An engaging thriller that demands all your attention

Story: In the 1990s, during a wild thunderstorm night, 12-year-old Anay dies in a road accident shortly after he sees his next-door neighbour covering up his wife’s murder. Twenty-five years later, in a strange turn of events, on an identical stormy night, Antara finds herself in front of a TV set through which she attempts to save Anay’s life. It sets in motion a chain of events that change the reality around her.

Review: The official remake of the Spanish film Mirage, Do Baaraa is set in Pune and oscillates between the mid-1990s and the current times. The chain of events sets in with 12-year-old Anay (…) getting bumped off by a heavy vehicle while trying to escape from his neighbour’s (Saswata Chatterjee) house after witnessing a crime. Twenty-five years later, Antara (Taapsee), a nurse at a local hospital, moves into Anay’s house as its new owner with her husband. On a stormy night, identical to the one on which Anay died, Antara, aware of Anay’s death, finds herself communicating with Anay through his old TV set and video cassette. In the course of doing that, she accidentally sets in motion a chain of events that changes her reality.

Anurag Kashyap’s retelling of Mirage is complex and keeps you hooked. Aarti Bajaj’s editing should get due credit for making the runtime engrossing for most part. The film engages you from the first frame when you’re sucked into the feeling that something ominous is about to happen. As things begin to unfold one by one, you wonder where all of this is heading, hoping that course-correction for the characters’ journeys will find its way into the narrative at some point. It’s only sometime towards the fag end when one starts feeling restless with the runtime. Shortening the length a bit would have made the thriller even more taut.

Writer Nihit Bhave’s adapted screenplay (also the dialogue) is balanced – it doesn’t lose touch with the original while adding a plausible Indian touch to it. The character graphs are clean and simple. The screenplay also has a dash of straight-faced humour which is quite cool. The narrative sticks to its blueprint of being a romantic, time-travel thriller which is not too deep like a lot of Anurag’s other films, but subtly layered and complicated.

Taapsee Pannu and Pavail Gulati’s performances complement the writing and the tonality of the film. The narrative is centred on these two actors and their effort to get under the skin of their character is visible and the result is quite believable.

The film has two songs, although the plot didn’t need tracks to push the proceedings ahead. Also, in several places, the production design team needed to pay more heed to the finer details. Also, with Anurag and Taapsee in the mix, one expected a little more than what one gets from this film – that extra edge and emotional depth which makes their combination crackling to another degree.

Dobaaraa is an engaging thriller which is worth your time but do ensure that you don’t spend too much time munching the popcorn, lest you miss the beat. This one needs all your attention, so go dive in!

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