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Director : Music : Lyrics : Starring :
Sohail Khan, Isha Koppiker, Natasha, Vrijesh Hirjee, Divya Palat, Hiten Tejwani, Ali Hassan
Subhash K. Jha
Ram Gopal Varma's "Bhoot" meets Ekta Kapoor's "Kucch To Hai". And they both meet with a numbing nemesis in "Krishna Cottage", yet another supernatural thriller about a disgruntled ghoul on the prowl.
Tragically, apart from the surname, director Santram Verma has nothing in common with his obvious source of inspiration. "Krishna Cottage" is a supernatural thriller that doesn't know its mind.
It wavers between Hollywood's campus-slasher films and Bollywood's age-old spook yarns like "Woh Kaun Thi" and "Kohra" where a mysterious woman in white would entice the hero with a haunting melody.
Anu Malik comes up with his haunt jaunt, "Bepanaah pyar hai aaja", and Isha Koppiker makes a comely ghoul, though hardly ever dressed in white. In eye-catching clothes and locales, Koppiker glides with famished fervour in search of a love she lost in her last life.
Lust lingers into afterlife, as the ghoul, now reinvented as a woman named Disha, goes after campus dude Manav (Sohail Khan) with steadfast come-hither steps.
But the screenwriter takes the audiences for granted and crams the plot with so many improbable clichés from the teen-campus flicks that we wonder if "Krishna Cottage" is aimed as a spoof on the horror genre.
The shallow shiver-giver takes itself too seriously to be satire. The characters all look familiar. To take one example, the cynical Akshay (Hiten Tejwani) - we've seen that character played with far more arresting charm by Dino Morea in "Shhhhh".
The problem with "Krishna Cottage", and by extension all supernatural films, is it follows too many preconditions of the genre. Characters keep running into ill-lit deserted homes and warehouses too often for comfort. Fortunately there're no creaky doors and gates. But the performances make up for the hinges.
Very soon we are more concerned with our growing horror at the banality and scarcity of sincere scares than the horror of the characters who discover that a book of horror stories holds the key to their lives. Turn the page quickly!
The bizarre killings inside a storeroom on the college campus are punctuated by guffaws, giggles and a few gasps, all recorded by practised hands on the soundtrack. The saturated sound effects get tedious after a while. We are finally forced to listen more than look at the goings-on.
The music by Anu Malik, which is an asset outside the film, seems to be as much without mooring in the film as the semi-seductive spirit who stalks Sohail with a sonorous song.
A couple of riveting tracks get washed away in the storm of special effects, which incidentally are undoubtedly impressive. The scenes shot in snow-capped Simla remind us of Raj Khosla's "Woh Kaun Thi", though in colour the cinematography relentlessly replicates the rhythms of the black-and-white era.
In terms of the background, mood and visual effects, "Krishna Cottage" gets its packaging process correct. Also, a complete absence of visual and verbal vulgarity comes in telling contrast to some recent releases.
But the absurdity of piling up the plot with the rituals of terror is a huge tactical error.
By and large "Krishna Cottage" seems to be an extension of Ekta Kapoor's horror serials on TV and her last feature film, "Kucch To Hai". Like the earlier film, "Krishna Cottage" is a love triangle narrated in the 'slasher' ambience.
Natasha who was a quiet witness to her lover-boys' growing fondness for a mysterious woman in "Kucch To Hai" is here quite vocal of Sohail Khan's discernible affinity to Isha Koppiker.
That Isha turns out to be a ghost takes the love triangle from the bed to the dead. The plot just about follows the love story to the grave.
At heart "Krishna Cottage" is a story of unrequited love and its horrific aftermath. The plot's compelling core is twisted into shallow shapes of shivering horror that make the heart go cold for all the wrong reasons.
The performances are at best amateurish, and at worst, a horror. Rati Agnihotri acts and speaks like Rekha in "Bhoot".
Eerily, the zingy item song "Bindaas" is filmed not on item girl Isha but Natasha. That's as unpredictable as debutant Santram Verma's direction gets.
It's time to put the horror genre to rest. Ghosts are just not funny or sexy any more.