1920 Will Definitely give You a Scare!
By MovieTalkies.com, 12 September 2008
After Ram Gopal Verma's Phoonk, director Vikram Bhatt too tries his hand at a horror flick, only this time the movie has a period setting. Post the super success of Raaz, this time Vikram ventures into territories like rebirth and exorcism set against the backdrop of a love story. To Vikram Bhatt's credit, he manages to build up the horror element quite competently in the first half. In the second half even though the element of suspense is gone as the audience and the protagonist know what they are up against, it is still filled with spine chilling scary moments. The problem with horror films is that it is difficult to keep the fear-tempo going for a length of period; hence difficult to keep the audience gripped with any one kind of emotion but 1920 succeeds in this department for most of the film.
The two protagonists, Adah Sharma and Rajneesh Duggal are debutants and do a commendable job in roles that require strong performances. The film has a definite story in place which makes the horror elements more believable In short, the story, which is set in 1920, is about a Hanuman bhakt, Arjun (Duggal), who is in love with a Catholic girl called Liza (Adah). Arjun belongs to a rich Brahmin family. The lovers are caught while eloping. Arjun saves Liza from the wrath of his relatives and renounces his God and family, going off to Calcutta with Liza, to settle down in matrimony. An architect by profession, Arjun is sent to a far-flung village to remodel an old palace. His assignment is to break down the palace and build a hotel on the same site. The palace is haunted, a fact which has been hidden from Arjun. A previous architect had lost his life there in mysterious circumstances.
Sure enough, strange things start happening once the couple move into the palace. Liza is the one who is most affected by the happenings as the evil spirit dwelling in the palace starts scaring her, finally taking possession of her. Arjun is helped by a Catholic priest (Raj Zutshi) in exorcising the spirit till the priest falls prey to the spirit. Finally, Arjun takes matters in his own hands and manages to save the day. While tracking down the history of the palace, he finds out that during the mutiny, one of the Indian soldiers betrays his side to the British and takes shelter in the palace under false pretences. The daughter of the palace, Anjori Alagh, plots his downfall and manages to trap him, thus ensuring that he is ultimately caught by the freedom fighters and hanged to death. But not before he swears revenge on her. She is reborn as Liza, while his spirit has been haunting the palace all these years, waiting for her to arrive so that he can execute his revenge. He takes possession of her body with the intention of causing her death.
The haunted palace in the film has been very well chosen. The place oozes atmosphere; even the Yorkshire plains, where parts of the film are shot, are quite exquisite. The exterior shots are lovely.
Adah Sharma looks quite fearsome as the possessed woman while Rajneesh Duggal is pleasant on screen. Anjori Alag looks her part to the tee. Vallabh Vyas as the doctor is okay. However, it is sad to see someone as talented as Raj Zutshi ham it out as the Catholic priest.
Where the horror element is concerned, 1920 works and will definitely give you a scare.