Movies

‘Dhiya’ review: a banal revenge thriller that lacks sensitivity

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How much you agree or disagree with Vijay’s Dhiya (earlier titled Lycavin Karu) depends largely on where you stand on the pro-choice versus pro-life debate. But it is not really a film that sets up a discussion to get us talking about abortion and the two sides of that coin. Dhiya, even 10 minutes into it, has already picked a side and it is unapologetically pro-life.

The film begins in a city hospital with 19-year-old Thulasi (Sai Pallavi in her Tamil debut) being told she’s pregnant. The fact that she is unmarried is enough for her educated parents to moot an abortion and they go ahead with it, without Thulasi’s approval.

Five years on and Thulasi is married to Krishna (Naga Shaurya), the same boyfriend who had impregnated her earlier. But all is not well with Thulasi. She has struggled to cope with the abortion and she maintains a notebook where she sketches images of a five-year-old girl. Thulasi has named her Dhiya and believes she is her daughter.

Dhiya
  • Genre: Horror
  • Cast: Sai Pallavi, Naga Shaurya, Veronika
  • Storyline: Five years after an abortion, the ghost of the five-year-old returns to haunt a family

Just when we think the stage is set for an emotional drama delving deeper into the mind of a mother who has undergone an abortion, the film changes tracks. Dhiya returns as a ghost to ‘abort’ people who were behind her death and her victims die of suffocation after being trapped in places - a water tank, an elevator, a car - similar to a baby in a womb undergoing abortion.

The director attempts to use horror to portray a serious issue, just like we have seen in films like Get Out or the more recent, Mercury, but the treatment is strictly that of a banal revenge thriller that lacks sensitivity. And this is where Dhiya fails to be anything more than the ordinary.

It is impossible to take a film that talks about the value of life seriously when there’s a gruesome murder every 20 minutes. And when the little girl’s ghost is shown to be so vengeful, one can only imagine what she would have done had she been alive.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:50:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/dhiya-review-a-banal-revenge-thriller-that-lacks-sensitivity/article23693769.ece

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