Director: Raju Vishwanath
Cast: Anjali, Sam Jones, Makarand Deshpande, Yogi Babu, Mime Gopi, Brahmanandam
Yogi Babu appears in three scenes of Lisaa 3D. Brahmanandam appears in about 4.5 scenes in the film. I wish I could say that these seven and odd scenes are the best part of Lisaa 3D that redeemed the film for me but that would be a blatant lie. In terms of narrative, these scenes have absolutely no relevance to Lisaa the horror film, so one wonders why these scenes exist at all. But then in a genre first for a horror film, Lisaa also features a long speechifying sequence – a message – about children abandoning their parents and why that’s bad, and that’s why a killer old man got the Malaysian flight 370 to disappear forever.
Stuff that would be laughed out of a college comic sketch find their way into this supposed horror film. Perhaps the true horror in this film is that there are three people credited for script consultation and not one of them asked for the script to be changed or, better still, asked for the entire thing to be abandoned at a stage before it hit the screens.
But no, Lisaa released today and thus one must review it.
Lisaa is written and directed by debutant Raju Vishwanath, and produced by P G Muthiah of PG Media Works. The film stars Anjali, Sam Jones, Makarand Deshpande, Yogi Babu, Mime Gopi, Brahmanandam and the usual slew of prosthetic make up and special effects of a horror film. The film was shot by P G Muthiah and edited by S N Fazil. Santhosh Dayanidhi is the music composer. It is supposed to be India’s first Stereoscopic 3D horror film.
Lisaa (Anjali) is talking to her mother about love. She says Rahul takes good care of her. She says Rahul is a nice man. Her mother resists. Says her own parents, who were modern but disapproved of love, caused her to elope with Lisaa’s father and thus she can’t do love anymore. This scene is supposed to be all shocking and surprising because Lisaa is asking her mother to marry Rahul. Wow, so progressive.
Except the stilted dialogues – in a mixture of Tamil and English – delivered in a semi monotone by actors who haven’t warmed up to the scene or film – feel like nails against slate. Grating and totally unnecessary.
This entire bit at the start of the film is to set up the premise. Young woman lands up at far away grandparents’ house and thus unlocks sleeping ghosts and ghouls. Very original in that this involves a house in “Western Ghats”. That narrows it down.
And so Lisaa and Jagadish a. Jaggu (Sam Jones) drive down to Western Ghats from Chennai. It’s been a while but the last time I drove from Chennai to Ooty it took me some 10 hours and odd. Considering the roads have improved and cars have become better since then, I was very surprised Lisaa and Jaggu needed to stop overnight, sing an early morning song replete with group dancers, and change outfits before reaching their destination.
Reach they do, however, and all the clichés of horror films begin. Self closing gates, mysterious figure that materialises suddenly from the dark at the exact place you know it will materialise but turns out to be just the cat, rocking chairs that rock even when no one’s sitting in it except the first time this happens it is the wind and the second time it is a ghost, figures with long black hair that hang upside down as you walk down a staircase at night, mismatched odd couple you think are ghosts but actually aren’t, transistors and toys and electronic devices that switch on by themselves, faces and handprints at a window… Perhaps if Raju Vishwanath had thrown a kitchen sink at us in Stereoscopic 3D, we’d have been a little bit more taken aback.
The grandparents – DJ and Sara (played by extreme scenery chewing Makarand Deshpande and Saleema) – are the kind of people who’d make better liberal arts professors and/or fancy old art gallery curator couple than what they are in the film. Which is mincing about, playing Russian roulette and threatening passersby.
Jaggu says the house is haunted and Lisaa and he should escape, but Lisaa dismisses the suggestion of ghosts. But in the very next scene, Lisaa is out at night hunting ghosts and says she has seen a ghost the previous night. And because this is all boring and cliched and seriously un-horror, Yogi Babu appears in a scene and tries his best to be irreverently funny. Meanwhile somewhere else, Brahmanandam – who plays Jaggu’s father in a kind of role he has played before – says he has discovered where his son has run off to: Western Ghats. Even as he says Western Ghats, he gets a call from someone who says they have kidnapped his son and are holding him hostage in Thiruvannamalai. And he falls for it.
I understand this is supposed to be humourous but really, it’s just poor writing.
This kidnapping and hostage sequence is extended to after the interval and involves Brahmanandam – with the totally original character name LKG – supposedly arriving at another haunted house with its own ghoul, and a long very unfunny rip off of the Goundamani Senthil classic banana comedy routine.
Never mind that the scene just before the break was Lisaa and Jaggu encountering an actual supernatural being that emerges out of a television set.
Way to keep the thrills and excitement up, team.
Other discrepancies abound. Lisaa finds a signal jammer set in an old shed in the house. But the film’s own timeline has DJ and Sara arrive at the house barely days before Lisaa herself does. Surely something doesn’t add up here.
And just when you think the film is turning interesting and clever by abandoning horror and ghosts and ghouls and turning into a crime thriller, the ghosts come back.
That was a cheap cop out, Raju Vishwanath.
Also a note to cinematographer PG Muthiah. Stereoscopic 3D doesn’t mean you always need to keep random things in the foreground to emphasise it is 3D. We get it. It’s 3D. We also get a severe headache trying to let our eyes focus on the actual centre where the action is happening.
The Lisaa review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.