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Upperstall Review

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Agyaat

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Hindi, Thriller, 2009, Color





A film unit goes for a shoot deep into a forest. They settle at a place with bare minimal facilities run by a strange and quirky man called Setu (Joy Fernandes). The hero of the film Sharman (Gautam) is a completely self obsessed man with no other concern except for his muscles and the leading lady. The leading lady Aasha (Nisha Kothari) bears with him because of his star status. Director JJ (Howard Rosemeyer) thinks of himself as Indiaís answer to Steven Spielberg and Producer Moorthy thinks the director is screwing up the film and stopping him from becoming the next Yash Chopra. Laxman is a completely subservient spot boy but with a hidden monstrous ego. Cinematographer Shakky is very philosophical in nature and Action Director Rakka (Ravi Kale) is a frustrated man who hates the leading actor, Sharman. Script Supervisor Sameera (Rasika Duggal) is a simpleton with ideals and a secret crush on the protagonist Sujal (Nitin) who is an Assistant Director, who in turn has a huge crush on Aasha. It all begins when the camera conks offÖ They have two days waiting for the replacement to arrive and with no form of entertainment or communication when Setu suggests a camping trip into the forest, they jump at the opportunity. As Setu drives them through the jungle around undergrowth in a relic Jonga, they begin to wonder how Setu can remember the way back as the jungle looks the same all around. As they settle near a pond for the night and sit around a bonfire Setu hears a strange sound. He goes to investigate and never returns. After a desperate search they discover his dead body. Panic sets in among the unit members and they jump into the Jonga but them being unfamiliar with the terrain and their hastiness result in an accident. The axle breaks. Now completely lost and trapped in the jungle as Setu, the only guy who knows the way out is dead, they donít know which way to move to get out of the forestÖ yet another unit member gets brutally killed thereby, making them realize that whatever it is that has killed Setu is out to get them all. From then on it is a desperate struggle to survive against that unknown entity...



Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) is a strange sort of filmmaker. Either his films directly hit the bullseye (Shiva (1989), Rangeela (1995), Satya (1998), Company (2002)) or mostly, they end up missing the target board altogether (Daud (1997), Mast (1999), Naach(2005), Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag (2007) and many, many more). Agyaat is clearly one of the latter. The film is, to put it quite simply, non-happening.

The filmís biggest failing is that it fails to grip you on any level. It seems to think that selecting an interesting location and then executing the idea (canít call it a story or script) with some fancy shot taking is more than enough in terms of filmmaking requirements. In fact, RGV hits a new low (yes, maybe even lower than Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag) with this ode to Predator (1987). There is no script worth talking about in this totally thrill less tale of a film unit stranded in the jungle and being bumped off one by one by an invisible creature. In fact, at two points of the film characters declare to the others that they are being killed one by one. Oh my god, really? The film has quite a few instances of inane dialogue like this. There is little thought given to plot development, characterisation (whatever little there is stereotypical of the highest order) or an engaging narrative flow. Some sequences like Asha exercising in the middle of the jungle in short skirt and all and concentrating on close-ups of her pelvic thrusts are plain idiotic. The ending is moronic and one can only hope that itís merely a Ďdifferentí ending RGV has tried and not a threat he intends to carry out!

The performances too are nothing to write home about. But then the actors have no scope and by and large have nothing to do except move about the jungle and try to look suitably scared. Nisha, sorry Priyanka Kothari, is unable to manage even this credibly. She is embarrassing. Nitin is so-so and Rasika Duggal earnest enough but thatís about it. The others all ham their way through.

Technically, barring some admittedly dynamic compositions which sadly fall flat due to the non-existent storyline, there is nothing worth shouting about. The enthusiastic camerawork is over dependent on the jimmy jib in a desperate attempt to artificially bring some semblance of life to the film. The songs are lousy, their picturisation and choreography unimaginative and the background score and sound design do not work at all. Thereís just so much you can take of the odd loud bang to scare you and you know by now from Ramuís oeuvre that mostly itís all for effect and nothing is really going to happen at that point in the film and you know what? Youíre dead right! One also suspects the first song, suffering from bad placement, is just to show off Nitinís body and dancing talents to Hindi audiences besides a bit of skin show from Ms. Kothari, of course.

All in all, highly, highly avoidable.


Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan


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