Monday, July 21, 2003

hawa: all air, mostly hot

Guddu Dhanoa adopts a simple formula for Hawa: Take The Entity (which features a hitherto unexplored idea in Bollywood: a woman being physically violated by an unseen spirit) and Poltergeist (as a source for some cheap attempts at exorcism and also for ideas to explain why all this is happening). Mix in some dumb add-ons: (1) using some bad CGI for scenes involving flying bats (2) using some bad CGI to actually show the entity (This is strict BOO! Anyone making good horror movies knows that the unseen is more often scarier than the seen. In this case, every time we see the 'entity' it's time to hit the floor laughing) (3) using some stupid ideas and more bad CGI to include a humane spirit (who looks like a cheap Santa Claus) in the climax (4) Using Shahbaaz Khan to play a shrink (although marginally better than his brief turn in Khwahish, SK still invokes titters). Ironically, the sincerity of the protagonists (Barbara Hershey in The Entity and Tabu in Hawa) is what adds some decency to the proceedings and keeps you from going completely overboard with laughter. Some reviewers (like rediff) have praised Tabu's performance. To say that she had much to do in the acting department is ridiculous. Guddu Dhanoa has been a director of Deol vehicles, and clearly lacks the sensitivity and intelligence required to even float a flick of this kind. He thus can offer no input to Tabu's histrionics. Left to her own devices, Tabu does perform commendably, but she is clearly an actress who requires more exposure to directors who tap the resources of their cast (like her mentor Gulzar). But, to give her due credit, anyone else in that part, who have made Hawa look like a blast of bad air. And yes, before I forget, the child actors who play her daughters, are irritating -- no sympathy when one of them is kidnapped (a la Carol Anne in Poltergeist). Also watch out for the hilarious exorcist who mouths lines in a crazy anti-entity mantra, transitioning from some bad English lines to some terrible Hindi lines. The DVD is another example of bad mastering -- poor contrast, colour and shadows.


* Shot in Kulu and Manali in a record 40 days

* There are credits for Sameer (Lyrics) and Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen (Music). However, there are no songs in the film

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