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"Shock" ... a faithful remake.

IT'S BEEN quite some time since you had a ghost story in Tamil films. In that sense Lakshmi Shanthi Movies' "Shock" (A) is a different fare for filmgoers. Even at the outset director Tyagarajan (he's at the helm in the areas of screenplay (!) and art too) has to be congratulated upon for not hampering the tempo with the usual frills of solos and song and dance routines. Sai Suresh's crisp editing is another elevating factor. A remake of Ramgopal Varma's "Bhoot," "Shock" safely sticks to the original all the way.

Vasanth (Prashanth) and his wife Malini (Meena) move to an apartment on the twelfth floor. Things begin to appear eerie as Malini senses the presence of `others' in the house — Manju the previous tenant, who had fallen from the balcony under mysterious circumstances and died, and her young daughter who had also met with a similar fate.

Soon Malini is possessed by Manju's spirit, which sets out on a murderous spree avenging those who had had a hand in her death and her daughter's. If only all the spirits could come back and fix culprits in such fashion, our crime rates should become non-existent!

It is a serious role for Prashanth, very different from the lover boy portrayals you've seen him in. And the hero has handled it with the maturity it warrants. As the caring husband distraught at his wife's condition he does a neat job.

The romantic sequences, few and far between as they are, have been dealt with in a natural manner.

Meena's expressive eyes speak volumes during her suffering moments. Looking petrified when she realises the home is haunted, unsure of herself at other times and menacing when possessed, the experienced artiste impresses. But somehow hers is more a child-like look. The beautiful eyes don't scare you the way Urmila Matondkar's did in "Bhoot." And the frightening violence that Urmila showed does not come out much in Meena's portrayal.

Tyagarajan plays the snooping cop and lends a touch of humour to the part.

As the servant of the house, Kalairani is a caricature meant to scare you, but she ends up looking comical and irritating.

The sudden manner in which Malini employs her without a query seems rather unnatural.

Suhasini plays the woman who communicates with the spirit of dead. But why should she sound so ominous even when talking to human beings?!

K. R. Vijaya enters the big screen in a miniscule role after eons. Innocent in appearance and villainous in his acts Abbas suits the role. Saratbabu's is another dignified performance.

They could announce a prize for viewers for giving the exact number of times the lift goes up and down and the number of times Prashanth enters and exits Raheja Towers! These things occur once too often in "Shock."

Music (Salim Sulaiman) is meant to scare and it does. Art is again an aesthetic aspect, though very similar to "Bhoot." Within the confines of a flat, the camera and lighting (M. V. Panneerselvam) contribute their best to enhance the impact "Shock" intends to make.

Tyagarajan has chosen a proven subject that could go down well with many and has handled it quite effectively.

As for son Prashanth, after the "Jai" debacle he is in dire need of a hit. "Shock" should see him through. The first half sags a little. The second moves at a faster pace. Only the film doesn't frighten you as much as they said it would.


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