Duration: 01 Hr 30 Mins
Director: Elan Dassani, Rajeev Dassani
Writers: Madhuri Shekar
Producers: Ian Watermeier, Nina Anand Aujla
Executive Producer: Jason Blum, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Lisa Bruce, Marci Wiseman, Jeremy Gold, Guy Stodel, Anjula Acharia, Kyle Chalmers, Chris Dickie, Emilia Lapenta, Kate Lavin, Ian Watermeier
Production Company: Blumhouse Productions, Purple Pebble Pictures
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 13th October 2020
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime
Star Cast: Sarita Choudhury, Sunita Mani, Bernard White, Omar Maskati, Anjali Bhimani, Nupur Charyalu, Lena Clark, Asad Durrani, Kim Patel, Ramesh Reddy, Pritesh Shah, Kamran Shaikh, Ash Thapliyal, Rachel Cora Wood
Plot: Pallavi (Sunita Mani) is an aspiring writer living in New Orleans (USA). Her mother, Usha Khatri (Sarita Choudhury) who is thousands of miles away in Delhi is obsessed with finding a husband for her daughter. And so, Pallavi agrees to go out on a date with a potential groom. But while Pallavi waits for him at a café, she meets another man. Their eyes lock, smiles are exchanged and they hit it off immediately.
Over the next couple of weeks, Pallavi tells Usha about Sandeep (Omar Maskati), but Usha’s happiness turns into fear when she notices strange similarities between Pallavi's boyfriend Sandeep and a frightening figure from her own past. Although her suspicions are brushed off by friends and family, the more Usha learns about this new man in her daughter's life, the more certain she becomes that an evil force from 30 years earlier has returned.
As the curse from the past reawakens in the present to torment the family, the seemingly perfect romance turns into a nightmare, and what happens next forms the rest of the story.
Review: Evil Eye, the suspenseful thriller directed by Elan and Rajeev Dassani breathes in invigorating, culturally specific supernatural elements. Adapted by playwright Madhuri Shekar from her audio drama, the spiritual concepts of reincarnation and karma was a hit for Amazon’s audible platform, therefore this new iteration fits smoothly as well. However, some echo between the rich cultural superstitions of New Orleans and those of India might have elevated the story into the distinctive horror sphere, but its failure to make more of the Louisiana setting is one disappointment in Madhuri Shekar's script.
Nevertheless, the standout element of Evil Eye is Sarita Choudhury, who played the role of Usha Khatri. Her complexities with a mesmerizing balance of flinty determination and edge-of-insanity obsession are magnetic. Whereas, the accelerated courtship of Pallavi played by Sunita Mani and the rich, handsome stranger Sandeep played by Omar Maskati feels less interesting. But when the two worlds come together, the film builds up the tension for an exciting climax. For instance, there is a chilling glint in Omar Maskati’s eyes when the character Sandeep speaks for the first time on the phone to the mother of his fiancée, with a familiarity that amplifies Usha's suspicions.
As far as the technical aspects of the film are concerned, Editor Kristina Hamilton-Grobler does a graceful job of jumping back and forth across continents and from present to past, as fragments of the disturbing chapter of Usha's younger years come together. Even Ronit Kirchman's ominous score is effective at blurring the line between reality and the scared mind.
However, if the film was cleverly written or directed with good horror elements, it could have worked. The film perhaps might find some fascination in the West, for their obsession with Indian mysticism. But here in India, ‘Evil Eye’ brings nothing new to the table.
Overall, the film ‘Evil Eye’ is a mother-daughter story that is packed with plenty of compelling cultural specificity inside its frames, which is neither thrilling nor scary enough, as it does not attempt to dig any deeper!