Hide! And please don’t seek this one out!
Every year Bollywood is kind enough to give us new ideas of third degree torture in the form of faltu films and this year has been no different only this time Bollywood had outdone itself by giving us a faltu film with good looking actors in it! Hide and Seek is more like Santa calling Santa in the middle of the March. If I had to write a review for this film in 3 words it would be Don’t Watch It!!!
First-time director Shawn Arranha opts for a Slasher movie as his debut despite given Bollywood’s bad reputation for them but he does pack a rather eye candy cast: Arjan Bajwa, Sameer Kochhar, Purab Kohli, Ayaz Khan, Mrinalini Sharma and ex miss India-Earth Amruta Patki.
Six teenagers play game of Hide and Seek that goes terribly wrong one chilly Christmas night twelve years ago. Now, twelve years later these six players find themselves locked up together in an empty mall at night and they must confront the demons of their past once again as “destiny” or a scary Santa plays Hide and Seek with them!
Om (Purab) is an innocent psycho who spent twelve years in an asylum because of the incidents that night.
Abhi (Samir) is Om’s brother. Abhi is a billionaire today living the highlife but he can’t escape his past.
Jaideep (Arjan) is the bhai… armed with extremely silly one liners that don’t even evoke a smile Jaideep is a goon out to get the non-“bhoomi-putrs”!!(Go figure!).
Imran (Ayaz) is the fat kid who turned into a handsome hunk and became an actor. Personally I feel his is the worst developed character because his first scene suggests he’s a pervert watching some really steamy scenes in his trailer where as in the second half the film suggests he’s a softie!
Gunita (Amruta) is the beauty queen. She’s had a thing for Om since they were kids and it seems she hasn’t gotten over him in twelve years… beauty with a big heart, I say!
Jyotika (Mrinalini) is Om’s girlfriend whose suspense is too predictable. She’s around him all the time though his “Tai” forbids him from meeting her.
The concept of an empty mall at night alone is enough to set a scary tone for any film; with mannequins, Christmas décor, escalators, glass doors and large dark empty corridors, a mall gives a perfect setting for a thriller but unfortunately the thrill element of Hide and Seek is too less to appreciated. Barring just one scene where a snake-faced man suddenly wakes up there’s no other point in the film that makes you jump. Even Amruta screaming and running through the corridors with Scary Santa chasing her doesn’t get you biting your nails. Arjan Bajwa performs poorly and his characterization of a “bhai” appears caricature-like. Samir Kochhar, who gave a very strong performance in Jannat also falls short in this one… his English dialogues seem forced and puhleeeeese! which adult uses phrases like “Sh*t for brains”!! Samir and Arjan’s characters seem too old to be fighting over teenage grievances. Ayaz Khan runs around half naked for almost half the film and he seems to be taking the “Shiney” route with a permanent frown pasted on his face through out the film. Amruta Patki needs to work on her accent and delivery. Purab Kohli is the only one acting in the film and he performs well as a mentally disturbed patient.
The music of the film is very forgettable but thankfully the songs don’t break the flow of the film. The screenplay is also quite commendable with the characters swimming back and forth between the past and the present. Also it was a good touch to choose different actors to play the teenagers because this way the film is not confusing when the screenplay shifts back and forth in time.
The camerawork is not impressive because in any thriller/horror film it’s the camera work that can make or break the film. There was a lot of scope with the empty mall setting but alas! It hasn’t been well utilized.
Thought the story of Hide and Seek is reminiscent of “I know What You Did Last Summer”, it’s not an “inspired” film because the story follows the pattern of any other Slasher film… a past, a present that commemorates the past, a horrific “Vaishi Darinda” type killer, victims and pretty girls! ? What I did like about the film was the use of Chirstmas carols in a horror setting (though this has been done in the Hollywood film P2 but still it looked good here) and turning the whole joyous festival into a rather scary night. Though the killer being Santa was ridiculously funny! Running around in a fat round red belly!
Overall I’d say give this one a miss it’s not worth a trip to the theatre. May be one afternoon when you’re not doing anything else and there’s nothing better on TV than the cable-wala playing Hide and Seek… maybe, just maybe you could watch it then… but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Rating – 1.5 stars.