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Shaitaan Review – R Madhavan captivates you only to see Ajay Devgn enter his daily soap era

Shaitaan Review – R Madhavan captivates you only to see Ajay Devgn enter his daily soap era
Shaitaan Review – R Madhavan captivates you only to see Ajay Devgn enter his daily soap era
Shaitaan Movie Review

Last Updated: 11.05 AM, Mar 08, 2024


Kabir (Ajay Devgn), a Chartered Accountant by profession (no reason why), has a happy family of four that also includes his wife Jyoti (Jyotika), daughter Janvi (Janki Bodiwala), and son Dhruv (Anngad Raaj). On a trip to their farmhouse, they meet a stranger who bonds well with them. Little do they know his intentions as they let him into their house, and he ends up hypnotizing Janvi to serve him and eventually walk away with him for a very dramatic cause.

Shaitaan Review:

The biggest problem with any movie that delves into the world of paranormal beings, black magic, and many others that fall under this same tree is that there are limited ways one can justify their content. How do you make an audience of the 21st century, with access to immense content on the internet, believe that the story you are telling is possible and that it is okay to suspend your disbelief? How do you make them believe that this is not a rehash of the daily soap opera era where the creators on Indian television only thought that a successful formula has to have 'kala jaadu,' and the heroine turns into some vague animal?


Shaitaan is literally a film version of the paragraph above and signifies the very two parts where it answers the first question skillfully but fails to stand the test of the second. Adapted from Vash, a Gujarati movie by Krishnadev Yagnik, Shaitaan is directed by Vikas Bahl and adapted into Hindi by Aamil Keeyan Khan. The movie opens with an anonymous man picking up a rotten dead rat in a forest with plastic gloves on, and we are then taken through a haunting theme and credit roll, to meet a happy family. The said family is written in the broadest strokes possible. There is an overprotective but friendly father, a young daughter who feels she wants freedom, a bratty but very cute son who calls his father by his name, and a mother who is the decision-maker but also devoted to her husband. Stereotype list check.

But don’t let that bother you because what follows is very interesting. The said happy family where the father is a CA for no reason, sets out on a trip to a very scenic place where their farmhouse is located. There they meet a stranger who invades their home and holds them captive by hypnotizing their daughter. All of this is very interesting because the tension is built well, there is no predictability as to what the next move will be, and there is a stellar actor in R Madhavan doing a fine job of scaring the audience by bringing them to the edge of their seats. A very wild decision taken by the makers that hurts the most vulnerable member of this gang right before the interval makes you think that you are being prepared for something wilder and there is even more gore waiting.

But to our dismay, that is not the case. Yes, the tension remains the same when the story is in the clutches of that farmhouse, but as soon as Shaitaan decides to venture outside, Vikas Bahl and Aamil Keeyan Khan are possessed by at least a decade-old spirit of Ekta Kapoor, and they begin writing this story as if they were told to deliver the endgame of this story in a day. The daily soap operaness of it all is not just hilarious to look at but also makes you think how the movie went in such a drastic direction after being a very good one in its first and mid-act.

It never takes the effort to completely explain the motive of the man who set out for mass murder; it changes the end of the original story to a diluted family audience-friendly climax; there is instead a Father’s Day speech for a movie releasing on Women's Day in the end, and the vagueness eats up all the merit the script had so far.

Ajay Devgn is back to being the father who can do anything to save his family. Even if that means having a mind so sharp and functional that you can set GPS on your kidnapper's phone while your wife is having hand-to-hand combat with them. Shaitaan does ask for a whole lot of suspension of disbelief and only wants you to consider that some very impossible things just happen. Don’t ask how. Also, where is the story based with a geographical positioning so rich in nature and easily accessible?

Jyotika gets partly stereotypical, partly well-written part and she even plays it with a lot of conviction. The acting feels effortless. Talking of effortlessly, Janki Bodiwala, who is having a second round at this tale, is as good as Janvi. For someone who is playing possessed, she doesn’t break out of the part even once.

Anngad Raaj is adorable and so are his taunts, but he is for sure made of vibranium. You will know. R Madhavan in and as Shaitaan is having the time of his life being bad. It feels like he always wanted to be this bad person for some time and he finally got the opportunity, and he is making the most of it now. He manages to make us fear the consequences in a rather diluted story and his gaze is actually scary. The climax ends up making a caricature out of him, but well, he is not the one to be blamed for that.

The cinematography, set design, and music are all structured to give you jump scares. It works when the story is in the farmhouse but looks made up when the movie ventures outdoors. Also, who keeps jewelry worth lakhs in their farmhouse? Also, how is this CA so rich? Are we in the wrong profession?

Shaitaan Review: Final Verdict:

Shaitaan ends up being an answer sheet of a schoolboy who has been writing with the most flair until the warning bell only to end up weirdly scribbling the rest in limited time.

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