Phobia, a movie
released without any fanfare holds you on the edge of your seat right till the
very end. A taut psychological thriller
that springs in a lot of surprises,
Phobia scares you as the drama unfolds. Watching
a horror film that has no exorcist, no graveyards and no ugly make-up is almost
like a breath of fresh air. Finally some can scare people without using the
quintessential paranormal props. Director PawanKripalani does a fine job of
weaving the story of a woman who is overpowered by her phobia
here that Phobia scores. The film through sound, lighting, performance and
drama makes you scared and that’s where the fun lies.
Mahek played by a
brilliant Radhika Apte is an artist. Some unfortunate incidents in her life have a disturbing effect on her future life
experiences. She is suffering from agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder
characterized by anxiety symptoms in reaction to situations where the sufferer
perceives the environment to be dangerous, uncomfortable or unsafe. She makes you buy into her world of eerie laughter,
black cats, a cut finger amidst ice cubes and the story of a dead woman who had
lived in her house before and had mysteriously gone absconding. Her agony and
her helplessness look palpable as she takes us through her disturbing world.
Treatments could not do
anything good on her that forces Mahek’s boyfriend to find an apartment for her
that would allow her to fight the problem on her own. But she starts
experiencing strange things at the new home. What happens next is a nerve
cracking and spine-chilling thriller that
is neatly portrayed by director PavanKirpalani.
There are many
questions that are left unanswered in the screenplay. Also, the way in which
Mahek foresee things in advance has not been properly conveyed and lacks
clarity. But these are all minor faults that need not be cared much as Phobia
turns out to be an intense thriller that can scare you and makes for an intriguing watch right from the start till
the final scene is complete.
Radhika Apte is the
soul of the film giving a stellar performance. I should say she has
singlehandedly taken the film to another level. Almost close to ninety percent
of the film has the character of Mahek under focus and its not a mean task when the primary focus of the film is on a
single character. The actor in her made sure that Phobia doesn’t suffer because
of a bad performance.
Only three or four
characters are there apart from Mahek. Among them, her boyfriend, her chirpy
female neighbour and a male neighbour are the important ones and the actors who
performed these roles were adequate.
Technically a sound
film with brilliant background score, cinematography and sound design. A very
good story with a neat screenplay, Phobia has an excellent first half followed
by a somewhat matching latter half in a screenplay that has few glitches that
were left open.
Barring these few
things in the script that lacked clarity, Phobia overall is a neat thriller
that plays on the fear factor of the protagonist and on her mind with success.
I am going with three and a half out of five and thumbs up to Pavan and his