Vaastu Shastra (2004)

Sourabh Usha Narang - Director / Amar Mohile - Music

N/A - Lyrics / Running time: 1 hour 46 minutes

Own it!

In the continuation of my research on the Indian horror film genre, this movie was suggested as a good candidate. As I am rapidly learning, these films are quick to sample from other, better-known works in the category. So far, I've looked at Dhund - The Fog (I Know What You Did Last Summer), Bhoot (The Sixth Sense & The Exorcist), and Krishna Cottage (slightly lifted Ringu/The Ring). The subject of this article continues in this grand tradition, and brings us the closest thing I've seen so far to an Indian version of The Shining.

Vaastu Shastra has the following in common with the aforementioned Kubrick film - isolation in a large new home, a small boy that sees/speaks with people that no one else can see, a father who is an author and works at home, and a relatively normal mother who serves as the emotional anchor for the family when things get weird. I will say this though, it's not a bad movie by any means. I rather enjoyed it as I went along, so the similarities to The Shining didn't bother me all that much. Plus, Peeya Rai Choudhari is seriously cute.

I also learned that the phrase "vaastu shastra" is actually the name of a practice in designing homes, and even towns. It reminded me of feng shui, if you are more familiar with that practice. Certain directions and locations have a bearing on those that interact with them, so to lay out a floor plan or room design in concordance with vaastu shastra can affect those living there, according to the system. This isn't that big of a deal in the movie, so I'm not sure why that merited the title. In fact, it's only mentioned once in the movie, about five minutes into it. If there are other nods or references to it within the set design and layout of the rooms that I'm just not familiar with, I missed them.

I apologize in advance for the dark screenshots. This movie spends a lot of the time in the dark, but I'll do the best I can. Also, this film is also song-free! Check out the running time up there!

Last but not least, there should be an additional warning on this article. Some of the pictures are a little intense, and there is also some adult language in the subtitles on a few of them.

We have two repeat performers here, but neither of them have had a major part in any of my full-sized articles.

Sushmita Sen has appeared in Main Hoon Na, featured in the Army of Monkeys Shorts Collection Vol. 2 as the love interest of Shah Rukh Khan. She's an enjoyable actress, has done very well in both of the movies I've seen her in.

Also with us is Sayaji Shinde, who was last seen in Chaahat Ek Nasha... as the lively and occasionally spastic Manmohan Rangeela. His role this time out is far more reserved. He looks nice in a uniform though, so I don't think anyone will complain.

For this outing, we have on the roster:

Jhilmil Rao (Sushmita Sen) - A successful doctor and proud mother. She's very excited about her new house. For the time being, that is.
Virag Rao (Chekravarthy) - An author who works from home, and the husband of Jhilmil.
Rohan Rao (Ahsaas Channa) - The young son of Virag and Jhilhil. He seems quick to make new friends, despite the fact that they may not actually be real.
Radhika (Peeya Rai Choudhari) - Jhilmil's younger sister who lives with the rest of the family. She's a college student, and just a wee bit mischievous. Also known as "Radz."
Murli (Purab Kohli) - Radhika's boyfriend, and that's about all I can say about him. Oh, that and he has a motorcycle.
Inspector Bhujbal (Sayaji Shinde) - The police officer in charge of the case that I haven't told you about yet since it would spoil the suspense.
Rukma (Rasika Joshi) - The nanny hired to keep Rohan company in the new house. She's hideously under-qualified.
Rajpal (Rajpal Yadav) - While by most accounts he is completely crazy, he might actually know a thing or two about the odd events surrounding the Rao family.

Imaginary friends aren't always a sign of creativity. Sometimes they're planning to kill you and everyone you hold dear. Just a little heads-up.

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