Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Cast: Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol, Isha Koppikar
Storyline: When married man Fardeen accidentally kills his pregnant secretary after an affair, she comes back to haunt him
Bottomline: Blink. It’ll be gone.
When Darling wants to seduce her boss, he warns her “Log Dekh Rahe Hai.” And she asks him to close his eyes so that he can’t see them.
Ram Gopal Varma doesn’t need to worry about the first part. People aren’t watching. Darling is certainly not a word they would want to associate with him. Not after ‘Aag.’
Take a cue from the film and close your eyes. It’ll go away in no time.
The good bit first.
Darling is way better than ‘Aag’ because it does not have decent raw material to begin with. The horror show includes a fat chap hero with a butt-shaped chin, one heroine who looks like a man trapped inside a female’s body and another that looks like woman in a man’s.
No prizes for guessing who’s who. And hey, none of them can act to save their life or Varma’s. Which is what adds a spark of comedy to this grave spooky tale.
In spite of this flush-worthy line-up, Ram Gopal Varma does manage to keep things engaging, thanks to some seriously haunting cinematography in the first half. The bits before the ghost arrives, when all you see are the bhooth’s point of view remind you of the director’s class in setting up the stage for the film to take off.
Smartly crafted because that segment focuses on the psychological after-effects of a man guilty of causing his secretary’s death. This would’ve worked with a better actor. But Fardeen can’t manage close-ups for he does not understand underplaying. He’s Bollywood’s fat answer to Keanu Reeves.
Once the ghost makes an entry, even the cinematography can’t save the film. So what does he do for pay off? Realising he can only do so much with bad actors, he turns the second half into a comedy packing it with laughs. Some you laugh with, many you laugh at.
Like his recent films, Darling at least in a couple of scenes, flickers with the promise of a debutant director with potential.
What’s scary is that Varma has become the ghost of a filmmaker he once was. Sometimes there in the film, sometimes gone.