Home » Features » Shaitaan offers a rare glimpse at the evolution of Indian horror, replete with black magic and hypnotism

Shaitaan offers a rare glimpse at the evolution of Indian horror, replete with black magic and hypnotism

Shaitaan was recently released in theaters and has left quite a mark in the hearts of ardent fans of horror cinema. The film’s taut, thrilling premise is balanced brilliantly by powerful performances.

Kaushiki Ganguly
Mar 09, 2024

A still from the poster of Shaitaan

Shaitaan is a Vikas Bahl directed horror thriller starring the talented likes of Ajay Devgn, R. Madhavan, Jyothika, Janki Bodiwala and Anngad Raj. The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics, with praises for its performance, cinematography, and editing. The film is an interesting landmark in Indian horror cinema, especially from a country’s culture rich in mystical arts, tantra, mythology, and Vashikaran, the science of hypnotism.

Why Shaitaan stands apart and ahead in indian horror cinema

Released on March 8, the film offers a unique execution of horror and black magic that was previously seen in international cinema. Since the improvement of VFX and graphics in India, proof of which lies in Brahmastra and Bhediya, Indian cinema has come a long way. And it is no longer difficult to make proper gory and scary visual effects on a budget.Shaitaan boasts of powerful photography, sharp editing and exceptional scenes. The film comes from a director who has seen The Shining and The Strangers, among multiple other horror gems, as evident from several of its iconic sequences. The film focuses on ‘vashikaran’ or the science of hypnotism and how it can be used for the worst reasons.But if the film was only limited to that, it would not have been so enchanting. R. Madhavan’s portrayal of a powerful black magic practitioner cum tantric is as mesmerizing as it is realistic. His sadistic tendencies and overconfident narcissism render it impossible for him to see the little loopholes and light bulbs of ideas in ordinary minds. Also read: Damsel to Shaitaan – 5 new films to watch solo and enjoy this International Women’s DayAnd there lies the brilliance of the film. A villain whose flaw is revealed from the beginning and used at the climax for the audience to gasp internally. Though the second half of the film is a tad too dramatic, like a trajectory moving from Hollywood to Bollywood, it still does justice to depictions of rituals, black magic, and temples dedicated to the devil.Watch Tejas, Expendables 4, Australian Open, Cubicles 3, and more on OTTplay, by subscribing to the Jhakaas monthly pack, which provides access to 22 OTTs at just ₹249 for the first month.

Why is Shaitaan so terrifying, unlike other typical horror flicks

Shaitaan follows a tightly knit, loving family of four, as they embark on a short trip to their farmhouse. However, their chance encounter with an odd yet helpful stranger changes the course of their lives forever. The serendipity of their encounter, the ill-fated once-in-a-millennium date, and their inherent politeness is their downfall when encountering a calculated tantric who poses as a kind stranger. Also read: Shaitaan OTT partner revealed! Here's where to watch Ajay Devgn, R. Madhavan, Jyotika's supernatural horror after its theatrical runThe film is gaining relevance for its simple yet gradually worsening events as it reflects the fear of every family with friendly, nice children and teens. Shaitaan is memorable for all these reasons as it manages to remain relatable, real, yet terrifying at the same time. Its final scenes, revealing the densely populated, grimy, exhausted females of his dark hermitage is a nightmare of every parent.Finally, the performance of every artist is perfect to the T. R. Madhavan outdoes himself in one of his best roles till date, balancing cold calculatedness and casual humor effortlessly before shedding it to don the final attire of a power-hungry tantric. His performance of a villain whose influential and fearsome reputation is built with his whims.It is further heightened by his quirky yet ruthless torture of the family’s daughter, as he wishes to break down her parents into giving her away to him forever. Shaitaan makes a compelling case in the horror genre, including sensationalism, popular easter eggs, and hypnotic torture. Shaitaan’s evocation of black magic makes it a must-watch horror film for all obsessive fans of cults, ritualistic mass murder, and slasher horror films.Share