It is Definitely the Wrong Address
By MovieTalkies.com, 05 March 2009
Vikram K Kumar, the writer director of 13B has had an illustrious career, which began as an assistant to Priyadarashan. His latest film, 13B, has been made in Hindi and Tamil, with R Madhavan and Neetu Chandra playing the lead in both versions. The film, which belongs to the horror genre might just about arouse curiousity and generate a tad bit of suspense, but if it's horror that the makers are doling out, then they have definitely got the wrong address. There is nothing in the film which could get one scared; startled maybe. 13B has an interesting premise and towards the climax it does manage to pick up pace. But the overall impact is hardly exciting.
The problem with most Hindi horror films is that makers generally go over the top in the manner in which they use the background score, right from the first frame, even before anything horrifying has begun. It continues right up to the point where they build up suspense over every little thing. In this film, for instance, there is an illustrious Bengali film actor called Dhritiman Chatterjee, who plays the role of a blind man, who has a guide dog. As he lives in the same building as Manohar (Madhavan), the protagonist keeps bumping into him. He hardly has any role to talk about. In fact, the dog probably has more to do in the movie. The director just uses this actor as a red herring, as there is no reason for him to be there in the film. This over the top attitude is also evident in the choice of camera angles, specially seen in the first scene.
The film revolves around Manohar and his family, who have just moved into their own flat. It is on the 13th floor and the flat number is, 13B. The women of the house, which includes Manohar's wife (Neetu Chandra), his mother (Poonam Dhillon) and his sister in law, spend most of their time in front of the television, catching all the soaps being aired. After a while, strange things start happening in the life of Manohar and his family. It starts with little things gradually, till one day, when Manohar discovers that one of the TV soaps called 'Sab Khairiyat Hai', which is telecast everyday at 1pm in the afternoon, seems to be strangely mirroring everything that is happening in his familoy. It happens in the soap first and then the very same incident is played out in his family. His suspicions get confirmed when his wife has an accident in the kitchen and is admitted to hospital in a serious condition. She suffers a miscarriage and the doctors are unable to diagnose her condition. All of this is shown happening to the wife of the protagonist of the serial as well. It's only after her recovery is shown on the soap that Manohar's wife recovers, much to the surprise of the doctors. Incidentally, the soap is only beamed in Manohar's house. He confides in a friend of his, who is a cop (played by Murali Sharma). The two try to investigate into the matter. They dig up some clues and discover that the family which appears in the soap, was actually bludgeoned to death many years ago. The bunglow, where they lived, used to be on the same spot where the building in which Manohar lives, has now come up. The address of their house was 13B, which is Manohar's flat number. Digging into the past, the two discover a tale of murder and revenge. Manohar needs to unravel the mystery fast if he wants to save his family from a killer who is out on the loose.
While the part about the uncanny similarity between the events in the serial being replicated in real life, is a little unsettling, the film loses its bite once the mystery starts to be unraveled. The journey back into the past and the story of the unrequited lover is not sufficiently moving enough. Hence when Sachin Khedekar, the friendly GP, sheds his friendly image, there is not much of a shock. In fact, one is really not drawn into the movie and the plight of its protagonists, except perhaps for Manohar. The problem lies in the manner in which the film has been written. There is little that writer director Vikram can do to retrieve the movie. The music of the film has been composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, who deliver a fairly decent score. The cinematography by PC Sreeram is good.
The only thing that keeps the film going is the acting prowess of R Madhavan, with some great support from Murali Sharma. But a Madhavan is not enough to prop the film. He does his best and tries to be as natural as possible. He receives little support from the cast, which includes veteran actress Poonam Dhillon and talented newcomer Neetu Chandra. Deepak Dobriyal is just about OK as the madman, while Sachin Khedekar's character's motives do not appear to be strong enough to warrant such a crime.
13B comes with a tagline saying that 'Fear has a new address.
Unfortunately, the film and its treatment do not bear that out. On the whole, a disappointing experience.