Shaitaan Review | An Unremarkable Horror Thriller With a Reveling Madhavan

The first and second act of the latest Ajay Devgn film, Shaitaan, is structured in a way that even though you won’t really feel the excitement with the way things unfold in the story, there will be that genuine curiosity to know how Vikas Bahl would take the movie forward as we would be looking forward to seeing a closure for this film. But with a super lazy third act that kind of opts for a safe yet insipid showdown between a heroic father and a reckless devil, Shaitaan just ends up being a forgettable film with a memorable R Madhavan.

So, the story here revolves around the family of Kabir and Jyoti. The couple have two kids, Janvhi and Dhruv. While going for a weekend trip to their farmhouse, the family meets this stranger named Vanraj in a Daaba. The same guy later comes to their farmhouse and starts to control the mind of Janvhi. What we see in the film is the trauma faced by the family that night and also the real intention of Vanraj.

What I have described above is pretty much what they have shown in the film’s trailer. A girl slapping her father and trying to kill her family when a stranger tells is indeed a premise that looks enticing. And with Madhavan really enjoying playing this nice-looking demon on screen, Vikas Bahl manages to keep the audience guessing despite the dialogues and staging of humor and sentiments looking very clunky. But as I said, after a point, the tension building feels very forced as they throw one hurdle after another at the family, and Ajay Devgn is pretty much becoming Bholaa in some of the sequences. From looking like a possible psychological drama in the initial patches, the film abruptly enters the old-school horror drama phase in the climax, and the unimaginative writing just makes those areas look tedious on screen.

Ajay Devgn is doing the role of a helpless father, and as you may have predicted, after a point, he is doing the heroic stuff to save his daughter, and some of the teary-eyed bits of his performance in the movie weren’t creating the emotion it was supposed to evoke. Jyothika, as Jyoti, plays the part of the strict bad cop mother in the family. In those traumatic scenes where she almost becomes emotionally numb, the performance was really good. If you can say any of the actors really enjoyed being a part of this film, that would be Madhavan. He is playing this antagonist who has done “Vasheekaran” on Janvhi, and the casualness with which he says those insensitive lines just makes that hollow character feel quite intimidating. The most challenging role in the movie was actually handled by Janki Bodiwala as Janvhi. It’s the role of a helpless young girl who knows she is being controlled, but can’t really do anything about it. Janki was able to make sure that this conflict running inside the character was communicated to the audience through her expression.

Written by Aamil Keeyan Khan, there are no big efforts here to establish these characters. After a hasty and unlikeable introduction of the hero, the movie is in a hurry to show that traumatic house episode to the viewers. While the tactics of the antagonist look interesting, there are conviction issues in the presentation of some of those tricky situations. As I said, even though it isn’t completely absorbing, there is that creative inquisitiveness inside us to know how the makers will end this spell and when we finally get to know why the villain was doing it and how the hero gets his girl out of the manipulation of the devil, you might do a facepalm. The green screen backgrounds and tacky visual effects make it more difficult for the viewers.

If the writing of this movie had taken an approach to viewing things from the POV of the antagonist, I think they would have managed to create a more enticing thriller that used black magic to explore the psyche of a wicked character. But with every scripting trope in the film having that instantly forgettable feel to its credit, Shaitaan ultimately becomes a lackluster film. Looking at the film’s plot, I felt that Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge would have been a better title.

Final Thoughts

But with every scripting trope in the film having that instantly forgettable feel to its credit, Shaitaan ultimately becomes a lackluster film.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.