This anaemic launch vehicle of Udit Narayan Jr. scares you as much as an anaemic launch vehicle of Udit Narayan Jr. possibly can. In the end, we realize that not only has the Bhatt stamp run out of ink - they're using water now.
Shaapit is the story of a curse that's been passed down several generations to our heroine Kaya (Shweta Agarwal), from the Maharajas of an ancient kingdom called Mahipalpur. Owing to an atrocity committed by the brother of a ruler, the women in the family are cursed to meet their death if ever they were to even think of getting married.
So, soon after Kaya's boyfriend Aman (Aditya Narayan) proposes to her, the couple has an accident - involving a particularly abrupt ghost standing in their way. The love birds come out lucky, but Kaya's parents try to cajole her out of any thoughts of marriage. Aman won't have any of this, and wants to set things straight. He and his friend approach a professor of paranormal science, Pashupathi (Rahul Dev).
After convincing the reluctant ghost-expert, and after a couple of spookless scenes in a library and a in burnt movie theatre, Aman, his friend, Kaya and Pashupathi head to Mahipalpur to resolve the mystery of the buri atma and its origins.
Shaapit's problem is its infinite hesitance to scare you. It takes a few of red herrings seriously - by way of sparsely laid-out gimmicks like tables and chairs moving, and wind whooshing down a castle's corridors - but that's about it. Neither are these props intimidating by themselves nor are the actual â€œghostâ€ scenes any jolting - both kinds end up being part of the giant nothingness that is part of the film's horror quotient.
And it might have been so because too much effort went into actually weaving a proper story. Still, even minus the lack of chills, Shaapit suffers. Poorly directed scenes, the professor's ludicrous theses (for example, in the laughably baffling scenes at the burnt movie theatre), the unconvincing old burnt-faced hag of a ghost, a squelchy answer climax as an answer to the wishy-washy suspense - all somehow pitch in to make Shaapit what it is.
For Aditya Narayan, this could have been a Twilight-style adventure flick even if it isn't a spine-chiller that'll leave him indelible on the minds of audiences. It is neither, and the boy-hero now faces a threat of being stuck in B-graders. Shweta Agarwal looks uncannily like Mallika Sherawat in some scenes, but is still a beginner. Rahul Dev's role only lets him look dignified and, sometimes, badly dressed.
The music and technical effects are quite a huge let-down. The outdoor night time scenes reek of cardboard settings. The special effects are for the beginner-level in horror film making - there's nothing remotely grotesque or mind-boggling there. Ditto for the music, except for one or two love ballads, signature Bhatt thriller style.
Well, watch it if you must, but if lights scarily going off and coming on are all that it takes to scare you, you're better off at home with the power cuts.