a solo hit at the box-office for quite a long time now, and Raaz 3 might just end that drought.

Watch Bollywood Hindi Horror Movie RAAZ 3 3D (2012) Trailer

The other lady of the movie, however, does not impress half as much. Cast in the role of Sanjana, Esha Gupta looks every bit as stiff and uncomfortable (apart from when she is going into the dare-bare mode!) in front of the camera as she did in Jannat 2. Gupta takes terrified squealing as a mode of acting (which, unfortunately, it is not!) and takes it to new heights in Raaz 3. In the highly competitive world of Bollywood, where the Parineeti Chopra-s and the Diana Penty-s are delighting everyone with their spontaneity, Esha Gupta’s mundane, soulless act definitely comes as a letdown.

What does Emraan Hashmi, the Man of Many Kisses, get to do in a film, where he has two gorgeous ladies as co-stars? That’s right, he goes overdrive with his…well... tongue-work! There is a lovemaking scene between Aditya and Shanaya right at the start of the movie, which is all set to raise the bar in terms of onscreen boldness in Hindi cinema. Emraan’s much talked-about kissing sequence with Esha Gupta will also have you reaching for your watch (yes, it is that long!). On the whole though, Hashmi does portray his helplessness when stuck between the Shanaya-Sanjana fight rather well and there is an easy common-man charm about his performance, which viewers will find it easy to relate to. His movie director act is not quite as good as that in ‘The Dirty Picture’, but it is not bad either. Mohan Kapur sparkles with his stellar act. The others are relatively well-cast as well in their respective roles.

Director Vikram Bhatt pulls out all stops and tries practically all known tricks in the book to scare his audience. Some of the scenes are actually innovative and rather terrifying, like the sequence in which the clown appears or the one where Sanjana is suddenly attacked by a bevy of flying cockroaches. There is no shortage of other dramatic moments in the movie either, but they appear rather clichéd and have been used in plenty of supernatural flicks earlier. The film might have turned out to be even better if the makers had decided to pay more attention towards building up an atmosphere of suspense, than actually trying to startle the viewers at every possible opportunity.

A special mention of the 3D version of Raaz 3 would be in order at this juncture. Unlike Haunted, Bhatt makes good-use of this new-age technology this time around. You might just be spooked at the sight of stuff appearing to jump at you from the screen. There is no subtlety about the 3D technique, but the audience won’t be complaining.

Shagufta Rafique pens a strong script for Raaz 3 (as is necessary for any horror film to hold its own), and she is backed up by a steady, nuanced screenplay and crisp editing. The first half of the movie is decidedly better, since, as the reels move on, the scares (the attempts at it, at least!) start coming a little too thick and fast for most viewers’ likings. Die-hard fans of scary sequences will not mind this minor shortcoming though.

Talking about shortcomings, where Raaz 3 disappoints big-time is in its music. Probably for the first time ever, Emraan Hashmi stars in a film that does not have a single chartbuster number.  Among the songs composed by leading Tolly-man Jeet Ganguli and Rashid Khan, only ‘Kya Raaz Hai’ (rendered by the ever-dependable Shreya Ghoshal) somewhat stands out due to its haunting melody. Background score is, thankfully, okay and rather apt with the mood of the film. Vikram Bhatt does not go the RGV-way of overdoing things on this count (much to the relief of cinegoers!). Camerawork is excellent and does manage to put a feel of freshness on even the tackiest of spooky sequences.

Raaz 3 rides on its sound plot, the powerhouse performance of Bipasha Basu (and, to a lesser extent, Emraan Hashmi), a cohesive screenplay and plenty of genuine scares to soar at the theaters. An ardent follower of the horror genre of movies might just find some sequences to be rater unoriginal and Ramsey Brothers-esque, but that does not prevent the viewers feeling a shiver down their collective spines during many moments in the film.

Good and truly scary movies are relatively scarce in Bollywood. Although it is not his best work, Vikram Bhatt does manage to make a fine comeback with Raaz 3. After watching this one, you might just be a little terrified while picking up a glass of water!

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