Vikram Bhatt seems rather inspired by Ram Gopal Varma as he crafts yet another horror/supernatural thriller.
Much like his Dangerous Ishhq, Raaz 3 is also a waste of 3D technology and unnecessarily demands the use of uncomfortable glasses.
Shanaya (Bipasha Basu) is an ambitious actress, addicted to fame and celebrity. A devout Hindu, she loses faith in her god when the best actress award goes to her competitor Sanjana (Esha Gupta). Obsessed with destroying Sanjana, who also happens to be her half sister, Shanaya invokes a new god – a dark, evil, amorphous being that practices black magic.
Shanaya manipulates her boyfriend, film director Aditya (Emraan Hashmi) into becoming an accessory to Sanjana’s slow, painful and frightening destruction. A trapped Aditya is torn between his faith, conscience, obligation to Shanaya and attraction to the vulnerable and pure Sanjana. The only way to save Sanjana is to free her from the evil spirit that is killing her.
Within this genre, Raaz 3 has an interesting set up, but like most Hindi films it takes too long to tell it and relies on too many clichés, eg invoking the spirits in a graveyard; the evil woman wearing black, the victim wearing white; scary clowns etc. The dialogue is often so ridiculous that proceedings become involuntarily funny like when Shanaya challenges Aditya saying, “If you love me you can be stupid for me”, or sample this: “Bachcha aur kutta pyaar ka bhooka hota hai (a child and a dog are hungry for love).”
Bhatt also gets the rhythm of the suspense-building wrong, going all too rapidly from grotesque (decapitation) to a kiss and song scene. It does not help that the acting is also at different levels. Hashmi is relatively measured but also comes across as rather disinterested. Gupta is handed over a complex role that she does not have the range or experience to deliver on. Fortunately the chemistry between Hashmi and Gupta works. So most of the burden to convince rests on Basu’s fit shoulders – and she does. You do believe that she is menacing and wicked, though it is eventually confusing as to why she is behaving like a woman possessed, running through corridors in elegant designer heels even as she is being bludgeoned!
The art direction for the underworld is shoddy, as are the special effects, but the costumes are rather good. The songs and dances are largely superfluous. You can almost hear Esha Gupta counting her steps as she tries hard to dance. She works harder in the cockroach attack scene but that’s based mainly on lung power. As for the intentional scares – you can see them coming minutes before, which means that you are prepared and recover quickly. But mostly you find yourself fidgeting and glancing at your watch willing the torture would end – not for Sanjana, for yourself.