Grandeur and (hi-decibel) Horror

If you were asked to put together a Diwali package of firecrackers, you would probably throw in all the standard varieties like the mild flower pots, the electric crackers, the popular ground wheel (commonly called as charka), the high flying rockets, the favorite sparklers and of course the explosive and ear deafening bombs and ladis (red bombs strewn together with a fuse).Well… a combination of all these makes an exclusive festive package which delights young and old alike…right?

Wrong…according to the film producer Shyam Prasad Reddy who opts for an ‘all bomb and ladi’ package, called ‘Arundhati’, to woo the audiences.

Going by the current trend this package is selling quite well with kids, grannies, babies, teens, adults….everyone thronging to the theatres as if it were a harmless fireworks display in the skies. If you watch the posters and the corresponding crowds in the theatres you might even wonder if they are in for a ladies special or a K.Viswanath’s musical. But, make no mistake… ‘Arundhati’ is no music to ears. It is a hi-decibel horror film.

‘Arundhati’ traces the journey of the lead character in two generations and her confrontation with the evil personified—Pasupathi. Like any horror film, ‘Arundhati’ deals with the supernatural and dishes out the regular fare of thrills n’ chills. The movie derives some heavy inspiration from all the successful Hollywood/Non-Hollywood films and even takes a leaf or two from our very own ‘Ramseys’ who for years doled out the make-up heavy B-horror films. While the movie does not play on the sex factor it compensates with loads of gore and ‘aghora’ content, thus making it strictly an adult fare.

While the conviction and passion of the creative team who toiled hard to give the film an outstanding look n’ feel is laudable, the inadequacies in the story-telling (of a seemingly orginal story idea) that come back to haunt you and question the very technical brilliance the team strove for. For instance, what good are the scenes where Arundhati realizes that she is Jejamma at heart and soul, when subsequently she is made to lose her poise and run helter and skelter? Logically, you would expect her to slug it out with Pasupathi once her true identity is revealed and in the process not assassinate the character which was painstakingly created/elevated in the previous scenes. As and when such story-telling deficiencies stand out, no matter how loud the sound effects or how grand the special effects, they are bound to interfere with the cinematic experience of the cinegoers.

Speaking of the loud and sound factor, you cannot but wonder if there was alteast one moment in the film that was downplayed. Throughout the film either by accident or design all the characters scream out of their lungs irrespective of whether the intended receiver is next to them or miles away. And when there are no dialogues gaps get filled in by equally loud background score and ear splitting sound effects. If you are a stickler for subtlety (like me), you end up smiling every now and then, much to the chagrin of your fellow audience in the theatres. :)

One can argue that certain liberties can be taken in a horror film (where the very concept itself cannot be called rational and hence logic is out of the way) principles of story-telling can still be given importance to and this is something that you would sure expect from a committed film maker like Shyam Prasad Reddy. Undoubtedly, it is his breed of filmmakers who take it upon themselves to bring excellence in all the departments, and propel the art and craft of the film making to the next level.

Let’s hope that that he would come up with a better, subtler and equally successful version of Arundhati in his subsequent efforts. In the interim, do watch Arundhati in a theater near you for its grand scale n’ technical wizardry and brace yourself for the package full of bombs and ladis…the most important of it all, the 10,000 wala ladi equivalent of the shrilling climax. Afterall, it was once said (in a yesteryear’s classic)- ‘Sahasam Seyara dimbhaka…”.

On a signing note, if Sonu Sood or Ravi Shanker saw this yesteryear’s classic, would it have had any impact on their action or rendition?
May be not.