When you have the Czarina of alternate cinema Ekta Kapoor as the producer, the renowned filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj penning down the story and producing the film too and actors like Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma and Kalki Koechlin essaying the characters on screen that too in an intriguing horror film, you expect nothing but magic onscreen. So does Ek Thi Daayan cast the spell? Let's find out.
Bobo (Emraan Hashmi), India's most popular magician has an easy life of tricks and spells. He has a steady girlfriend Tamara (Huma Qureshi) and an orphan child he loves and wants to adopt. However, unknown to all, he nurses a dark past that starts haunting him all over again. We are then taken to an 11 year old Bobo, all inquisitive in occult and witchcraft, who finds himself in a pit of the dark world. When he comes back, he starts getting haunted by a Daayan in the garb of Konkona Sen Sharma. How his past, that wrecked havoc in his life then starts haunting him all over again is what follows through the rest of the plot.
Both Ekta Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj hand the reigns of the film in the hands of a debutant filmmaker Kannan Iyer. And despite his novice hands and such huge responsibility, Kannan holds fort strongly and delves deep into the Indian mythical concept of daayan.
He explores the ancient folk lore of daayan eating up the kids and implements it intelligently in the format of a horror-suspense but mid way into the film it starts appearing that he loses focus altogether as his film goes completely haywire.
The first half of Ek This Daayan is an absolute delight. Although it uses the common ingredients of a spook-fest, the sudden thuds, the increasing sound effects etc. but the built up of the film is so seamless and flawless that you can't help but be at the edge of your seats.
But just when you eagerly settle post interval and expect the chills to increase, it all starts fizzling out with the song and dance insertions, Kalki Koechlin's entry and a climax so hackneyed that you literally get disappointed and annoyed. For what seems like an attempt at leaving a thread for a sequel, Kannan totally turns his story into hogwash.
Also there are far too many things left unexplained and unanswered yet showcased purely taking the cinematic liberty to move the story forward. Even on technical front there are continuity errors which are visible even to a commoner.
There's one person for whom the film becomes a definite watch is Konkona Sen Sharma. Her act of a sly daayan who pretends to be extremely loving at the outset and then shows her real intent what with all the scary look and act is extremely frightening and executed brilliantly on her part.
Another actor who outshines many biggies is the child actor Vishesh Tiwar who plays the younger Bobo. The way he handles the film completely on his young shoulders is commendable. Emraan Hashmi too is at his top form and gives a convincing performance. The same can't be said, however, about Kalki Koechlin and Huma Qureshi. While Kalki's character gets completely wasted in the film, Huma just gives a passable performance with nothing to rave about.
If you divide the ratings in the first and the second half, Ek Thi Daayan deserves full marks for its unblemished and watertight first half. The second however is a total waste.