To pull off a concept like Durgamati, which doesn’t have much on paper to impress you, you need convincing performances. That’s where Durgamati falters. Actor Bhumi Pednekar is doing the heavy lifting here by being this possessed character named Chanchal Chauhan. But her inability to take the character to the level the makers wanted somewhat exposes the film’s vaguely written script.
CBI Officer Satakshi Ganguly is given this politically motivated investigation to find out about the illegal dealings or any weak links in the political career of politician Ishwar Prasad. For that, they decided to question his ex PA Chanchal Chauhan IAS, who was serving her jail term for killing her husband. As the questioning was unlawful, they moved her to this old mansion, which locals believe is possessed by an evil spirit named Durgamati. The supernatural events that unfold inside that building are what we get to see in Durgamati.
I have not seen the original version of the movie Bhaagamathie starring Anushka Shetty. So this review won’t be a comparison between the two. But the one feedback that was unanimous about that movie was that Anushka Shetty excelled in her portrayal. As I said initially, the only thing that could make us forget about the usualness or lack of surprise in this movie is the actors’ performance. The only actor who did manage to impress was Arshad Warsi, who performed as the graceful and charming politician. The script’s transition isn’t that smooth, and the back and forth narrative in which we see the clichéd romance and heroics can’t hold your interest. The last-minute twists are somewhat impressive on paper, but somewhere it felt like an old trick, and one could sense the fishiness from a fair distance.
G Ashok has a concept that has this genre mixture. We are in that space where the movie keeps us guessing about the horror element in the story. But when it comes to the fleshing out of the script, the strokes are broad. The dialogues felt like they were written by someone who used to write dialogues for those dubbed South Indian movies. A larger part of the film is set inside this Haweli of Durgamati, and the set design aided by visual effects was convincing. Jakes Bejoy’s background score was on the usual side. Cinematography follows a very conventional style of depicting horror. The edits weren’t that great, with certain scenes having a distracting number of cuts, and there were moments one could sense the space continuity getting messed up.
Bhumi Pednekar as Chanchal Chauhan is a convincing choice. But just like how Akshay Kumar terribly failed in Laxmii to perform the possessed version of the character, Bhumi is also struggling to add grace to her Durgamati act. The higher pitch and power she is trying to insinuate into that character is just not working, and the dialogues make it a little bit comical. Arshad Warsi is undeniably the best in the lot here. One could see a fine actor reducing the mediocrity in writing through his performance when you look at Warsi’s performance. Karan Kapadia is the rebel here, and the performance was a one-note one. Jishu Sengupta as the ACP and Mahie Gill as the CBI officer are all playing characters that feel like their caliber actors aren’t necessary for those roles.
Durgamati isn’t as horrible as Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii. But it is too dull and never really manages to grab your full attention. With stiff dialogues, weak performances, and guessable plot twists in a usual looking horror drama, Durgamati from G Ashok lacks that engagement element.
With stiff dialogues, weak performances, and guessable plot twists in a usual looking horror drama, Durgamati from G Ashok lacks that engagement element.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended