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1920 – movie review

Newly married couple trapped in a cursed mansion during the British rule in India


1920, movie review

1920 is a horror film written and directed by Vikram Bhatt. The story revolves around the events surrounding a married couple living in a haunted house during the British rule in India in the year 1920.

An architect arrives at a large manor House known as Haveli in Palampur somewhere in Northern India. The manager MK tells him that the owner wishes to have it torn down and have a hotel constructed in its place. Later that night, the architect is killed by a mysterious force. It turns out the architect who was engaged before him too, was killed in a similar way some time ago.

The devout Arjun Singh (Rajneesh Duggal) who begins every morning with Hanuman Chalisa is an architect, and devoted to his family. He is in love with Lisa who is of a mixed faith. She is born of a British father and an Indian mother and this is disapproved by Arjun’s family who even attempts to burn this girl alive. Arjun disconnects from his family and gives up his faith for he loves Lisa very much. In fact he ultimately becomes an atheist.

His firm is awarded the contract of demolishing the haveli and has plans to convert into a hotel as his big project. The only trouble is – the haveli is haunted by a spirit that eventually possesses Lisa.

The Haveli’s past, as is revealed later, is the case of 1857 during the Sepoy Mutiny, when a wounded mutineer Mohan Kant, sought cover who seeks refuge in the mansion. He turned out to be a spy for the British forces. The owner’s daughter, Gayatri (Anjori Alagh) seduced him to buy time until her uncle arrived. Her uncle and his men hanged him. He vowed revenge with his dying breath, and his soul has remained in the haveli ever since.

Gayatri is now reborn as Lisa. Predictably, there are scenes of a possessed Lisa levitating and shrieking with creaking doors, flying objects, noises and a shady watchman completing the picture. Even as the girl transforms from a beautiful bride to an ugly looking character that talks in multiple voices and levitates in bed. Arjun doesn’t run away but stands beside her, his love unshaken, until he finds a way to exorcise her of the demonic spirit.

At one instance in the film 1920, Arjun spots Lisa eating a dead animal in the night. The local priest is summoned, who attempts to place a cross on Lisa. Lisa transforms into a diabolical personality and attacks the priest. A doctor is engaged, but it turns out to be fruitless as Lisa’s evil outbursts simply overwhelm the hospital staff.

The curse says they will not survive. The only thing they have that is true is the love they once shared, which is now under the shadow of doubt. They will have to depend on the love and faith if they are to come out of this alive.
Rajneesh Duggal and Adah Sharma deliver credible performances in aptly-suited roles. Adah Sharma has a brilliant screen presence and seems perfect choice for her role. Rajneesh Duggal is good for a newcomer. Raj Zutsi appears natural in the role of a priest. The music is average, except the Rakhi Sawant item number which stands out.

The director lays the ground in the first half and the film 1920 is considerably scary in the latter part. Vikram Bhatt holds the film tight until the very climax. The script is tight; superbly executed and succeeds in scaring the hell out of the audience. Impressive camera work, haunting background music and dialogues are perfect too.

Cast of 1920:
Arjun Singh Rathod – Rajneesh Duggal
Lisa Singh Rathod – Adah Sharma
Gayatri Devi – Anjori Alagh
Mohan Kant – Indraneil Sengupta
Caretaker (Balwant) – Vipin Sharma
Doctor – Sri Vallabh Vyas
Priest – Rajendranath Zutshi
M.K – Amin Hajee
Item Number by Rakhi Sawant
Asha Sharma
Bob Brahmbhatt
Dilip Thadeshwar
Amita Bishnoi
Ashish Pradhan
Rushitaa Pandya
Smita Hai

CREDITS of 1920:
Produced by Vikram Bhatt, Amita Bishnoi, Bhagwanti Gabrani, Surendra Sharma, Manmohan Singh
Directed by Vikram Bhatt
Written by Dheeraj Rattan
Original Music by Adnan Sami
Cinematography by Pravin Bhatt
Film Editing by Kuldip K. Mehan
Costume Design – Violet Monis
1920, movie review

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