The “Phobia” Review

Phobia grips you. And we are talking about both the movie and the sense which pervades throughout the entirety of this surprisingly matured and nuanced thriller. We use the word ‘surprisingly’ because, let’s face it, Bollywood is not known for knitting a thriller within the confines of four walls. But Phobia comes forth as a welcome change from the mundane. With a tight premise of a girl suffering from agoraphobia who alienates herself from the outside world only to realize the demons lurking within the house, director Pawan Kripalani makes sure that the often used elements like creaks, visions and claustrophobia is used in a measured mix where the audience feels uncomfortable, yet invested in the development of the story. A prerequisite for such a horror flick is to know when exactly to rachet up the tension. Not allowing the audience to settle into a popcorn munching arm-resting mode is the trick and Kripalani achieves that with aplomb.

 Not allowing the audience to settle into a popcorn munching arm-resting mode is the trick and Kripalani achieves that with aplomb.

None of that would have been possible without the acting proficiency of the leading lady Radhika Apte. She delves deep into the turmoils faced by a disturbed mind and takes the audience on a roller coster ride of fear. Radhika has slowly but steadily risen as a bankable actress and her choices of roles bear testimony to her resourcefulness as a versatile actress. Phobia will establish her credentials strongly. Best part about her character portrayal being the tonality and fluctuating frequency at which she operates. She shifts from the unstable victim to a scream-queen effortlessly.

Props to the supporting actors too, for being perfect foil to the protagonist. Be it Satyadeep Mishra as the doting boyfriend or Yashashwini Dayama as the college girl whom Mahek (Apte) befriends or the terrific Ankur Vikal, as the mysterious and suspected-all-through neighbor, everyone adds layers to the story. It is a must for a story like this, where gimmicks, song and dance or expensive locales are not in the picture.

“Phobia is a movie which deserves a viewing. Be it for Radhika Apte’s acting or the sheer audacity of a director to make an entire movie inside a 3 bhk flat and succeeding in the attempt, this movie is for Bollywood lovers, who welcome ideas.”

The background music compliments the mood which the director aims at achieving. It is not loud and jarring, as some thriller movies tend to turn into, but works in increasing and decreasing tempo, parallel to the story line.

Now, to the part where we thought the director could have done better. Avid movie watchers will see the final twist coming from a mile. It is not disappointing, since the story is more about the perils faced by an innocent girl than some trademark commercial venture which has to rely on shock value at the end to salvage the movie. But it definitely pulls the movie down a bit. Also, some of the ideas incorporated into the story are copybook, like the one where the young neighbor intrudes into someone’s house.

Phobia is a movie which deserves a viewing. Be it for Radhika Apte’s acting or the sheer audacity of a director to make an entire movie inside a 3 bhk flat and succeeding in the attempt, this movie is for Bollywood lovers, who welcome ideas. The premise of this movie can also be a great theatre adaptation. But for now, enjoy this tour-de-fear this week.

gobblscore: 7.5/10

gobblpoint: Watch it for one of Bollywood’s most promising new-comers who is here for the long haul. Watch it for a director who seems to have made the horror-within-confined-spaces his own genre. (He also directed the well received Ragini MMS earlier)

Disclaimer: The image used in this post is the sole property of the makers of this film and is not owned by us in any form whatsoever. 

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