A man-eating tiger on the loose, friends trapped in the forest and nowhere to go. A brilliant game of cat and mouse, a game of hunter and the hunted.
“Kaal” could have been more than that but sadly turns out to be another Raaz, or regular bollywood horror mystery. Even “Vasthu Shastra” was scarier. Director Soham Shah had worked under Karan Johar and did not know what to make. So its horror-cum-thriller movie.
There are very few Indian movies, which uses the Jungle to tell a story. A horror story with a jungle involved would have been treat to watch. Few years back, Mahesh Bhatt attempted something with “Junoon”, where Rahul Roy turned into a tiger. Then it turned into a horror-love-divine movie.
A good horror movie keeps the viewer on the edge. It has to have its moment and the fear has to come from the unknown (The Ring, Grudge, The Eye, Bhoot) or from horrible creatures (A nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser). “Kaal” does not have both. Sure, some moments make you jump. But remove the sound and you feel nothing.
The story starts with Krish (John Abraham), a tiger expert (They actually write that on the file) is asked to investigate a man-eating tiger in Orbit national park with his wife Esha deol. At the same time, Vivek Oberoi and his girl friend, Lara Dutta and friends are out for some adventure in the jungle. All of them meet and strange things start happening in the jungle.
People start getting killed and mistrust increases in the group. When they are attacked by tigers, a villager, Kali Pratap Singh (Ajay Devgan) come to their rescue. The movie starts well and the expectation rises. But the second part is too predictable. Long before the end you would have predicted the killer and the reason too if you try a little harder. There are no, and I mean no reason given for some of the sequences. For e.g. The cat dying at the start of the movie, One of the friends getting visions before his death, Lara Dutta’s superstition and Vivek Oberoi’s hate for cigarettes.
There is a message of Forest conservation and tiger protection thrown in. At the end of the film, the tiger still is blamed for the killing. Which I think does not achieve he purpose because the tigers would still be killed for the fear that they may be man-eaters.
The scarier scenes do not seem scary at all. A sudden loud noise does not mean scary. It means loud noise. Actually the promos were much better than the movie itself. You have superstition, ghost, animal rights, mystery and even emotional scenes mixed together to make a bhajipalla out of it. What is a Bhajipalla? Ask any Mumbaiwala here.
I had guessed the end because the movie does give clues. I was interested in the execution and that leaves a lot more to be desired. A horror movie like “Bhoot” succeeds because it has a repeat value. “Kaal” sadly does not. The best part of the movie are the opening and the ending credits because of the dance sequence.
The acting is ok from all actors. Vivek Oberoi is annoying, really annoying. If he was meant to be so because of the story demanded it, then he did achieve the purpose. John Abraham is ok. The girls are for skimpy clothes. Ajay Devgan shines in the short role.
The songs are ok with Shahrukh Khan dancing on the title track. The movie does not have any song in between which is a shrewd move. The visuals are good. “Kaal” works because it shows the jungle at its scariest.
As a movie, it can be seen once and with so much hype it created, it must have surely recovered its cost. But at the end of the day, it becomes another run-of-the-mill bollywood horror flick. Trying to be different turns the movie into imitating many Hollywood flicks. The director has promise and hopefully his next movie would turn better than this.