Dir. Pavan Kripalani. India. 2011.

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Thanks to Ekta Kapoor and her team, Horror/ thriller cinema has a new face- ‘Ragini MMS,’ and it’s nothing like the age-old Ramsay staple. This film under review is a low budget, starless venture but that is not a handicap at all. Despite the recent downers at the box-office low-budget films continue to be made and there are quite a few of them creating a buzz. Foremost among them, ‘Ragini MMS’ with a budget of just over a crore and just two characters played by little known fresh faced actors, does the trick with a great deal of conviction and pizzaz. The central idea looks similar to that of the sleeper hit “paranormal Activity’ but you cant take away the credit for sheer distinctive effort translating into a film that appears thematically different from it’s inspiration and also keeps you glued to your seats right to the very end.

Ragini(Kainaz Motivala) and her boyfriend Uday(Raj Kumar Yadav) plan a dirty weekend  getaway in a isolated bungalow in Dahanu.  Uday a wannabe actor has been convinced by his mentor Punditji to film the action so that he could sell it via the internet. So Uday carries a handycam and the unsuspecting Ragini buys his deceit without question. Once at the getaway and with all the technology set-up and working, the two lovebirds engage in several sessions of heavy petting. In between they are plagued by an unholy presence that keeps interrupting their weekend fun. The gore rises as friends and other holiday seekers are murdered.

Director Pavan Kripalani dots the narrative with interesting and intense moments. The atmosphere turns eerie gradually and the characters are spontaneous in their reaction to the fear factor inherent the desolate bungalow. Ragini is framed as a fragile looking independent girl who might seem a bit uppity, but she knows her own mind and is quietly expressive about her sexual needs. Uday on the other hand is a crass desi who is unashamed to wear his libido on his sleeve and unafraid to speak a lingo liberally dotted with cuss words . The two make an unlikely couple and it’s clear right from the start that they are in it together for the fun of it. Both characters typify the urban demographic in cities of today and are therefore quite easy to identify with. The scares are built up with a lot of care and the music makes the experience just that little bit more daunting. When the ghost begins to make her presence felt , it’s time to race to the climax with a lot of blood letting. Of course quite a few of the scares were predictable, the music heralding their appearance before the actual occurrence. The scariest bit though is the fact that the couple are so vulnerable and alone. It makes for a great set-up. The grainy tones, camera-in camera set-up and dark atmosphere lend a great deal of authenticity to the entire experience. The pure reactive performances of the two lead actors added to the gravity and charm of the unique experience. Watch it for sure!

Rating:  * * *

Johnson Thomas

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