1921 Film Review: An Annual Employment Yojna!


Cast: Zareen Khan, Karan Kundra, Manjit Singh, Rachel Shaw

Directed By: Vikram Bhatt

Rating: 1 Moon

Don't get me wrong. 1921 is much more than a film you see. It's a yojna, an annual employment yojna for the director who has been generating spook for a quarter of a century.

The names of the movies might change, yet they are all the same. Those distorted-faced freaks, behind doors that creak! Raaz, Raaz 3 D or Raaz Reboot, Fear or Haunted, it's all about bad CG bhoots. Then there is Creature, Fear or Red the Dark Side...it's always a convoluted kind of homicide. The men look perplexed and women are just gasping and some blurry back image runs in the background, too busy screaming and rasping.

1921 begins with Karan Kundra, a musician in England (big budgets you see!). Minutes before his stage performance he slits his wrist, attempting suicide. There is tension, mystery, pathos and everything intriguing. But he doesn’t die. Because an Arijit Singh sound-alike decides to croon in the background.

Musician meets a stunning ghost whisperer (Zarine Khan) whose sob story moves you to tears. She has lost her parents, hence she holds a testube that reads poison in the most Victorian font (England hain bhai, see such detailing!). She is about to down it but doesn’t. Because Arijit Singh sound-alike starts crooning again.

In fact in the second half, the couple comes face to face with the evil spirit, dodges it multiple times and tries their best to solve the mystery. Death looms large, evil can creep up from anywhere but all that can wait because Arijit sound-alike has started crooning yet again. Hashtag Arijit ROX!!!!

1921 begins in 1927. Oh what detailing of the era, wooden floors of old wooden mansions with wooden furniture and ample wooden expressions. Beautiful. To make Karan Kundra’s look convincingly 1921, he wears suspenders. So smart! Zarine Khan sashays around in designer clothes because Manish Malhotra is over 100 years old. She, for some special reason, sounds seductive all the time. She whispers, “British find me Indian, Indians find me British” and everyone else finds her so lackluster. Karan Kundra doesn’t leave much of a mark with that constant confused look on his face plastered all through the film. I don’t blame him. The script (or the lack of it) could scare the bejesus out of anyone.

If you were aware of 1921, my sympathies. If you weren’t, the ignorance is indeed bliss.