1920 London was the best comedy I’ve seen in a while!

Published: May 17, 2016
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A good horror film is supposed to get under your skin, but by the end of this head-scratch of a fare you’re left mouth agape and mind utterly befuddled.

A friend of mine, along with being a self-proclaimed ‘Love Guru’ is a huge fan of horror flicks. According to him, with no endorsement from my side whatsoever, this particular genre should be your numero uno pick if you plan on ‘Netflix and chilling’. In his opinion, all those jump-scare moments that are pretty much the bread and butter for this format of films, are tremendously conducive in creating a situation which could lure even the shyest of women to seek refuge in one’s arms.

So imagine the frustration of my mate and all his casanovian disciples when they found out that 1920 London – the third instalment of the 1920 spook franchise and hopefully the last one, is anything but scary.

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Sometimes laughter in the middle of a horror film is a sign of its epic-ness. I distinctly remember how I let out an extended nervous cackle while watching The Exorcist (1973). This exceedingly edgy laugh was simply the manifestation of my internal defence mechanism trying to come to grips with how freaked out I actually was watching the voice of Satan coming out of a 12-year-old girl.

But in the case of 1920 London, hilarity is simply a by-product of corny dialogues, sappy acting and an extreme mind-numb of a convoluted plot.

Speaking of the plot, how about we cut to the chase.

The narration set in 1920, is the story of Princess Shivangi (Meera Chopra), who is happily married and settled in London with her husband Veer Singh (Vishal Karwal).

Meera Chopra
Photo: Screenshot

Everything is all hunky-dory in their lives until a gift from their hometown makes its way into their home and all hell breaks loose. The present in question is an intricately designed necklace that has been put under a black magic spell and soon a witch possesses Veer’s body.

Vishal Karwal.
Photo: Screenshot

A scared Shivangi returns home to Rajasthan to seek help. There she is told that only one person in this whole wide world can save her demonically-possessed hubby and that is, wait for it… her former lover, Jai (Sharman Joshi) who oh-so-conveniently is now an exorcist.

You just got to love B-Town for all its unpredictable narrative twists and turns. Touché, if you think I am a mean sarcastic schmuck, mocking your beloved Bollywood with ironic condescension.

Vishal Karwal.
Photo: Screenshot

Anyhow, in spite of having been dumped and serving jail term because of Shivangi’s betrayal, Jai being a nauseatingly archetypal B’wood protagonist, decides to help, and saddled with unrequited love, travels to London to save Veer.

Sharman Joshi.
Photo: Screenshot

Huh! As if we were expecting anything but.

How Shivangi and the scorned Jai, extricate the ‘daayan’ (evil), forms the rest of the tale.

Vishal Karwal.
Photo: Screenshot

And since it is a typical Indian horror movie, there is no prize for guessing what happens in the end.

Meera Chopra
Photo: Screenshot

1920 London is very similar to the first instalment in the franchise. While in the first film we had the hubby darling saving his wife from an evil spirit, this time it’s the wifey who comes to the rescue of her better half, only with a zero scare quotient.

Photo: Screenshot

Lacking anything even remotely redeeming for the seasoned fright fan, the filmmaker resorts to cheap chill gimmicks in rocking chairs, haunted mansion, creaking doors and blood dripping from the ceiling to elicit shivers out of the audience, but the only reaction they got out of yours truly was that of cringe.

Vishal Karwal.
Photo: Screenshot

It beggars belief how these over-sold elements are still used by 1920 London even in the year 2016. Perhaps the title of the film is to be blamed for the confusion in the head of our poor little director.

Long story short, this is a film that uses every clichéd trick in the book but sill fails to inevitably scare you.

Photo: Screenshot

Don’t let the trailer, poster or premise fool you! 1920 London was one rib-tickling, side-splitting hilariously funny movie. The problem? It wasn’t supposed to be a comedy.

The best thing that can be said about 1920 London is that it could have been marginally better had it been promoted as a comedy.

Photo: Screenshot

The script was at best laughable. There were numerous times throughout the film where the dialogue was just so ridiculous, I began to write it off as comic relief only to find out a few seconds later that it wasn’t.

A good horror film is supposed to get under your skin, but by the end of this head-scratch of a fare you’re left mouth agape and mind utterly befuddled.

And Sharman Joshi?

Sigh!

Is he still the same actor who gave us such powerhouse performances in films like Rang De Basanti (2006) and 3 Idiots (2009)?

Sharman Joshi.
Photo: Screenshot

After the erotic mess that was Hate Story 3 (2015) this is another step in the wrong direction for the already gone astray Sharman.

Do you think Sharman Joshi can still salvage his acting career after yet another misstep in 1920 London?

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The rest of the cast is so random that I wouldn’t even trouble myself talking about them.

Bottom line, don’t bother travelling back in time and give 1920 London a skip, unless you have a bizarre fetish for unintentionally hilarious movies. As for my lovemeister buddy and anyone else who endorses his views; tsk tsk tsk … guys! This one won’t do the trick, better luck next time!

Hassan Sardar

Hassan Sardar

The author is an aspiring filmmaker and a diehard Liverpool fan. He also teaches Screenwriting and Cinematography, and loves tattoos and flip-flops. He tweets as @CineSardar (twitter.com/CineSardar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.