In the misty hilltop there stood the 'haunted' house wrapped in tantalising silence. Feisty author Tara Anuradha is drawn to it in order to prove the ghost tales wrong. She enters the house and lives there alone in the company of the eerie premise. As she expected, the day comes when the scary elements start to annoy her. The ensuing spooky elements fail to qualify for grabbing a complete supernatural thriller tag. The intermittent flashy scenes of corpses in mortuary, toys and a girl unsuccessfully bear the task of executing the scary effect.
Director V.K. Prakash (VKP) unfurls the mystery in 'Praana' by being servile to the conventional chapters of horror flicks. The intensity of horror is meagre but the narrative elements have resemblances to VKP's film 'Moonnamathoral' (2006), written by Rajesh Jayaraman (who has also scripted 'Praana'). The bizarre experiences in the house faced by Tara, essayed by Nithya Menon, create a riveting milieu though it takes quite some time to get the answer. The curiosity gets broken with the intervention of scattered and loosened sequences in between.
While the wait is on to crack the mystery behind the soul in the house, Tara faces various kinds of threats from radical groups. Her outside contact is with her two friends over phone (Kunchako Boban and Dulquer Salman have lent their voices). Though they warn her to leave the house at once, she ignores it.
Nithya is sublime in portraying Tara, but her erratic diction takes off the sheen from her performance quite often. The story is akin to the incidents of attacks against writers, who query fascist ideology of certain radical groups. Tara raises her concern and voice against it but as expected it goes awry. When the creative realm of a writer gets usurped, she too airs her protest. The television in the house fulfils the functions of a second character as the updated social issues are informed through it.
'Praana' is a supernatural thriller that turns out to be a fragile monologue of an English author in protest against the intrusion of radical groups into personal liberty. Nithya Menon's solo act converses myriad social issues that are perilous in nature. With a single actor on screen, this film faces the real burden in the narration albeit technical finesse saves the grace. Sound designers Resul Pookutty and Amrit Pritam offer sound support to elevate the bar of the flick to the ultimate position.
Tara is a symbolic individual and you can realise it when you analyse the contemporary issues that curtail individual freedom. She announces her freedom to think, eat and dress so on. But the execution of her protest fails to achieve the desired effect. 'Praana' drums up ample aid from ace cinematographer PC Sreeram in capturing the peculiar visuals with odd angles. Technically, the film boasts of its elegance and beauty, which are obviously lacking in the script.
NOW PLAYING | MOVIE REVIEWS