You cannot fault Anushka Sharma and ‘Clean Slate films for not taking the risk. NH10 (2015), Phillauri (2017) and now Pari (2018) are all interesting subjects. All of them have Anushka Sharma in the pivotal role. She is a brilliant actress, and no one can crib about home production bias.
Meanwhile, Indian audience in-spite of a sporadic attempt by the Bhatt Camp still can’t see the heroine and their heartthrobs in a darker role. One remembers BHOOT (2003) with Urmila Matondkar, Ek Thi Dayan (2013) with Konkona Sen and 13B (2009) with R. Madhavan. There have been other attempts like Hawa (2003), Darna Mana Hai (2003), Phoonk (2008), Rahgni MMS (2011) and Ragini MMS2 (2014) which half excited the audience.
PARI with the tagline of ‘Not a Fairytale’ and the dark trailer raises expectation. The loyal Indian audience has low expectations. Hence, any movie in this genre not pegged or primed with sexual energies takes time to pick up. I hope Pari is no different and the initial box office collections are not indicative of the final figure.
Pari is an experiment. It is dramatically different kind. The pace is unpredictable and jerky. Every peak is a somewhat dramatic moment. There are iconic instances in Pari, but they only check your fright level. There is nothing scary, but it qualifies as dark and gory in many ways.
Anushka does more than justice to her role and adds layers to its characterisation. Her talent blew me. She has a controlled fire and energy on screen. And her half smile that just tantalisingly rests on her lips while she contemplates is brilliant. The hollowness of her confused stare is something you will remember. I like it.
Somehow, I do not share the enthusiasm of teenagers including my daughter, who find the movie gory, dark and disturbing enough to recommend it. We have had far better moments in other films of the genre.
Parambrata Chatterjee fits beautifully; as an innocent, docile, disciplined young man. He and Ritabhari Chakraborty have mildly lukewarm chemistry on screen. Rajat Kapoor, unfortunately, is underutilised and out of sync with his character.
You will find all the standard frames and techniques defining Indian school of horror films. I for a moment will ignore them.
I will like you to see Pari, as a complete experience. That’s what should count.
Pari suffers from Indian films absolute desire to complete the loop, provide explanations for subjects and reasons for events that should anyway remain unexplained. More they find it too risky to leave the closure to audience interpretation. There is that urge to democratically-idiotic-risk-proofing of the whole proposition. The result, 136 minutes of uneven pace that makes the film lose its impact.
Pari starts promisingly, builds towards a cryptic dark, creepy thriller and suddenly you wait for the peak that unfortunately never happens. Midway remaining within the confines of its promise, the director attempts and succeeds in brilliantly unceremoniously morphing it into a beautiful emotion-rich love story. I like that.
Too much investment into Pari ( Anushka) and gory scenes leave the story to meander through a maze of haphazard audio-visual stunts. It is the downfall of Pari.
PARI is one of the better films of recent times. It is almost there as a story experience. You feel cheated as it fails to deliver the promised experience.
Clean Slate Productions has taken a risk in making movies on different challenging subjects and storyline. Just for that, please go and watch PARI. Maybe they will bring another jewel like NH10 next time.
STAR CAST: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajat Kapoor, Ritabhari Chakraborty, Mansi Multani DIRECTOR: Prosit Roy