MOVIE REVIEW September 2003
Darna Mana Hai
Vivek Oberoi, Saif Ali Khan, Aftab Shivdasani, Shilpa Shetty, Isha Koppikar, Antara Mali, Sameera Reddy, Nana Patekar
Producer: Ram Gopal Varma
Director: Prawaal Raman
The title is misleading. This isn't a scary film. So if you're expecting another Bhoot, you're bound to be disappointed. It's actually bizarre (may be too bizarre for many in the audience) with some thrilling moments thrown in an unusual format for a Hindi film: It is a collage of six individual stories strung together into the main plot.
Six friends take refuge in a dilapidated house within the jungle when their car breaks down on a chilly, stormy night. They have to wait till sunrise to be able to leave the place and so to while away their time, they decide to tell each other stories. Six spontaneously devised weird stories, with strange characters like an eccentric hotel manager who hates cigarettes, a puzzled schoolteacher, human-eating apples, a ghost and a college student blessed with superhuman powers.
But alas, with six interesting, crisply edited stories comes one disappointing ending. You begin to wonder why Ramu's films start off with a bang but end in a whimper. (remember Bhoot ?).
Performances by the truckload of protagonists are competent. Particularly impressive are the cameos by Shilpa Shetty, Vivek Oberoi, Nana Patekar (playing a ghost) and Saif Ali Khan. Even a non-performer like Aftab Shivdasani is good in this songless, experimental movie.
Like in all Ram Gopal Varma's movies, the sound design here too is superb. What's more, even the silence is used to devastating effect.
Last heard, Varma is planning a sequel to Darna Mana Hai, titled Darna Zaroori Hai!
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