No better way to pull the crowds than saying 'Sexual Violence' in red on the
poster, eh, Mr. Dhanoa? Mr. Dhanoa is apparently going blue in the face insisting
that Hawa is not inspired by the Hollywood thriller The
. Then I would seriously recommend contacting the makers of that film
at the earliest, man, 'cos you guys are flippin' soulmates! Especially the writers...
man, to have the same idea and even the same screen shots from across seas and
continents and mountains and all that... I mean, like, wow! I also heard someone
gave one Mr. Anu Malik a lifetime achievement award for originality. C'mon dude,
the least you can do is have the moral integrity to admit to pinching a story,
or being 'inspired' by it.
Hawa is the story of Sanjana (Tabu) and her family. She moves to Manali with her two small daughters and her brother Vicky. As is to be expected, weird stuff starts happening almost right away. An old local woman comes to Sanjana's curio shop and gives her a charm bracelet to keep, but she sells it off.
At home, the dog Tramp (not inspired by The Lady and the Tramp, of course!) starts acting up, runs away, gets possessed... your basic horror prelude stuff. One night, Sanjana is violently raped by a person she does not, or rather can not, see. She is understandably freaked out and runs to a friend's house with family in tow. The suspense (or anticipation for some) of when she will be attacked next drags the film to the interval after an episode of her car going crazy and homicidal.
After dragging yourself back because you shelled out a fair bit for your painful, pan-stained corner seat, but mainly because the TV trailers have told you the best is yet to come, you are introduced to Dr. Asif Ali (Shahbaaz Khan). Sanjana finally decides to consult him, and the psychiatrist puts ideas into her head of childhood trauma, repressed desires and the like. She passes on the Freud recap and this is followed by two really bold scenes.
Sanjana is attacked by the 'thing' in the shower, and this time, it's vicious. And it happens again the next night in front of her kids. For me, this was a significant moment in Hindi cinema, because these are really bold scenes and not some cheap, soft porn flick. There's also a scene where the 'thing' actually seduces Sanjana in her sleep. For an established and accomplished actress like Tabu to pull off such a scene so unselfconsciously, in front of a camera and crew, is quite an achievement. Kudos to her.
Here is where the film deteriorates into a C-grade horror film. There's an exorcist, a good versus evil thingie and even a zero-gravity session. The new exorcist/'doctor' tells Sanjana that she will have to fight the ghost on her own, and she says 'Aakhri saans tak ladungi, doctor'. When I heard that, I knew it was all over and any attempt to rise to meaningful cinema from there would be useless. You have some graphics depicting the baaaad ghost (again, not inspired by Iron Maiden's Eddie the Head!) and that's about it, really.
Hawa was apparently shot in a month, and it shows. Someone must've fallen sick and the film was probably completed by the spot boys or light boys who just came back from the night show of Maut Ka Khel or Khoon Kharaaba or some such trash. The climax negates a very good performance by Tabu, who deserved a stronger handling of the script.
The Saikumar of Hindi films, at least in dialogue delivery, Shahbaaz Khan is decent in his short role. The background music director Surendra Modi has done a good job as well, but he needn't have bothered because the audience provided their own sound effects for most of the film. Some of them were quite funny, actually!
If you want story, watch The Entity. If you want sex, watch The Entity. If you want to watch Tabu, this is your best bet.