|The ApunKaChoice movie review of ‘Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai’. Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai aur purani yeh kahani hai. A haunted house. A couple moves in. The wife suspects a presence watching her all the time. She complains to hubby dear, “ye ghar theek nahin hain,” and the hubby makes light of it, blaming it on wifey’s morbid imagination. Then the ghost strikes, possesses the wife. An exorcist who talks and acts like someone heavily doped is then called in to tame the evil spirit.
Yawn yawn…snooze snooze. Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai is like an old fish in a new aquarium, making all the predictable moves, snarling and flapping its fickle fins. The tropes of horror genre are employed by director Deboley Dey with unapologetic conviction and frequency. Eerie sounds and shifting shadows flit on the screen before the director steps on the scare pedal, and we see actress Swara Bhaskar turn from a scared maiden to a possessed girl with severe facial and limb contortions, and ghastly sound effects to boot.
Credit to Swara Bhaskar for trying to take to the role like a Machhli to Jal, but her best efforts fall flat in the face of a shallow script and wishy-washy direction.
The plot is predictable. It takes no Hitchcock to connect the dots between the fatal road accident and the spooky goings-on in the house. What remains open to interpretation is whether they are just the housewife’s imaginings or real ghosts out to unleash the hell of Halloween on her.
Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai does have some scary moments, but there are also those that tickle your spine more than send shivers through it. For instance, a portion of the sequence where the exorcist takes on the ghost will leave one chuckling.
The last half-hour is intended as an out-and-out spookfest, and the director cleverly leaves an open strand in the end, perhaps for a sequel. One hopes better sense will prevail.