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Phobia Review by Bollywood Hungama
Director Pawan Kirpalani smartly weaves a thrilling story. Every scene has a deeper meaning and relevance. The screenplay stays true to the context. Nothing is out of the place. There are several scenes which are disturbing but then there are a few scenes which end up as humorous in spite of the thrilling built up (it isn’t unintentional, it is part of the plan). Radhika Apte is sensational as the helpless Mehak who grapples with her phobia as well as her vacuous loneliness. She’s fierce, vicious, vulnerable, aggressor and a victim at the same time. The best part is that her histrionics are devoid of the pathetic horror tricks that a few of our horror experts employ on a regular basis. The physicality of Apte’s acting is emanating from a psychological space and it is very creditable. Satyadeep Mishra is terrific as the guy who’s grappling between being a friend and a lover. He’s very realistic and human. Yashaswini as the young college going inquisitive but good hearted girl is an absolute Natural. She adds to the conflict beautifully. Ankur Vikal as the weird Manu does full justice to his role.
Phobia Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Phobia wouldn’t be half the film it is without the mercurial Radhika Apte. Watching her on the screen as emotions flash across her visage is an unalloyed delight. For the most part, the film is hers alone, and the camera revels in capturing the character’s innermost feelings on her malleable face and expressive eyes. It is like being witness to a solo pantomime act in which a world of sensations is conveyed without a word being uttered. Phobia is a canny flick that places known genre conventions in fresh light, the kind that bestows new life on them. Watch this film for the many surprises it springs and, of course, for Radhika Apte in full flow.
Phobia Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
Phobia had the potential of being one of those rare Bollywood psychological thriller’s that you can proudly recommend to your friends. A genuinely claustrophobic first half and Radhika Apte’s fantastic performance were its aces. However the limp second half only demotes its status to a decent thriller.
Phobia Review by Mohar Basu on The Times Of India
Watching a horror film that has no chudail, no exorcist, no graveyards and no ugly make-up is almost like a breath of fresh air. Finally some can scare people without using the quintessential paranormal props. Director Pawan Kripalani does a fine job of weaving the story of a woman who is overpowered by her phobia. The credit here truly goes to Radhika Apte. She makes you buy into her world of eerie laughter, black cats, a cut finger amidst ice cubes and the story of a dead woman who had lived in her house before and had mysteriously gone absconding. Her agony and her helplessness look palpable as she takes us through her disturbing world.
Phobia Review by Namrata Thakker on Rediff
The first half of the film is engaging, terrifying and exciting, all at the same time. The camera work, too, is very sharp. There are quite a few scenes which will scare the hell out of you. The one right before the interval will certainly send shivers down your spine. Kripalani explores the theme of agoraphobia very well. Kudos to him for trying a new concept. I was super impressed with the first half and expected a thrilling ride in the second half as well. However, the film stretched a bit post interval. Also, I was wanted Phobia to end on a high but that didn’t happen. The story got a bit predictable and the whole build-up to the climax just didn’t hit me hard. Having said that, Phobia is undeniably a well-made thriller worth watching only in theatres.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
Sigh. It’s practically a horror film, so you let logic stay out of the theater. The reveal is good fun and even though you figured it out ages ago, you nod your head in agreement when people around you say, ‘End was good, haan!’
Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
Kripalani, who had helmed the scary ‘Ragini MMS’, delivers a smart, intelligent spook-fest which keeps us on the edge. His leading lady knows exactly what to do : Radhika Apte doesn’t put a foot wrong as she goes about scaling it up gradually– being alarmed, scared, petrified, and outright panicked-with-blind-terror.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
Despite the element of horror, director Pavan Kriplani manages to keep the supernatural, religious drama at bay and opts for a psychological mayhem that makes for an impressive viewing experience. The film has all the elements of a racy thriller — surprise, fear, mystery and shock. What it doesn’t have is the background music and actors preparing you for a surprise. In Phobia, the unexpected does happen.
Review by Suhani Singh on India Today
In Radhika Apte, the makers couldn’t have asked for a better actress to take on the responsibility of ensuring that the audiences are hooked to Mahek’s journey and fate. There are wordless scenes in which Apte demonstrates a range of expressions – her extensive background in dance comes in handy here – to suggest the dread of the unknown. Almost without make-up, Apte surrenders herself to play the part of a woman inching closer to a colossal meltdown. Her heavy breathing, her big, wide and alert eyes, her tentative, trembling walk, all contribute in making Phobia a fright fest. Karan Gour’s background score does a commendable job of heightening the tension. The makers tie the loose ends together albeit with a few contrived events and a few question lurking. Nonetheless with Phobia Kripalani succeeds in his mission to keep the audiences engaged and also constantly thinking.
Review by Martin D’Souza on Glamsham
Apte, the girl makes Mehak her own. Body language, petrified eyes, emotions… she packs a punch in her delivery. The fright scenes are aplenty and genuinely scary but director Pawan Kripalani, who stitched together Ragini MMS wonderfully with back scenes, fails to recreate that seamless flow of events when he wants to take us to the past within the present. The horror (petrifying at times) is overdone. That is where PHOBIA fails and leaves a lot of questions in one’s mind. For lovers of the horror genre, however, PHOBIA will be a terrific watch.
