I don’t like watching horror movies at all. Despite being a movie buff, this is one kind of movies which I always prefer to avoid. Still there is a horror movie which I like to watch again and again and which, quite unusually for me, I find very close to my heart. It’s Raaz (2002), a memorable supernatural thriller from the Bhatt camp of Bollywood.Raaz (secret / mystery) is the story of Sanjana (Bipasha Basu) and Aditya (Dino Morea) who are facing problems in their marital life and move to Ooty for a break from the routine and set the conjugal troubles right. There Sanjana starts experiencing strange and frightening things and finally comes to know of the existence of a spirit (of a female) haunting their house there. One day the mystery behind the reason of the haunting of the spirit gets revealed to her and the dark truth hidden in the life of her husband becomes naked before her eyes. However the final challenge appears when she finds the life of her husband under threat. How she is able to save him and her married life as well, is the climax.The theme of this movie is said to have been picked from the Hollywood movie – What Lies Beneath (2000). However I find it closer to an old Hindi movie – Mangalsutra (1981) in which Rekha had played the lead role with Anant Naag being her hero. In fact, we can trace the origin of this story back to the tale of Saavitri, embedded in the Hindu mythology, who was able to get her deceased husband, Satyavaan, back from Yama, the god of death. The ultimate thing which matters, is the treatment of the plot on the screen which is wonderful and the melodious songs are the icing on the cake. The story has been presented less like a horror movie and more like an edge-of-the-seat musical thriller which does not allow the viewer to leave it even for a second.
The movie has ample romantic moments. And I praise the director, Vikram Bhatt for the fact that the scenes of physical intimacy have been presented so artistically that not even an ounce of vulgarity is felt while watching them. The melodious and touching romantic songs add to the flavour of the romance visible on the screen.
The movie runs on the theme of the traditional Indian wife’s forgiving her husband for his past sins and standing by him in the adverse times (despite the resentment in her heart). The Indian girls have always been taught to treat their husbands as equivalent to God. That’s why I have compared this movie to the Satyavaan-Saavitri Katha instead of the Hollywood movie.
Technically the movie is just superb. The special effects (especially in the climax) are highly admirable and the background score is perfect to render shivers to the audience.
Nadeem-Shravan alongwith Sameer, the lyricist, have done an outstanding job by preparing unforgettable songs even in the 21st century. Not all the songs have been kept in the movie but listening to the album is a mesmerizing experience for any melody-lover. One song – Kitna Pyara Hai Ye Chehera is sung (and played on the harmonium) by me at times. It’s based on Raag Bhairavi. One more song that I love to sing for the audience is – Jo Bhi Kasmein Khai Theen Hamne. However the best song of the album, in my view, is – Aapke Pyar Mein Hum Sanwarne Lage. Most of the songs are in the voices of Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan and they have done full justice to the job of the lyricist and the composers by singing superbly.
This is the movie which lifted Bipasha Basu to stardom. Her performance deserves all the accolades showered on her. Dino Morea and Maalini Sharma (she strangely disappeared from Bollywood after this movie) have also done well. The dialogues of the lead-pair are said to have been dubbed in the voices of others. However the performances speak more than the words. Ashutosh Rana as the professor studying the supernatural has, once again, delivered a great performance. The supporting cast has done justice to the roles assigned.
Despite being a horror-movie-hater, I watched Raaz twice in the theatre and I don’t mind watching it again on VCD / DVD. It’s definitely the best horror-cum-suspense thriller made in India during the past two-three decades. If you like thrillers, I strongly recommend it to you.
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