Darna Zaroori Hai (2006)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Suspense Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 104:18 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By J.D. Chakravarthi
Manish Gupta
Sajid Khan
Jijy Philip
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Amitabh Bachchan
Ritesh Deshmukh
Anil Kapoor
Mallika Sherawat
Manoj Pahwa
Randeep Hooda
Zakir Hussain
Sunil Shetty
Sonali Kulkarni
Rajpal Yadav
Bipasha Basu
Arjun Rampal
Makrand Deshpande
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Salim Merchant
Suleman Merchant
Amar Mohile


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Darna Zaroori Hai is an Indian film, in the Hindi language, directed by well-known director (in India) Ram Gopal Varma.   RGV, as he's known to his many fans is renowned for directing (and producing) many films that are a little off mainstream Bollywood. i.e. not packed with out-of-context dance sequences, nor formulaic storylines...well at least not all his films.

    Amongst the many films he's released, he has done a few very effective horror movies in the past, including Bhoot and Raat. These have been perhaps less than very successful, probably in part due to the Indian audience's lack of acceptance of this genre. There really have been very few genuine horror movies amongst the thousands of films made in Bollywood each year. Only in the relatively recent past have we started to see some horror movies coming from there, many of these being 'reimaginings' of Hollywood or even Japanese films.

    Darna is unusual in that it is actually a capsule of several short stories, linked together by a thread. Thread being the operative word here as their link is really rather tenuous at best. RGV has roped in several of his comrades to do the direction. In fact, each story has a different director, with RGV taking the reins as producer, but also as director of one of the stories.

    Without giving away too much of the sometimes rather flimsy plots, the stories themselves are as follows:

    1. A slightly overweight grown up lad, still living at home, watches every new movie on the first night it's released. As he's heading out to watch the most recent release, from director Ram Gopal Varma no less, he's cautioned by his mother not to take the short cut through the graveyard. Well, of course he does....

    2. A student arrives at a professor's house for help with his studies. The professor (Amitabh Bachchan)  is convinced that there's someone else in the house with the two of them. The student can't see anything and fears that his professor has gone somewhat loopy until...

    3. It's a dark and stormy night when a passing car breaks down and its driver, Arjun, comes to the door of a spooky mansion seeking help. He's welcomed in by a very lovely young woman (played by one of Bollywood's hot actresses, Bipasha Basu). She and her husband are both rather kooky and keep stalling his efforts to ring a mechanic for assistance. Talk turns to the calling of spirits of dead people, and of course Arjun disbelieves their ability to summon spirits...

    4. A young couple (played by Suniel Shetty and Sonali Kulkarni) are visited by a strange and rather persistent life insurance salesman. Despite the husband's ever increasing objections, the salesman refuses to leave. Finally push comes to shove, literally, resulting in someone's death...

    5. A story about a movie director (Bollywood stalwart Anil Kapoor) who is keen to release a horror movie and decides he would like to work on the project in isolation in his home far away from the city. En route to his hideaway he picks up a rather lovely young hitchhiker (Mallika Sherawat) who seems rather impressed that she has been picked up by such a well known director...

    6. It's a rainy night when a young man driving along a highway, whilst drinking and chatting on a mobile, swerves and just avoids colliding with a young woman in the middle of the road. He wakes up the next morning to find himself in jail, accused of murdering a man. Of course he protests loudly and insists he is innocent, something that the Inspector refuses to believe. The the victim's mother turns up, and is allowed in to see him (!) and that's when secrets from the past come forth, revealing a lot more than expected...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is presented at 2.35:1, matching its original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is sharp at all times, though perhaps not the sharpest I've seen.

    Shadow detail is good at all times, which is vital for a film that has many scenes in near-darkness.

    There was no visible low-level noise.

    There were a number of colour palettes on offer, not surprising given that each story was directed by a different person. This video transfer remains true to all the palettes, without ever exhibiting any colour bleed.

    There were occasional negative film artefacts such as white specks, made more visible because of the dark backgrounds. These were all small in size and not so frequent that they became distracting at any point.

    Switchable subtitles, in English, used a yellow font which was clear at all times. It was interesting that the subtitles were sometimes more 'polite' than the spoken word, for example some English 'swear words' were subtitled as something rather more genteel. Overall the subtitles were quite accurate to the original Hindi, and well timed with the onscreen dialog.

    This disk was a dual layer disk, though I was unable to detect the layer change point..

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The only soundtrack on this disk was Hindi in Dolby Digital 5.1

    Dialogue was shockingly badly, out of sync with the actors' lip movements. It seemed to start off badly, and actually get worse as the film went on. Perhaps as bad as 1 second ahead of the onscreen action. I'm not sure if this is a problem with the local mastering, or was a problem in the DVD source material. It certainly wasn't this noticeable on the original theatrical release and might not be that much of a concern if you're just reading the subtitles, but is very annoying if you follow Hindi.

    The music, credited to a number of musicians, was suitable for the type of film, with scary moments sometimes telegraphed by the music. Nothing particularly memorable.

    Rear surround channels were used quite effectively for some discrete sound effects, which added to the 'scary' atmosphere.

    The subwoofer piped through the requisite (for a modern horror film) deep bass sounds to add to the unsettling feeling for the viewer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   The only extra is a collection of trailers for other DVD releases from Madman entertainment. All the trailers are provided in the one 'package', i.e. you can't select individual trailers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film appears to have been released in R1 as well, but with no additional features. So unless you particularly want the NTSC version, the R4 version would be the best.

Summary

    Some of the stories are really quite enjoyable, and even contain some element of surprise or shock, but I felt that most were just a couple of minutes too short of being great. They occasionally gave me a feeling of watching episodes of Twilight Zone, which is no bad thing.

    However, all the stories are tied together with this premise of an old woman telling scary stories to a group of kids who take shelter in her house on a dark stormy night. The trouble is that this overarching story is very childish and seems to confuse the target audience for this film. Is Darna aimed at adults, which indeed many of its short stories are, or is it aimed at scaring kids? I feel it ultimately fails because it's trying to scare too wide an age range of viewers.

    There's some great acting by some of the cast, and the short stories themselves are enjoyable enough, but why were they linked together in such a relatively weak manner?

    Good picture and good sound on this DVD with the extras being limited to a few trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

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