‘Ek Thi Daayan’ review: Performances lift the ‘spirits’ high!

Gayatri Sankar

A film that boasts of an incredibly talented star cast- Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin and Huma Qureshi - will most definitely leave you in awe, for they have, till date, delivered performances that leave you asking for more.

And ‘Ek Thi Daayan’, directed by Kannan Iyer, will certainly impress you as far as the performances of the actors are concerned. But beyond that, the film lacks substance and comes across as an average representation of witchcraft and the age-old belief in the presence of ‘Daayans’.

Written by Mukul Sharma and Vishal Bhardwaj, ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ revolves round the life of Bobo (Emraan Hashmi), a renowned magician, whose only support system is his ladylove Tamara (Huma Qureshi). They make a blissful couple who decide to adopt an orphan – Zuben. Bobo’s life is almost close to perfect, until he is haunted by a Daayan. He seeks the help of a hypnotist, Dr Palit, to help himself unravel mysteries of his past and to have a rendezvous with the eerie side of his life. And that is when he is reminded of his sister, father (Pawan Malhotra) and step-mother Diana (Konkona Sen Sharma).

In a state of hypnosis, Bobo remembers his passion for witchcraft and various other incidents that lead to a spooky revelation.

It was indeed a refreshing sight to see Emraan don a new avatar. As Bobo, he delivers a performance worth applause. Huma Qureshi looks stunning and has proved her acting prowess yet again. But the one who will mesmerize you is Konkona. An actor par excellence, the ‘Mr & Mrs Iyer’ actress is impeccable. Kalki Koechlin as Lisa Dutt, who you would meet in the second half of the film, is subtle but impressive. Child actor Visheh Tiwari (young Bobo) is a powerhouse of talent. Sky is the limit for the kid.

The Art Direction team has done a commendable job by giving a visual representation to their eerie side of their creativity. The sets emit a sense of supernatural presence and help boost an otherwise middling story.

However, the story fails to substantiate the emergence of a Daayan in Bobo’s life and the subsequent happenings. The film could have been a lot different had the makers opted for an unconventional way of recreating witchcraft and supernatural presence on celluloid. Though certain sequences send shivers down your spine, the rest fail to grip your senses. The Lunar eclipse, the leap year, the screeching sounds of the daayan and the constant projection of a lizard are all too jumbled up and intend to forcefully create a sense of claustrophobia.

Kannan Iyer as the captain of the ship is impressive. Wish he had been supported by a more intriguing story. As expected, songs composed by Vishal Bhardwaj soothe your soul. The track ‘Kaali kaali aakhon ka kaala kaala jadu hai’ is marvellous.

Overall, the film hasn’t been able to live up to the hype that had been created all along. Technically, it may score, but in terms of content, ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ is way too somber.

You may watch the film for the fine show put up by the actors.

Two and a half for the film and half a star more for the performances.

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