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PHOBIA - A well enacted, experimental thriller that isn't great, but still an interesting one time watch for Radhika alone. (Review by Bobby Sing)

28 May, 2016 | Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / P

Hindi cinema hasn’t got many worth watching psychological thrillers since the genre never got any big encouragement either from the viewers or the makers ever since the origin. And I still recall the pleasant surprise I had watching Nargis’s National Award winning performance in RAAT AUR DIN, based on the split personality disorder performed brilliantly as her final appearance on screen in 1967. In the last few decades, Urmila shined brightly in Ram Gopal Varma’s KAUN playing the obsessed psychopath in 1999, and now we have Radhika Apte entering into that elite list giving a worth applauding performance in PHOBIA as an artist suffering from severe agoraphobia post a tragic incident, developing fear of people, market places and public interactions leading to some serious consequences.
Interestingly, the initial moments of the film dealing with a ‘sexual assault’ and its traumatized victim straight away reminded me of Konkona in 15th PARK AVENUE (2005) and Rekha in GHAR (1978) too for a moment. But the similarities ended right there as the film moved into a completely different direction with elements of horror and black comedy smartly incorporated in its otherwise ‘mind-related’ theme giving it a distinctive edge.
As a psychological thriller directed by Pawan Kriplani (of Ragini MMS fame), PHOBIA works superbly in its first half mainly due to Radhika’s fabulous act and the unpredictable story progression that keeps you guessing throughout creating an enjoyable tension. However when many big loopholes get visible in the second half and some major questions remain unanswered in the climax (ending on a confusing note), the film loses the chances of becoming ‘a masterpiece thriller’ and remains a more than decent one time watch, especially for Radhika alone.
Delivering a knockout performance in her first full length lead role in a Hindi film, Radhika Apte carries the complete movie on her strong shoulders and makes it worth watching for the viewers interested in this specific genre, without any slightest of doubt. The girl is simply sensational and highly impactful playing the suffering character and that too without any sensual sequences usually found in such ventures defying the set format.
Providing her a perfect support we have Satyadeep Mishra effectively playing the close friend, Yashaswini as the energetic college going girl and Ankur Vikal as the suspicious weirdo neighbour doing complete justice to their given roles. Cinematography, background score and editing successfully add a lot into the film’s overall impact and so does the catchy song ‘Roke Na Ruke’ used well, without disturbing the pace.
However it was really unfortunate to see the film slipping in its writing post a taut and engaging first hour contradicting its own conviction. And these visible flaws honestly didn’t match the master vision found in the script’s initial impressive moments. For instance, how can such a serious as well as dangerous (self-destructive) patient of agoraphobia be left alone in a new and big house by her own beloved so carelessly and how can the boy even leave a knife and all similar appliances openly lying in the house despite knowing his girl’s severe condition and intentions? Moreover when it suddenly ends without giving clear explanations of all the illusions, premonitions and hurting events happening in its final hour, one doesn’t feel like highly satisfied while leaving the theatre as if gone through an incomplete experience largely saved by the lead performer.
Having said that, despite these unanswered questions and a good dose of unpleasant blood and gore served with the pinch of horror, PHOBIA still deserves to be seen for Radhika Apte alone, who now officially announces her arrival as the mainstream Hindi film heroine, far ahead of many known names of the industry relying on their family bloodlines.
Rating : 3 / 5
(For friends interested in knowing more about Nargis’s RAAT AUR DIN, here is the link for the article including the references of its foreign inspirations too in details.)

Tags : Phobia Review by Bobby Sing, Phobia Film Review by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
28 May 2016 / Comment ( 0 )
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