MUMBAI — No we have not misspelt the name of a multi-season hit dance reality show! This movie’s all about daayans (female evil spirits), see? And though the worst of them wreaks havoc in London, causing the heroine Shivangi (Meera ‘Single-Expression’ Chopra)’s newlywed husband Veer-Sa (Vishal Karwal, a chocolate hero from television) to age years in days, Ms. D has been ‘exported’ into 1920’s London straight from India by a revengeful man who feels that he has been deprived of what is rightfully his. More than this would be a nasty ‘horror’ of a spoiler for those who will go watch this one!

Anyway, this daayan is so devilish that she comes ‘packed’ in a locket sent from Rajasthan, the hometown of Shivangi and Veer-Sa. Diabolical like all daayans, she decides to just kill him slowly. But ‘pativrataa’ Shivangi, made of sterner stuff, who is deliriously in love with her hubby, cannot see him wither away and rushes to India (several weeks away by ship in those ‘plane-less’ days!) to find a solution, suspecting her husband’s relatives of ‘kaala jaadoo’ (black magic).

She lands finally with ex-lover Jai (Sharman Joshi), now a fancy outfit-wearing-tantrik par excellence, who, she is told, is the only one who can save her. The tantrik is not interested, as Shivangi had ditched him, but comes around when he remembers his tantrik guru’s advice to use his powers altruistically.

So Shivangi sails with ex-lover Jai back to London, consuming a few more weeks of travel, landing with him in what is essentially a miniskirt. Jai convinces the London hospital faculty that Indian daayans can make victims daayans…sorry!...dance to their tunes in grotesque ways so that possessed hubby who has been admitted therein must be taken home for the exorcism process. Pre-interval, there is a twist in the tale — the only really fresh thing in the horror tale apart from the foggy views of England’s capital in 1920 in a Hindi film.

It is probably this twist and the entertainment value (people love to laugh at horror scenes if they are not scary, as in this film!) that makes this movie fare better than the competition this week. Otherwise, besides the scenic yet VFX-manipulated vistas of London and its mansions, there is nothing to recommend in yet another horror drama.

A lavishly-produced film that is a B-grader in concept and even treatment, this reviewer visited the film only on Day 3, because he was curious how and why it was doing good business — and it’s been a long while since such movies have done decent weekends. There was no press screening, because the producers probably had a phobia of critics behaving like evil spirits!

Joshi in a gray role impresses in most sequences, but no one else has any scope, and Sushmita Mukherjee does her routine bit. The music (earlier a must-have-A-grade necessity for films of this genre) sucks big-time; the lyrics are best not commented upon here — in any case, we have elaborated on them in the audio review.

Director Tinu Suresh Desai improves upon the previous “1920—Evil Returns” (directed by someone else), but that’s small consolation. The original “1920” wrenched our heart because of its powerful subject, besides being quite scary. This one’s just good fun — unintentionally —while it lasts.

Rating: **

Reliance Entertainment and ASA Films present “1920 London”

Produced by: Vikram Bhatt

Directed by: Tinu Suresh Desai

Written by: Vikram Bhatt, Sukmani Sadana and Girish Dhamija

Music: Sharib-Toshi and Kaushik-Akash J.A.M.

Starring: Sharman Joshi, Meera Chopra, Vishal Karwal, Sushmita Mukherjee, Avtar Gill and others

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