When it comes to horror films and ghost stories, nowadays everyone’s talking about zombies, vampires, werewolves, or the like and like most of the superhero films and comics, most of the creatures and stories are imported from the West. But what about our native creatures? And how about telling stories about the myths that are deep rooted in our culture. Like the Yakshis, and other devil forms. Halloween has invaded us just like the calendar New Year and other western festivals, but how about our own?
Here comes the Abhiroop Ghosh’s Brahmadaitya (BROMBHODOITYO) a story of the eponymous creature (Brahma-rakshasa in other areas of India). Based on the legend of Bengali folklore and stories from the past, the movie is a modern day tale of caution, thrills, and of course, a bit more thrill. As The lead actress Sayoni Ghosh said in one of her earlier interviews, the basic idea of this film is: about the forgotten ghosts of Bengal. We celebrate Halloween but we forgot about our very own Mamdo, Brahmadotti, Shakchunni and others. So this is a story that will remind you of them. Bangali bhut firiye aantei ei chhobi. Cinemate amake bhute dhorbe.
The film begins with a very interesting scene, the effect is enhanced courtesy some excellent background score. The cinematography is rustic pertaining to a film made on a shoe-string budget, but it’s not cheap. Rather, the camera angles played their part in enhancing the effect. We see a guy in a car is hand twisted or instructed via a phone call about something and he’s clearly tensed. Filled with terror about something unknown or something he couldn’t fight.
He even throws away the smartphone to escape the voice that’s harassing him but the audio device in the car now takes the lead. He shuts it silent with a couple of hand jabs. Then the scene shifts to the soothing and soundless calm of a petrol bunk. When the boy asks what our guys wants, he hands him a can to fill it up to the brim. We expect him to be on a long drive. But even as he pays the petrol halting price, the car starts to act weird and shake like it’s moved from the inside.
He calms the boy with a few more bucks and jumps the car. He reaches a man-less place and opens the dickie of his car and then brings out an ominous looking iron box. With petrol he bought in the previous scene, he tries to burn the apparently evil box down. But to his horror, his tormentor, an unknown creature in a black coat and with an umbrella stands there.
The reason this reviewer has described this entire episode is the way it’s executed gives us an idea of the film is going to be and at the same time gives us an idea about how efficiently the filmmaker used the resources available for him.
Ms. Mukherjee and the Brahmadaitya
Now, to the major crux of the story. The main point of the story is a modern day urban working woman, a Ms. Mukherjee played with competence by Sayoni orders an authentic Brahmadaitya to see what it actually is from a mysterious website buyaghost.com. She was disappointed when a few youngsters deliver her an iron box, a glass with some Raksha (in red colour) to be circled around the box in order to communicate with the eponymous creature, and a bound book - an instruction manual. When she asks them how can she read a text that’s in Sanskrit, she’s given an old tape recorder with audio instructions.
Initially unimpressed, she slowly understands that the audio in the tape recorder is not a recorded one, but she’s live interacting with a mysterious voice. She indeed received a nightmare in return for her order in a clearance sale.
Rudranil Ghosh comes up with a terrific performance in a hatte looking role. He added to the intrigue factor both with his histrionics and appearance. Sayoni who virtually appears throughout the film (except for the prologue) carried the film on her shoulders as a working woman who’s frustrated by the lack of improvement in her life. Her expressions and performance in a few horror scenes when encountering Brahmadaitya are organic.
Anindya Chakravorty in the opening sequence did a fine job. It’s almost a one-man show there. Souman Bose as Sayoni’s friend and colleague is neat. Another performance of note and a memorable character is played with precision by Sourav Saha - that of a policeman who comes to investigate a crime. He’s funny and elicits sympathy at the same time.
As stated earlier, the background score is the biggest asset of the movie. The cinematography by Ankit Sengupta is good. The top angle shots are used to convey an emotion of passing time adds to the suspense factor. The editing by Jishnu is decent.
Writing and direction
Brahmadaitya is an independent film. With heavy constraints in budget and other resources, to make a film of more than 80 minutes of intrigue is no small feat from the filmmaker Abhiruo Ghosh. He kept the narration to the point and never deviated from it. He also established his characters and their traits quite efficiently within the first couple of shots they appear on the screen. The way the Brahmadaitya is established as a form of energy (surprise here) is commendable. The screenplay is a textbook example of how to make the genre films.
Aren’t there any faults with the film? Yes. There certainly are. There are a few glaring continuity errors. Some of the actors tried to over act in a few places. The horror film is not that frightening to haunt us in the nights. The flashback scenes of the protagonist apparently appear as speed breakers in the narration.
But these are not pickings. If you remove the thought of watching a horror film and take this as a thriller,it works very well. There are no boring moments.
Brahmadaitya is a neatly executed horror thriller which you can give a chance in your leisure. You won’t be disappointed for sure. Recommended. (Available on Hoichoi)
Pycker Rating: 3 out of 5