In one of the first scenes in Pari, the camera moves away from the image of a cheap toy hanging from a rear-view mirror. The suspended object is a plastic fairy. At this point, one wonders if director Prosit Roy’s supernatural thriller will be full of cheesy symbolism and tasteless props (which Ram Gopal Varma often exaggerates).
The film takes a long time to establish a morbid atmosphere, and most of the thrills take place in the first hour. It’s the monsoon in Kolkata, and it’s dark, noisy and sinister. There is a scary forest, wild dogs and a one-eyed professor (Rajat Kapoor) with questionable motives. Many things bump into each other in the night, doors slam and sudden noises and grunts make you jump on your seat. There will be blood, and lots of blood.
A disheveled, wild and wounded woman (Anushka Sharma) appears in chains. A guilty young man, Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee), feels responsible for this frightened and fragile woman. The 137-minute story only intensifies in the meantime.
The horror/surreurreal thriller genre benefits enormously from a concise narrative with quick action. The audience has time to be logical. What is the connection between a local cult and a report on a macabre event in Bangladesh? Is it really raining so much in Calcutta? Why does the shy Arnab play the role of the protector of a strange woman (Anushka Sharma)? Guilt aside, has he been deceived by the woman’s innocence and does he enjoy playing the savior? Why don’t the police investigate the deaths and murders in the area?
Pari is technically competent, and Prosit Roy enjoys a great deal of production support. The costumes, make-up and background music are remarkable. The cast, which includes Ritabhari Chakraborty in the role of Arnab’s fiancée, contributes to entire performances. Anushka Sharma, in particular, immerses herself in a physically exhausting character. However, an elaborate theme of satanic worship as well as the themes of good versus evil and love limit the film’s appeal to the faithful viewer of this genre.