Aawaham (Phoonkh 2) : Dares But Doesn’t Scare Enough!!!
Release date: 16th April 2010
123Telugu.com Rating: 2.5/5
Director : Milind Gadagkar
Music Director : Rahul Pandirkar
Producer : Ram Gopal Varma
Starring : Sudeep, Amruta Khanvilkar, Ashwini Kalsekar and others...
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The highly hyped Phoonkh 1 was directed by Varma which despite all the hype was a dud at the box-office. This time, Varma plays producer and hands over the directorial baton to his assistant Milind who sincerely tries to replicate the Varma’s style direction in each scene, but doesn’t manage to scare enough. This disappointment hits more since Varma had claimed in his various media-interactions that Milind would re-write the rules of the horror film genre with Phoonkh 2 while the end-result ends up being almost of photo-copy of Phoonkh 1 in its technique!!!

What is it about: Starting where Phoonkh 1 left off, we have Rajiv (Sudip), Aaarthi (Ashwini) and their two kids Raksha and Rohan moving to the picturesque Alibaug to forget the horrors of the past. The sprawling beach-house which seems quite welcoming at first soon starts taking on an eerie air as we look around. A couple of scenes later, we start seeing the signs of the unwelcome spirit in the form of a doll that starts popping up everywhere. Pretty soon, the happy family starts encountering the evil spirit and the first half ends with the wife getting possessed by Madhu (the evil spirit who is still thirsting for revenge). The second half is no-holds barred battle between Madhu’s spirit and Rajiv with the vengeful spirit wrecking havoc by killing the people around him leaving him hopeless. The tame and lame climax is about how Rajiv defeats Madhu and what he loses in the bargain.

What is Good: Like all Varma horror productions, this one also relies totally on building up the suspense using everyday objects that take on an eerie tinge depending on the frame. There are many sequences where the scene moves at its own pace while you expect something to come to life up at every camera tilt or a sound effect. The cinematography by Charles Meher and the sound design by Jayesh come together very effectively in these scenes that are also helped by some deft editing. Performances by Sudeep, Ashwini and Ehsaas (who plays Raksha) are pretty good. Sudip’s intensity in some of the scenes is noteworthy and reminds you of his performance in Rann.

What is bad: What doesn’t work for Aawaham is that the chills factor doesn’t sustain through the second half alongwith some avoidable stereotypes. To start with, the famous stereotype of a ghost dressed in black with a scarred, whitened face has been used and abused so much and this is not something you expect to see a in a Varma flick. The next stereotype is the tantriks who get killed easily even before they can indulge in some mumbo-jumbo. At the end, when this all-powerful spirit is destroyed so easily, you feel like throwing up your hands asking whether all those horrors and murders were worth this simple end.

Me Thinks: Milind tries very hard to be faithful to Varma’s style & technique of treating a horror subject and so if you like that kind of horror genre, then you might want to give it a watch despite the last 20 disappointing minutes!

Tailpiece: RamGopal Varma’s factory churns out movies at a pace that would give most other producers an inferiority complex. The flipside of this assembly line production is that at times Quality is bypassed over Quantity leading to Varma producing mediocre offerings while he concentrates on big ventures like the forthcoming Raktha Charithra!!!

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123Telugu.com Rating : 2.5/5

Legend:    5 - Flawless
                4 - Must Watch
                3 - One Time Watch
                2 - Wait for the DVD
                1 - Stay Away
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