Director: Pawan Kripalani

Cast: Raj Kumar Yadav, Kainaz Motivala

A young couple, a spooky house and a Marathi-speaking neon lit ghost  – the perfect setting for a dirty weekend getaway destination. Add a dash of Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project to this and you have Ragini MMS.

While this movie might not be the perfect follow-up to Alt. Entertainment’s Shor in the City, it does manage to enlist itself into India’s list of decent horror movies. First-time director Pawan Kripalani has made a film which might not be the quintessential horror movie but nevertheless, has sparks of brilliance scattered all over it.

Ragini (Kainaz Motivala) and Uday (Raj Kumar Yadav) are a couple in love who go to a friend’s farmhouse where aspiring actor Uday tries to make a sex tape of his girlfriend so that he can get some good roles. Ragini is handcuffed to a possessed bed with kinky handcuffs (pink, fluffy) and while they are just about to start ‘making love’, the ghost makes her presence felt. The film shows the extent to which one can go to save oneself even if it means that Ragini has to keep cutting her hand with a shard of glass to free herself from the handcuffs – sounds like 127 Hours, I know, but is done really well.

The actor, Raj Kumar Yadav has proved his acting skills with this movie. With excellent comic timing and effortless dialogue delivery, he manages to pep some of the movie up on his own. However, I fail to understand why there is a vast difference between the general attitudes of both the characters. While Uday is your typical road-side Romeo, Ragini is the sophisticated, cute south-Bombay girl.

The film, thankfully, has almost done justice to its title by explicitly showing the couple making out or being physically intimate at various points in time. Nevertheless, it’s still never a good idea to say something as turning off as “Let’s rock under your frock!” in the midst of a passionate lip-lock.

When it comes to the plot, it is not entirely original but I personally liked the way the fear was shown. Instead of screaming and shouting loudly, the characters choose to emote more with their eyes and do a brilliant job of acting shell-shocked whenever the ghost tries to make its presence felt. Raj Kumar Yadav does a brilliant job of expressing his fear. The first half of the film would maybe make you repent going for the movie but the second half is not all that bad.

Kainaz Motivala supports the film on her own shoulders in the second half and she has come a long, long way from being ‘the Tanya chick in Wake Up Sid’ (there’s actually something like that on Facebook). She screams so realistically in desperation but sometimes, you feel the film makes her go a little overboard. However, all this while she is chained to the bed and she makes use of the restricted space really well. The ghost is felt more through her invisible presence than by seeing her physically.

The story is of this woman who has been accused of being a witch, a chudail and of killing her children. The woman dies because of this and comes back as a ghost to kill her family and still lives in the house. She keeps saying that

1. She isn’t a witch

2. She didn’t kill her children

3. The house is only hers.

These lines are so repetitive that by the end, you find yourself mouthing them along with her.

The movie does have some brilliant scenes to boast about. The scene where Ragini is dragged by the hair into the house is so real that even the neon silhouette of the ghost starts seeming like an actual person. The best is however a scene in the beginning where Ragini and Uday are passionately into each other and in the background, a white, wispy foot starts climbing the staircase.

The lighting of the film deserves special mention. A lot of it is lit in neon which helps create a good over-all feel. A canopy of trees is lit just in neon in the end while Ragini is running in the middle. That produces a brilliant effect and makes you yearn that you knew the dimensions of that space because you don’t know what she’s going to run into next. The sound-effects are typical but they save the film tremendously. A lot of times, they create false alarms and audience curiosity increases drastically. Shots of three places in the house are shown consistently throughout the film with really good effects in the background. Even though you are seeing the same places again and again, you feel something new is going to happen each time only because of the sound effects.

All in all, the first half is utterly hopeless but the second half does have some real spooky scenes. You’re still not going to miss anything by not seeing it. However, if you love horror, do watch it but don’t anticipate any sleepless nights.

We had done an interview with Kainaz Motivala earlier, it can be read here: