Horror movie makers fear just one thing – that their horror movie turns out into an unintentional comedy in the theaters. Apart from a handful, every Bollywood horror movie has had this fate. So much so that some smart-alec went ahead and made horror-comedy a whole new genre. It’s alright when a stifle and a giggle is the required effect. Some hardcore horror fans actually laugh out uncomfortably when a genuinely spooky scene plays out in the theater. Unfortunately, any giggles and laughs that emanate from a cinema that’s playing Cinema is not the required effect. Cookie is a strange movie. It has a Bollywood horror royalty name attached to it. It has one actor who has proven her caliber and another who’s becoming a name unto herself. Even so, this cookie will crumble faster than a real one does in a hot cup of tea.
Watch Cookie Bollywood Horror Movie Trailer:
A saving grace that Lalit Marathe, the director and Smita Tripathi don’t go for the age-old trope of a spirit haunting a family because of some external reason – like them moving in a house, or visiting someplace in the forest, so on and so forth. In the movie, Cookie (Vibhoutee Sharma) is a neurotic, weird and ultimately unlikeable young woman, who thinks that her doctor parents (Reema Wadhwa and Rajeev Gupta) love their younger daughter more than her. One tiff leads to another and the inevitable happens – Cookie dies – she’s raped and murdered, actually. An enraged Cookie vows justice for herself, but she has little agency to do so, apart from taking over the life of her mother.
Bollywood horror creators once again fall for the same trap. A great concept with stupendous potential marred by lame direction, rank bad performances and uninspired performances. There’s just no way you can like any of the characters because you know very little about them. Cookie is this yelling, always angry, brat of a kid who’s either drinking or fighting with her parents. The parents literally walk into the house and the screenplay warps them in – giving the audience very little time to understand them.
My reviews usually tell you that a horror movie is an opportunity lost. That’s because they are. Think about Cookie’s script on paper. A daughter who thinks she’s ignored ends up dead and uses her mother’s being to extract revenge. Think about how many layers of script and characterization can be set in this one sentence. Unfortunately, director Lalit Marathe is intent on making a Kill Bill when the world’s waiting for the next Eyes Wide Shut, and I have nothing against both the movies.
There are tens of things in the screenplay that you don’t understand. But there are also aspects of the Bollywood horror movie’s story that you don’t understand. How does Sai Tamhankar land in this movie? How does Heeba Shah come to this movie? Maybe Lalit Marathe’s filmography did them in, but maybe that’s what will get the initial audience to the theaters as well.
What’s unusual is that Lalit Marathe has two actors who are the meat of the story actually, the ghost and the haunted, and both ham up their performances to a level unknown. The greater blame falls on Vibhoutee Sharma, who wants to walk the thin line between portraying a strong female character and a deeply flawed one, and unfortunately makes a mess of the entire process. Reema Wadhwa still has something going on for her in her performance.
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