It is the Halloween weekend and Netflix has come up with a brand new Indian Horror film, Kaali Khuhi. From the trailer, it seemed to have an important social message of female infanticide tagged to it too. In the past, horror and a social cause mix has been associated with films like Lapachhapi or even Bulbull. This is a tricky genre as the writers have to tread a thin path, to stay true to the genre as well as provide some light on the social issue. With Kaali Khuhi, could we expect both, does it scare the living daylights out of you or is it a damp squib, lets find out.
Kaali Khuhi is set in a village of Punjab which is mostly covered with fog and rain. A girl with her family visits this village for her old yet ill grandmother where a dark secret awaits her. The story is outstanding and I really loved its premise too. Sadly, the outstanding story is marred by overindulgent writing that is unnecessarily swayed in its social issue which otherwise should have stayed true to its genre. While the sound and atmospherics set up the mood perfectly, it is the writing that is flat and just doesn’t hold your attention. While it was still alright for two-thirds of the movie, the last 30 minutes were an absolute trainwreck. Trust me when I say this, I wanted to love the movie which had made an effort to tell a socially relevant tale but the writing was somewhere lost in the fog. Director Terrie Samundra leaves alot to be desired, her execution misses the mark and by some distance.
The performances are alright but none could rise and save the sinking ship. The veteran Shabama Azmi is good in a character that was wobbly. Satyadeep Misra and Sanjeeda Shaikh are talented actors but neither of them leave an impact here. Riva Arora as Shivangi(you might remember her from Uri) tries her best too but it is only so much actors can do when the writing is kaput.
Kaali Khuhi is a missed opportunity. The story had the potential but the plot was lost in the fog. This Halloween, skil this one and rewatch Tummbad instead. Kaali Khuhi is available on Netflix.