? Question Mark Movie Review

Posted by baynews on Feb 23rd, 2012 and filed under Movie Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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Percept Picture Company

Cast:

Akhlaque Khan, Yaman Chatwal, Varun Thakur, Chirag Jain, Sonam Mukherjee, Maanvi Gagroo, Kiran Bhatia

Direction:

Allyson Patel, Yash Dave

Production:

Shailendra Singh

Ok, so the makers have pretty much called the film (and rightly too) as the one that belongs to ‘Found Footage’ genre. However before one begins to claim that this is a genre that is ‘fast gaining’ popularity, let the fact be stated that this in fact is not really true. Yes, there is a ‘Paranormal Activity’ or ‘The Blair Witch Project’ reference that is bound to be made but let’s not forget that only one such film in perhaps five years or so has actually gained reached out to a wider audience and seen good popularity. While in terms of sheer numbers too there are hardly such films being made while the ones that did eventually hit the screens were lost in oblivion as well.

No wonder, there hasn’t been much word around ‘?’ as well since the genre is pretty much in it’s infancy in Indian markets as well. There has been an occasional ‘Love Sex aur Dhokha’ or ‘Ragini MMS’ (both helmed by Ekta Kapoor and reasonably successful) but then these films too have enjoyed only limited audience. Also, there was ample dose of sex-n-sleaze element included in the narrative that allowed them to reach out to even that segment of audience that was clueless around ‘Found footage’ genre.

Coming to ‘?’ then well, from the sheer plot perspective it pretty much follows the predictable route. Bunch of students come together to shoot a film, find themselves at a haunted mansion and expectedly start getting possessed. No issues with that though since the genre pretty much demanded a setting like this that could have allowed a spine chilling narrative.

In that context director duo of Allyson Patel and Yash Dave succeeds to an extent as well since there are portions in the film where you actually feel trapped in the surroundings. Of course the genre by itself has a major role to play as well since the ‘reality’ factor is what does the trick. Due to the fact that as a viewer you are led to believe that it is a real footage that is being seen and the ones who shot it are presumably dead, there is obvious tension that seeps into the atmosphere.

This also means that cliched sequences are pretty much in abundance and that is further accentuated with the sound design as well as (real) camerawork. Since a film like this has to be technically well managed, one has to acknowledge ‘?’ for staying true to it’s genre instead of straying away and becoming conventionally Bollywood.

However the trouble lies in the latter part of the film where conventional elements start seeping in and the scare factor begins to diminish. Though shocks and scares still remain, they aren’t of the same quantum as was the case in the earlier part of the film. Due to that ‘?’ begins to get diluted in it’s narrative and the suspense that had been created so far doesn’t quite manage a forceful appeal throughout. The penultimate reels of the film do bring back some level of excitement though, hence making ‘?’ a reasonably satisfying affair and a good beginning for an amateur team of cast and crew.

There are seven new entrants (Akhlaque Khan, Yaman Chatwal, Varun Thakur, Chirag Jain, Sonam Mukherjee, Maanvi Gagroo, Kiran Bhatia) in the film and though it is tough to point out who played whom here, one has to acknowledge the fact that each one of them fitted into their parts well and also came up with a ‘realistic’ performance, as was the requirement of ‘?’. They would definitely have been happier though had the makers promoted this film to some extent at the least that would have enabled some good visibility. Though ‘?’ may not be a must watch chilling affair, it is still an experiment to be acknowledged.

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