Phobia Review by Indiaglitz
There are few repetitive moments in the middle of the film which could have been avoided. Also, Radhika’s visuals in the virtual tour were not justified. The second half might sound highly confusing for people who are not familiar with this genre. The masses too might find the film claustrophobia and not like such type of film which is set inside one apartment with minimal characters. On an overall basis ‘Phobia’ is full of twist and chills than the best horror film from our country ever had. It’s a skillful film with thrilling experience and will be loved by everyone who loves experimental films, as for all others who love masala entertainers, this is not your cup of tea.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
The film’s ‘chill factor’ rests on the shoulders of Radhika Apte, who’s expressions are flawless and tends to leave the audience wide-eyed and in awe of her performance. Her act in the climax which leads to a bloodbath shakes you to the bone. Her no make up look is just perfect and is close to the reality. Satyadeep Mishra has done a fabulous job as a friend cum admirer in the film. The pain he feels for Radhika’s character is believable. Supporting cast Nivedita Bhattacharya, Yashaswini Damaya and Ankur Vikal, have all done justice to their respective roles. Pavan Kripalani’s ‘Phobia’ is a good pick this week unless such psycho thrillers are not your cup of tea.
Review by Shubha Shetty-Saha on Mid-Day India
Pawan Kripalani, who’s earlier scared us with ‘Ragini MMS’, keeps the narration tight, thus making our hearts stay in our mouth throughout the 100-odd minutes of the film. The best thing about this film is that it doesn’t follow the trusted and safe route of horror films and gets pleasantly unpredictable at the end. Another huge plus point is its cast. Radhika doesn’t miss a single step as she gives an amazingly convincing performance of being someone who’s suffering from a terrible trauma, without going overboard even for a moment.
Review by Harshada Rege on DNA India
The first half is brilliant and will have you on the edge of your seat. Radhika Apte makes Mehak’s eccentric behaviour believable. She is in top form here. A large part of the movie has her interacting with the camera while reacting to the happenings around her with no help for any co-stars, a feat which she manages with much ease. Whether it’s her fight to throw out garbage or using multiplication tables to see her through difficult situations, she gets the rhythm of the character just right. Director Pavan Kriplani brings in an element of horror to the movie to draw in the audience and that’s what works for the film. The director throws in mentions of a childhood accident which makes you wonder if that too could be a cause of Mehak’s behaviour. Satyadeep, Yashaswani Dayama and Ankur Vikal make for a great supporting cast.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Director Pawan Kripalani manages to tightly pack in the thrills, with careful consideration of timing and audio-visual technique. While he’s largely conservative and predictable in the execution of jolts, there are two which will surely catch you off-guard. It would be a spoiler to define the genre of the film as it would give away much of the plot. And the thrills you take away from the film are directly proportional to how wild your imagination is. But following this watch, and if you’re the kind to sleep with one eye open, ensure you grip your pillow tight, especially when you exit light.
Review by Subhash K Jha on Bollyspice
Phobia constantly veers the narration into slippery grounds, not to confuse or mislead but to imbue an aura of intangible anxiety in the viewer. Director Kripalani uses contextual terror rather than generating fear accessoried sources.For years we’ve wondered why the horror genre in Hollywood has not broken free of its amateurishness. Wonder no more. Take a trip of bonafide terror and witness the birth of a new psychological disorder.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
Pavan deserves a pat on his back for coming up with a spine-chilling thriller, which doesn’t need haunted mansions or creaking doors to scare you. The entire plot is set inside an apartment and though it will bring to mind other such films like Kaun and Paranormal Activity, Phobia is in a league of its own. The editing is super crisp and at no point in time will you be tempted to take a popcorn break. The thrill factor in the film is super and Pavan has done a great job of escalating the tension and making it a part of every scene. The beauty of this film is that at times, you conclude that it’s a psychological thriller and in the next scene, you are convinced that it is a horror thriller. Pavan effectively keeps you on your toes and unnerves you with the ample twists and turns.
Review by Rajeev Masand on News18
I’ll hold off giving away any more about the film except to say that it rests completely on the shoulders of its leading lady, and that Radhika Apte is in top form. Alternately fragile and fierce, she chews into the part, at once embracing Mehak’s contradictions and humanizing her complexities. It’s a nicely nuanced performance and Apte makes it look urgent and spontaneous. I found myself chuckling at the end of the film, which is not usually the response one tends to have to a thriller. But Phobia is no standard thriller.
Review by meeta on Wogma
Of course, Phobia could have been miserable to sit through (in the wrong way) if it were not for Radhika Apte. One of the main things that get annoying for me in this genre are wide-eyed fear. Radhika Apte’s eyes work here, though. They go with the rest of her completely freaked out body language. So over-powering is her performance and screen presence that the rest of the main cast is completely over-shadowed despite good acts. The side characters are caricaturish and try to add a quirk to the film that goes against the film.
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