Saturday, May 07, 2016

Review: 1920 London

Evil Is Howlarious!

1 star

Mini Review:

Why do we make the silliest horror films? Man in Chakrasana climbing down steps in search of meat pieces in the basement. Woman with candlesticks chasing after a runaway magic nimbu all over her own house! All because some evil spirit has turned a prince into a pretzel. It would have been fun had they known when to stop. 

Main Review:

So a dimpled Rajasthani prince is turned into a pretzel by an evil spirit in London. The doctor says, he has few days to live, so Shivangi the sobbing wife comes back to India. Finds out that the only babaji is her ex-boyfriend Sharman Joshi. She persuades him to accompany her to cure him. She's dressed in Rajasthani brocade and chiffon and cries very prettily. He comes back with her to London. You wonder how she got to India and back so quickly because in those days, ships were the only way to travel...

We have been told several times by now that this evil spirit is very powerful: the family babaji was thrown out of the mirror, it has cackled in dimpled pretzel prince's home, rocked chairs, got a crow to caw at the window in the middle of the night... 

But the boyfriend babaji aka Jilted Jai aka Sharman Joshi has dealt with evil spirits before. He has used a bunch of beads and ganga jal on a village lass whose body has been occupied by an evil spirit. She is tied to the bed, her eyes areback to front, her teeth have been corrorded, and she has a wicked laugh and a manly voice. She flies, she hides, she beats up the babaji, she moves beds, swings from the ceiling, levitates and does everything bad spirtis are wont to in horror movies. The only thing bad spirits do and this one doesn't is hurl. Dammit! I feel cheated!

So babaji looks at the pretzel prince and we are then treated to the finest bit of acting by an extra. The doctor! he doesn't believe it is evil spirit. He says, 'It's 1920, for godssakes! How can you believe in black magic?' Boyfriend babaji then shows them! 

In one of the funniest scenes in cinema, the pretzel prince in a Chakrasana Yoga pose walks down to the basement where the clever babaji has placed chunks of meat on the window-sill. The prince begins to eat the meat making smacking sounds which make you hungry for pepperoni pizza. The doctor makes funny gagging sounds and his round button eyes become wide and horrified...

So jilted Jai reveals a secret and makes the sobbing Shivangi do all kinds of weird things in the name of subduing the evil spirit. Like chase a runaway lemon wearing a peach dress and carrying a chandelier. By the way, the brocade and chiffons are dropped for the oddest bonnets and dresses... And when she's chasing the runaway fruit, the length of the peach dress changes from ankle to knees. The fruit stops rolling on the other side of the chair and our young miss in her infinite need to nab the nimbu goes under the chair and attempts to reach it. Not just the audience, but the nimbu too is nonplussed at her desperation. Why doesn't she just go around the chair? 

But it's not over. There's the Indian Gandalf with a staff I would buy off e-bay (seriously!) who tells jilted Jai to make amends (don't ask!) and they go to an abandoned church and then a barn from the sets of DDLJ where Sushmita Mukherjee (Kitty without Karamchand) in a frumpy dress she wears throughout the film (so does boyfriend babaji and everyone else, because the budget was used up by Shivangi who despite her misery over her ill husband manages to turn up in the oddest of fashionable clothes again and again and again!) is supposed to set up a fire. Fire hazard alert, you want to scream but begin laughing hysterically as Sharman Joshi begins to fight the evil spirit attempting to look fierce. If the filmmakers put this on your tube, it would turn viral, I am sure!

Although you are weary of the horror movie cliches you have seen before, you come away wondering how sobbing Shivangi who steps into the car in a yellow saree to go up to the abandoned church, and steps out in a white dress... Paparazi had better get to the chauffeur George, who must have seen so much...

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