The story of Bobo the illusionist dealing with bad hair days- some decades apart…..this being the really evil “bad” hair adorning the heads of the “daayans-witches” in his life. Hair that hangs well below the waist and sways like a coiled snake menacingly, containing in its waves all the horrific malignity of their bearer. The hair of women with back to front feet and opaque, glazed, black eyes. The “daayans” who sacrifice a child in the leap year so they survive. Who metamorphose into malevolent looking lizards when not in human form.
Bobo-Emran Hashmi -is an illusionist with a dark daayan infested past. As a 10 year old he was a pesky curly mopped kid, with some skill at magic tricks and a weird interest in hell, shaitaan and jahannum. A younger sister dogging him and a slightly harassed, widowed father. Enter-Diana -an eerie Konkona Sen Sharma-as apparently an answer to the father’s need for help. She progresses from being nanny to mummy, but fails to win over young Bobo who declares that she is a witch from hell and is there to harm them. For his pains, he is referred to a psychiatrist who advises counselling and patience.
The young man however is right and Diana becomes Daayana on 29th Feb, it being a leap year and the sister and father die. Bobo manages to hack off her trailing tresses though and she dissolves in a scream, promising to return to get him as he is one of “them”.
20 or so years later, our man is a famous illusionist, with a beautiful girlfriend-soon to be wife-Huma Qureshi and a child they are adopting-Zubin. The screams of a witch haunt him again and post a session of regressive hypno-therapy with the psychiatrist who treated him as a child, he recalls the events of his childhood. Shaken by this revelation, he is stirred into action when a new woman enters his life-first as a volunteer in his show and then as his wife’s friend and the purchaser of his childhood flat. He suspects her of being the return of the daayan and behaves accordingly. However, there is a twist in the tale or rather in the pony tail…..
Konkona is menacing as Daayana, Emran Hashmi is too restrained in fear, hate or love. Kalki and Huma are natural-though one of these is a not very terrifying daayan too.The psychiatrist is an un-necessary type-cast.
Not gut wrenching terror. No bitten nails. No looking over our shoulders at women with long hair and suppressing an urge to hack it off. Just not scary enough.
In fact, if the focus had been conveying pure evil through the histrionics alone, the film may have given a few more goose bumps. Fear becomes more real when it springs out of apparent normalcy. Damien in Omen and Vyjantimala in Madhumati come to mind.
The “yaaram” song is catchy but the rest of it not so. The ghostly creaks and thuds could have done better too.
All in all—-a not very scary movie.