Synopsis – After her husband becomes possessed by an evil spirit, a noble woman turns to her former lover to perform an exorcism.
My Take – Just when you thought you have seen the worst film possible, Bollywood serves up a dish in the form of inadequate horror. In the matter of presenting Horror movies, Bollywood has mostly managed to miss the mark by miles & this film is no different. While the earlier films of this just another Vikram Bhatt written and produced franchise (2008’s 1920 and 2012’s 1920 Evil Returns) were likable movies. Despite being cheesy they can be considered guilty pleasures through and through. The third instalment in the series, however is neither. The film is hardly scary, unintentionally funny, flat, predictable and disastrously long. I get it horror films are usually predictable, but in comparison to the earlier quasi prequels, this film doesn’t even try to be a little smart! Its pretty obvious the filmmakers relied on one single twist seconds before the interval (which was quite unexpected) to carve in the awe factor but post interval they decide to let go of that single moment which could have hooked us on and replace it with a poorly acted melodramatic scene followed by a song sequence. Great! The story follows newly weds Shivangi (Meera Chopra) and Veer (Vishal Karwal), a happily married royal couple in London. Everything seems perfect, until they receive a necklace as a gift from their hometown Rajasthan. The next morning, Veer gets a stroke and is rushed to the hospital, were the English doctors pronounce that he is suffering from a rare case of ’tetanus’.
Upon being convinced by her house keeper (Sushmita Mukherjee) that this is a case of black magic, Shivangi heads back to Rajasthan to seek help but fate has other plans in store for her. Her solution to the problem turns out to be none other than her former flame Jai Singh Gujjar (Sharman Joshi) who happens to be a renowned exorcist. Inspite of being betrayed in love by Shivangi in their past, Jai travels to London to save her beloved husband. Will Shivangi and Jai triumph over evil? Director Tinu Suresh Desai tries every trick from the staple Bollywood horror flicks to spook the audience but falters miserably! What was supposed to leave you with a chilling feeling makes you chuckle every now and then in your seats. Black magic, ridiculously animated ravens, a black cat crossing the path and many such things, you witness them all but none of them manage to gives you a single scare. Plus unfortunately for the film, whoever has seen the first official trailer of the film have already had a good look at all the so called ‘CGI infested’ scares. The film just flounders its way due to its ridiculous screenplay, abrupt song placements and pacing issues along with simple dubbing issues to gaping plot holes and inconsistencies with the period and time, everything here seems like a mistake. All this is ‘1920-ish’ for which everything is following a make-believe pattern; from the set up of house interiors to hospital decors to vintage cars to Meera’s costumes, hairstyles and everything. Not just the external factors but even the intrinsic acting abilities are exploring the arena of smiling, eyes-talking and walking around hand in hand in the beginning.
Another intriguing aspect is that while the title speaks of London, the film is mostly clichéd desi-version of horror stories. In his 1st attempt at horror (in case you don’t want to call his recent films that) Sharman Joshi tries his level best to lift up this salvaging piece of stale story. Their is no doubt he is an excellent actor, but even he can’t save this chuckle-inducing horror flick from impending doom. Moreover, he can easily be called a misfit here. There are scenes where it looks as if he’s trying to hard to fit in but to our disappointment, he isn’t even close to what he has offered previously. For instance, there’s a scene, just after his introduction, where Sharman is chasing a witch and you just can’t help but begin thinking how forced a scene can be and even thoughts of it will evoke chuckles! Meera Chopra, cousin to the way prettier and talented Priyanka Chopra & Parineeti Chorpra, seems lost most of the time. Despite the lead role, it seems her only role was to dress up in fancy dresses, drop things and play the damsel in distress. Ex Bigg Boss contestant Vishal Karwal in his big screen debut spends most of his screen time lying on the bed and deteriorating under the influence of the evil spirit. How do you work with that? On the whole, ‘1920 London’ fails as a horror film but sets a benchmark for being rather hilarious and an utterly boring snooze fest. As always thank you Vikram Bhatt.
Directed – Tinu Suresh Desai
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 120 minutes