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SHAITAAN HAVELI - An entertaining Horror series from Amazon Prime as a spoof on the famous Ramsay era. (Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing)

09 Jan, 2018 | Articles on Cinema

The Horror genre prominently led by Ramsay Brothers in Hindi cinema has a big fan following all over. And that is an undeniable fact which readily gets proved if you study the B-C grade movies released in the decades of 80s and 90s in particular. Plus the number of Hindi Horror films available in the Home video market and various online portals in the present also strongly supports the statement even in this second decade of the new millennium without any slightest of doubt.

Rightly acknowledging the fact, catering the fans and followers of this specific genre, Amazon Prime (India) has recently released an enjoyable horror, comic-spoof series intentionally titled SHAITAAN HAVELI inspired from similar Ramsay film titles as PURANI HAVELI, SHAITAANI ILAAKA and more. The series has 8 episodes in its first season and its innovative concept strongly points towards the think-squad at Amazon Prime going in the right direction.
In 2012 writer-director Ashim Ahluwalia came up with a similar attempt that was not really a spoof as MISS LOVELY with a decent cast also featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, focusing on the sleazy horror film industry of the 80s. The film even got caught in the Censors for long and then was released with all suggested cuts as usual. Interestingly being a web-series, SHAITAAN HAVELI releases without any censor restrictions at all and that’s the reason it has a few bold, suggestive dialogues and sequences too moving way ahead than the Ramsay films. In fact its first episode itself begins with a prominent one, that ideally should have been avoided since it seriously misguides the viewer about its basic content.
Written/Created by Varun Thakur and directed by Ajay Singh, it begins introducing a director who is known for his low grade Horror hits, but has just given a flop making an erotic-family drama for a change. So returning back to his forte, he cons an underworld don and gets his new horror film financed with a promise of casting his dumb son as hero (who is a gym freak and apes Salman Khan in his mannerisms). Taking the entire cast to a cheap location of an old haunted haveli, they encounter real ghosts (zombies) during the shoot, but decide to continue filming, capturing the actual murders in the camera and the entire crew turning into zombies in a hilarious manner.
As a praise worthy tribute to the horror filmmaking of the eighties, the series has all the essential ingredients of the same, including one body builder hero and another slim & fit supporting actor (making you recall Puneet Issar along with Deepak Parashar/Mohnish Bahl), one dusky lead heroine (reminding you of Aarti Agarwal), a struggler foreigner girl and a tall, scary demon (as a lookalike of famous Saamri/Anirudh).
Giving it a typical 80s look and feel, the makers wisely go for the similar production values, background score, colour tones, camera angles and even exact vintage fonts as seen in the publicity material and titles of all Ramsay films. Besides the usual chudails, vampires, ghosts, mysterious chowkidar and more, the script has humor incorporated well too like having a Chaar-Shool in place of the blessed Trishool.
Having said that, everything including the performances and execution works pretty well till the fourth episode to be honest, resulting in an interesting viewing. But unnecessary stretching and all predictable twists start spoiling the game soon, also including a long flashback revealing the history behind the demon relating it to a centuries old Indian Maharaja. So where the first four episodes are quite engaging, the rest become a drag with some occasional entertaining moments and enjoyable acts.  
Still, SHAITAAN HAVELI is nothing short of a treat to watch as a worthy throw back to the Ramsay era, especially for the fans who still love enjoying those low-budget delightful gems once in a while. It surely could have been much better in the last four episodes. But do watch it as a nostalgic journey back in time and a non-serious entertaining series insightfully conceived and performed by the team led by Varun Thakur.
Created by Varun Thakur / Director: Ajay Singh
Cast:   Varun Thakur, Bhupesh Singh, Neha Chauhan, Hemant Kumar, Kanchan Pagare, Zahid Ali, Adi Irani, Pippa Hughes and more.

(Note: The article was also published on UC-News Mobile App in January 2018)

Tags : SHAITAAN HAVELI Amazon Series Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Web Series Reviews by Bobby Sing
09 Jan 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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