EK THI DAYAAN is a movie that was well expected to be unconventional. Does it turn out to be unconventional? Here’s my take.
The witchcraft and wizardry is an age old superstition, Vishal Bharadwaj brings it to the contemporary world by telling the story of a magician, whose tryst with destiny begins when he gets addicted to a book, he brought unbeknownst to his father, which surprises him by guiding him to the gates of hell (as described in the movie).
The film starts well with the Bobo (that’s our protagonist, funny name in such a story), played by Emraan Hashmi, showing off his magician skills to a room full of people in awe of his tricks. In the middle of his famous rope act he gets distracted by a haunting voice, which sets the pulse racing because of the girl participating in the act being suspended in the air. Bobo regains his composure albeit at the urging of his girlfriend Tamara (Huma Quershi), but the incident forces him to revisit his past. His past being tied up to his childhood home which he visits again, reveals further more regarding
hauntings of his childhood where we get know that magic was Bobo’s childhood passion and introduces us to his widowed father, sister and Diana (Konkana Sen Sharma). The introduction of Diana into the family changes the happy family to the one which faces a tragedy. Out here in the present world Bobo starts experiencing all signs of his past with introduction of Lisa Dutt (Kalki Koechlin). What was the tragedy that he experienced in his childhood, the one he fears about now, who is the dayaan (witch) and how is dayaan related to the tragedy forms the crux of the remaining story.
Emraan Hashmi gives the role his sincere best to pull one of the best performances of his so far career. How many times have I thought and people say this about him? Numerous times in the past few years, he just keeps improving from one movie to his next. He might have been a candidate to the performer of the year with slight changes to his mannerism in the scenes where he performs on-stage magic. Huma Quershi performs decent enough as the adoring, care-taking girlfriend. Kalki Koechlin, brings in the required freshness to the grim screenplay till then. Konkana Sen Sharma does what she does best by delivering her performance with such an ease, she makes it seem as though the role was tailor made for her. If only the casting of the psychiatrist had been done with an extra care the cast would’ve been impeccable.
Debutant Kannan Iyer does more than decant job as a director, but this film passes off a Vishal Bharadwaj movie, so Iyer remains an hidden name. Vishal Bharadwaj after the honest effort of Matru Ki Bijili ka Mondola, gives another good earnest effort with this story. But falters with the climax, which is so underwhelming that it destroys the intensity built till then. Screenplay is good in parts, better switching between emotional, comic and horror (yes, that’s the first time I have mentioned the word till now) would have made it exceptional. He more than makes up to his stumble in screenplay by delivering one of the albums of the year, where all the songs remain with you when you leave the hall, especially Yaraam, and a haunting background score which is the soul of the effects, in horror movies.
There are enough spooky moments in the movie to make you jump off your seats, in this sense the movie comes in horror genre. Story wise, a whipping at demons, witches and science related to it.
To answer my own question. Does it turn out to be unconventional? Yes. Is it because of the story? No. It's because of the Emraan Hashmi-Vishal Bharadwaj combination.
All in all, a decent movie which is worth for the bucks you spend on this. If you are forgiving regarding the ending, get ready to be spooked by one of the best horror and unconventional movies in Hindi cinema in recent times. So 3 out of 5 for this one.
Feel free to give me your thoughts regarding my review.